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Health One Ride-Along

Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to meet with and "ride-along" with the Health One team—a collaboration between the Human Services Department and the Seattle Fire Department. Health One is a pilot project that works, and I was honored to see it in action.  
The Health One team takes a human-centered approach to their work—building long-lasting relationships, following up with clients to see long-lasting results.  In my short time with Health One, we saw a gentleman in crisis. In the first 15 minutes, the Health One team established a relationship with the gentleman, built enough trust to do a cursory medical exam, got him clothing, and brought back a little dignity into his life.  Immediately upon being clothed, I saw him relax and engage.  Ultimately, the team connected the gentleman with the Mobile Crisis Unit as shelter spaces are hard to come by. 
It's clear that the Health One program changes lives—and not just for the clients they work with.  Firefighters spoke of mindset change, lessons they'd be taking back when they rotated off the Health One program, and the long-term economic and cultural benefits of a Health One style approach.  They also spoke of the trauma firefighters frequently face, especially during COVID.
I'm committed to expanding the Health One program, and to working with the Fire Department to make sure that our public servants get the mental health support they need to continue serving our City.  

The Health One approach not only saves lives, it saves money compared to other emergency responses, and saves time, freeing up capacity for fire fighters to fight fires instead of serving as primary care paramedics.  Health One reduces expensive emergency room visits and repeated first responder visits, and it supports elders, domestic violence, and isolated individuals, which is especially needed now during COVID.

View this video below to learn more about Health One:

Affordable Housing Week Town Hall with Richard Rothstein

Last night, kicking off Affordable Housing Week and on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I was honored to join Professor Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, Colleen Echohawk of Chief Seattle Club, King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci, and Michael Brown of the Seattle Foundation, for a Town Hall Seattle discussion, The History of Housing Segregation Today: How the Legacy of Redlining Impacts Seattle’s Housing Crisis.

The Color of Law takes a deep look at the ways in which segregation in the United States has been created and reinforced by intentionally discriminatory policies excluding Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities at the local, state, and federal level, creating racial disparities in health, education, economic security, and homelessness.

Such policies included racial restrictive covenants, mortgage redlining, segregated public housing, and destruction of Black neighborhoods through “urban renewal” and infrastructure projects, to name a few. And the effect of those policies that excluded—often violently—Black families and built segregated neighborhoods and housing opportunities benefitting white families, coupled with less explicit but equally harmful policy that continues to be in statute—such as exclusionary zoning—is de facto segregation that persists today. In fact, schools in Seattle are more segregated now than they were four decades ago.

In our discussion, we talked about the impacts of exclusionary policies in Seattle, and how to right these wrongs. With 75% of residential land in Seattle zoned exclusively for detached houses, Black households earning 39%, and Native households earning 30%, of what white households earn, the median home price at $760,000, and Black and brown families getting pushed out of the city or onto the streets, we can't deny that we are still carrying out the public policies that explicitly segregated members of our community. Due to being denied homeownership opportunities through racist policies of the past, Black and Indigenous folks are more likely to rent and have been blocked out of generational wealth-building through homeownership that has enriched white families.And the exclusionary policies of the last few decades in Seattle, including in the 90s, where we expanded single family zoning to the exclusion of more accessible multifamily housing—like duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, apartment buildings—has created an acute shortage of affordable housing, leading to skyrocketing rents, worsening displacement pressures on communities of color, and rising rates of homelessness disproportionately impacting Black and Indigenous communities.

This continuation of exclusionary policies also has consequences for people's health. When restrictive zoning precludes people from being able to live in high-opportunity neighborhoods near grocery stores, good schools, jobs, parks, libraries, etc.—it is a major factor in eroding the social determinants of health. It's literally a matter of life or death: you can't be healthy without housing. It's not only folks being pushed to areas with higher levels of toxins—it's also the toxic stress of not knowing if you'll be able to make rent, be evicted, or have your housing application denied.

As Rothstein notes, we must not see acting to dismantle exclusionary housing policies leading to segregation as one more thing on our to-do list. We must see it as a moral and constitutional obligation to do it. That means we must name and call out policies rooted in intentional exclusion, work with and follow the lead of impacted communities and those with lived experience, and invest in intersectional solutions to right historic wrongs. We need to recognize that communities who have been harmed—Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities—have the solutions to break down barriers to create the housing they need and to provide access to high-opportunity neighborhoods.

Thanks to Town Hall Seattle, the West Coast Poverty Center, Seattle for Everyone, Pacifica Law Group, Housing Development Consortium and its 190 housing partner members for making the event possible. It was an incredible honor to be on the virtual stage with Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, and participate in the robust panel discussion with Colleen Echohawk, CM Balducci, and Michael Brown, about a topic so near and dear to my heart.

If you missed the livestream, you’ll be able to watch the recording here within the next few days.

TNC Legislation Becomes Law!

The City of Seattle has long been a leader on labor standards—from paid sick leave to the $15 minimum wage to paid family leave, as a City, we know we need to do right by those who live and work here. But with the new economy, the gig economy, some workers have been left behind.
Last year, I sponsored legislation supporting domestic workers, who have traditionally been left behind from labor standards.  Earlier this year, I was proud to sponsor legislation providing some paid sick and safe leave to TNC rideshare drivers.  And last week, under the leadership of Mayor Durkan and the Office of Labor Standards, I was proud to join with drivers at the signing ceremony for the "Fare Share" legislation, providing basic wages and health safety for workers, and transparency and health standards for riders.  These policies have been met with fierce opposition in the past—from lobbying to lawsuits and more.  Setting standards for workers isn't easy, but it's the right thing to do.  It's the Seattle way.  

Budget Committee Public Hearing Recap

Last Tuesday, we had over 100 people call in to testify during our first Budget public hearing of the season. Thank you to every person who took time out of their day to register and call in to testify—your voices and engagement are critical as the Council deliberates the 2021 Budget. Over the course of 5 hours we heard folks speak to a range of issues, including the continued call for Council to reduce the Seattle Police Department’s budget and reallocate the dollars to community-centered needs, such as social services, affordable housing, environmental justice, and community-safety programs, with a focus on Black residents and other residents of color. The support for divested funds to be distributed through a participatory budgeting process was also a key topic for folks who called in. From housing, to domestic workers, to public safety, the residents of our City made sure that our Council knew their priorities Tuesday night and I look forward to working on these issues as we move through the budget process.

Information on the next public hearing:

Also, click on the link to the video below to learn more about how my Council colleagues and I are engaging with YOU during this fall budget season. 

From town halls to booths at Farmers Markets to engaging in community media, the Council knows it's important to hear from our districts and stakeholders to craft a budget that addresses Seattle's most pressing needs and reflects our shared values.

Budget Committee Look-Ahead

This week, we pivot to “Issue ID,” where Council Central staff walks us through some issues they've identified in Mayor's proposed budget. We will hear from each councilmember regarding their proposals that explore changes in the proposed budget. Here is a list of what to expect during Issue ID discussions:
Thursday, Oct 15: General Fund Balance Overview
Friday, Oct 16: COVID Response, Office of Sustainability and Environment, Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle Public Library and other small budget areas
Tuesday, Oct 20: Seattle Parks, Seattle Department of Transportation, and Seattle Police Department
Wednesday, Oct 21: Community Safety and Homelessness Response
You can tune in to follow these discussions at
In solidarity,
Teresa Mosqueda

Seattle City Council Councilmember, Position 8
Copyright © 2020 Seattle City Council, All rights reserved.

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