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COVID-19 Vaccine Phase Update / City Opens Fourth Mass Vaccination Site

On April 1, the Washington State Department of Health announced that everyone age 16 and older who wants a vaccine will be eligible to receive one starting April 15th. According to the FDA, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine authorized for people aged 16 and up, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is authorized for those aged 18+.

Washington is currently in Phase 1B, Tiers 3 & 4 of the state’s vaccine timeline. Additionally, the state’s online vaccine eligibility tool, Phase Finder, is no longer needed to verify vaccine eligibility. As long as you are eligible under the current phase, you can use the state’s vaccine locator to find an appointment.

The City of Seattle has partnered with Seattle Visiting Nurse Association and Seattle Colleges to open a fourth mass-vaccination site at North Seattle College. This vaccination site will operate Wednesday – Friday from 9 AM – 5 PM and will vaccinate 1,170 people per week, initially. The site has the capacity to vaccinate 6,400 people weekly, and will increase days and hours of operation as vaccine supply increases. Those living, working, or staying in Seattle can register to be notified about available appointments at the city vaccination sites. These sites rely on the work of volunteers to fill non-clinical positions; please register to volunteer here.

As the weather begins to warm and the sunshine returns to Seattle, it might be tempting to let down our guard, especially in the face of loosened state COVID restrictions and the promise of greater access to vaccines. The reality is that new COVID cases are surging in parts of the country, and it is more crucial than ever that we continue to follow CDC guidelines like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and washing our hands.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Committee Schedule

Today the Finance and Housing Committee kicked off the discussions on how to allocate federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). From now until June 16th our Finance and Housing committee meetings will start with 20 minutes of public comment, folks will also have an opportunity to provide public on the American Rescue Plan during our Public Hearing on Tuesday, May 4 at 5:30pm. During our Finance and Housing Committee meetings, after the 20 minute public comment period we will move into the American Rescue Plan Act for an hour. All councilmembers are welcomed to join these discussions. After the ARPA topic, we will then move into our regular Finance and Housing items and have extended our meetings until 1pm so we can continue moving through our committee work plan as scheduled.

Today, we heard from Councilmember Robin Kniech of Denver, Colorado; Councilmember Vanessa Fuentes from Austin, Texas; and Council President Lisa Bender from Minneapolis about their plans on how to we best utilize their APRA allocations to provide immediate and equitable relief as well as long-term investments into public goods and services. During our next Finance and Housing committee on April 20th at 9:30am, we will convene a panel of community members to share their ideas on critical community investments and services that need to be funded.

Below is a full schedule for discussion, include an evening public hearing.

Rental Assistance Bill Moves Forward

Today the Finance and Housing Committee recommended passage of $22.7M dollars in rental assistance, provided to the city from the December COVID relief bill. These funds are currently allocated into four groups of funding:

  • $8M to be allocated through the United Way King County rental assistance lottery
  • $7M to the Office of Housing for low-income tenants in publicly-subsidized affordable housing
  • $6.2M to Community-Based Organizations for rental assistance, including internet and support services
  • $1.5M to SCL and SPU for emergency utility assistance.

I am happy to move this forward quickly as we recognize the large amount of debt currently being held by tenants due to the economic downturn. We will also be looking at additional rent and utility assistance forthcoming from the American Rescue Plan Act, which includes $22B allocated for this specific purpose.  The bill will be heard at the next Council meeting on Monday, April 12th.

Council Approves $12 Million for
Non-Congregate Shelter

Just two weeks ago, Council unanimously approved an additional $12 million to be used for non-congregate shelter, including hoteling and tiny homes, provides spaces for unhoused individuals through the continuation of the COVID-19 crisis.

Led by CM Andrew Lewis as the lead sponsor, I was proud so serve as a co-sponsor to use available funds as quickly as possible and provide shelter that will not only keep our unhoused neighbors safe as continue through the pandemic, but is able to be reimbursed up to 100% by FEMA through the end of September.

This hoteling model has seen success in San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as here through local partners like JustCARES. With these funds we will be able to provide an alternative to simply keeping residents outside and can provide access to a socially distanced and safe sense of permanence as we continue to vaccinate more and more Seattleites.

Addressing AAPI Hate Crimes Through Community-Led Care

In light of the increasing violent hate crimes against our fellow Asian American and Pacific Islander community members, I want to express my complete solidarity and commitment to advocating for their safety and wellbeing. Many in the Asian-American community have asked us to be allies by calling out this violence, do the work that is needed to understand its root causes, acknowledge the long history of anti-Asian racism, and develop community-centric solutions to address systemic inequity, prioritize the safety of our communities, and foster solidarity.

I unequivocally condemn these hateful acts of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Seattle and across our nation. However, more is required of us. As a city, our statement of solidarity must also include commitments to offer resources. This is why the Seattle City Council and the Mayor are working with Seattle’s AAPI community to create a $1.5 million proposal that will help address the increased hate crimes and provide greater investments for community safety, youth educational programs and AAPI owned businesses. This proposal will be up for a discussion and final vote during the April 12th Full Council meeting at 2:00pm. You can sign up to provide public comment at noon on Monday, April 12th.

There is much work to do to solve the underlying issues of hate crimes and systemic racism. We hope this proposal can take us a step closer towards achieving justice, safety, and wellbeing for our communities.

In solidarity,
Teresa Mosqueda

Seattle City Council Councilmember, Position 8
Copyright © 2021 Seattle City Council, All rights reserved.

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