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Census Extension

The U.S. Census Bureau is seeking an extension of 120 additional days (with a possible extended deadline of October 31, 2020) to deliver the most complete and accurate count possible of the 2020 Census. During our current social distancing measures it’s impossible for field data collectors to go knock on peoples’ doors, and we must prioritize the health and safety of our community and field workers. Over 48% of all household have responded so far, and the extension would give households more time to respond--and depending on the guidelines from Public Health, field data collectors can resume their operations safely on the households that have not responded by then. We are currently experiencing why an accurate count is imperative for our communities to get adequate resources, particularly marginalized communities or those who have been uncounted in the past. We remain committed to continue working with community-based organizations across a wide spectrum of advocacy--civil rights, immigrant, LGBTQ, disability, infant and child, poverty and homelessness, faith-based, labor, health care, education, youth, and mor--to encourage participation of all communities for a fair and accurate 2020 Census.
 
Helpful links:

Hepatitis A Outbreak Update

In March 2020, Public Health Seattle & King County identified 30 confirmed Hepatitis A cases, fourteen of the reported cases came from individuals experiencing homelessness in the Ballard area. While the city experiences two deadly outbreaks, we must strictly follow guidelines and recommendations that will keep our unsheltered population from contracting these dangerous viruses.  

Our City has been working closely with Public Health Seattle & King County to implement their recommendations to help prevent the further spread of Hepatitis A and COVID-19. The City’s initial response to address the  Hepatitis-A cases include: 

  • Increasing Hepatitis A is vaccination, and as part of a 2-year Hep A vaccination effort, Public Health mobilized several clinics in the Ballard area in March and are continuing weekly clinics and outreach three times per week 
  • Public Health- Seattle King County Environmental Health team has connected with Seattle Parks & Recreation to confirm best practice sanitation procedures of the Portland Loo at the Seattle Commons as a precaution 
  • Human Services Department and the Navigation Team completing outreach with hygiene kits three times per week 
  • Seattle Public Utilities increased proactive cleaning to four times per week and servicing the garbage can in front of the library five times per week 
  • Seattle Police Department’s Community Police Teams, Anti-Crime Teams, and Bike Patrols are supplementing patrols 
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation reopened the Portland Loo with cleaning three times daily and picking up litter three times per week 
  • The city is providing a handwashing station and portable toilets at Ballard Commons Park 

I have been a strong advocate and I remain committed to expand and open up additional appropriate 24 hour shelter options, create hygiene center, provide access to drinking water and food, provide sanitation and cleaning supplies and provide needed assistance to unmanaged encampments for those who cannot get into our shelters that are already at capacity.  It will be tough to get these resources up and running, but they are a must to protect  our community.

For more information on Hep-A, please visit the two links below: 

Rent Assistance

On April 10th, United Way of King County, City of Seattle, King County, and Seattle Foundation in partnership with King County, the City of Seattle and the Seattle Foundation launched a $5 million expansion of the Home Base program to provide rental assistance to households in King County that have lost all or part of their income due to the coronavirus pandemic. This new United Way Community Relief Fund will help King County residents who are late on their rent, have experienced a significant reduction in wages as a result of the public health crisis, and whose income is at or below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI).
 
This partnership will provide immediate rent relief for 2,500 households—families and individuals who are being hit hardest by the economic impacts of COVID-19. Though there is a moratorium on evictions in place, this low-barrier funding will provide emergency support for those who need it most as we continue to secure policies and resources to keep people in their homes through this crisis. Thank you to United Way and partners for supporting the community through Home Base, both before the crisis and now as we see existing inequities in our city exacerbated by this pandemic. We know this alone is not enough to meet the need, and City will continue to work on measures to support all renters who have lost their income during the coronavirus crisis.

Community members in need of rental assistance will be able to access the funds by calling 211 or completing an application online. Translation services will be available through 211.

Advocacy for Federal Support

This week, all members of the City Council and Mayor Durkan signed on to a letter to our federal legislative representatives—Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, Representative Pramila Jayapal, and Representative Adam Smith—highlighting Seattle’s funding needs as U.S. Congress develops a fourth federal stimulus package. Here are some of the priorities we are advocating to be included in the relief package:
  • Significantly increased resources for housing and emergency shelter, including $100 billion in rent stabilization funding, increased funding for affordable housing, increased foreclosure assistance for homeowners, and more funding for adequate social distancing in shelters.
  • Increased food assistance, including $1 billion for the Emergency Food Assistance Program for food banks and additional funding to increase SNAP benefit amounts by 15%, as well as additional funding for senior and child nutrition programs.
  • Increased income assistance for working families, including increased funding for emergency cash assistance, inclusion of non-citizen workers in unemployment insurance, and equitable access to cash payments for low-income and vulnerable populations.
  • Expanded Paid and Sick Leave tax credit for municipalities, expanded paycheck protection program to ensure qualifying small businesses and non-profits can take advantage of the program, and increased supports for low-income, immigrant, and minority-owned small businesses.
  • Increased access to essential public health services, including free testing, treatment, and prevention of COVID-19 regardless of immigration status or insurance and adequate personal protective equipment for frontline workers and first responders through the national stockpile.
  • Protection for vulnerable residents through additional funding for sexual assault and domestic violence services and an additional $100 million investment in the Sexual Assault Program through the Violence Against Women Act.
You can read the full letter here. Thank you to the City’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations for your work and advocacy to lift up the needs of Seattle as the U.S. legislature considers this emergency relief package.

Elephant, Meet Room

The big topic on everyone's mind is how we address the great need in our community while being sensitive to the current economic climate.  Councilmembers Sawant and Morales have proposed 3 related pieces of legislation calling for new revenue to address the COVID-19 crisis.  Those bills have been referred to the Select Committee on the Budget, a committee of the whole that I chair.  

In consultation with Council Central Staff, IT, the Office of the City Clerk, Council Communications, and the Council President's office, as well as CM's Sawant and Morales, I have created a timeline for committee balances dealing with these bills with the expediency they require, providing for adequate public input, and ensuring that councilmembers have enough time to understand the proposals.  The committee meetings will be broadcast on Seattle Channel and next week, we'll have an update on how you can provide public comment. 

We look forward to hearing from you all -- at the committee or through emails, phone calls, social media -- on how the city should be addressing this crisis. 

Select Committee on Budget Schedule (additional meetings may be noticed):
  • Wednesday, April 22nd, 10am: Preliminary economic revenue forecast update, legislation overview from council central staff
  • Wednesday, April 29th, 10am: Follow-up on legislation not covered in previous committee meeting, questions from councilmembers 
  • Wednesday, May 13th, 10am: Discuss and consider any possible amendments, possible vote.

Protecting Construction Workers

There are new requirements for construction workers to keep everyone safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council and the Seattle/King County Building Trades for putting these requirements together and sharing them with our office. You can find some graphics of these new requirements below. Please feel free to share these on social media!

In Solidarity,

Teresa Mosqueda
Seattle City Council Councilmember, Position 8
teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov
206-684-8806
Copyright © 2020 Seattle City Council, All rights reserved.


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Some graphics courtesy of FreePik