I will have a District Office in Ballard and office hours across District 6. I will listen to you, help you navigate city bureaucracy, and be an advocate for you in City Hall.
We need to address this crisis with a Housing First approach: providing every person experiencing homelessness four walls and a door they can lock, connected to the services they need. This includes mental health, chemical dependency, and social services. We know that when a person is stabilized with housing we can address the other issues they are experiencing, whether it is mental health, addiction, or trouble navigating disability or social security.
Enhanced shelters provide 24/7 access and storage with case managers on duty working to connect people with permanent homes. With the necessary political will, we can bring more enhanced shelter online within six months, providing visible reductions in people living in tents throughout our city. I will bring this political will to the Council.
Transitional housing is critical for keeping people from falling back into homelessness. Transitional homes provide people a stable place to live and access to mental health and chemical dependency services. I will expand the stock of transitional homes and providers in Seattle so the people we bring off the streets are able to stay in homes and begin to rebuild their lives.
Permanent Supportive Housing
We have to invest in permanent supportive housing with built-in services and caregivers to help people get back up on their feet. Permanent supportive housing is the way to break the cycle of homelessness, and we need to invest in it fully and start building it at four times the current rate.
Expanded and Improved Rental Assistance
Not everyone who is homeless is in need of full wraparound services – some just need a little help to get back home. Currently, there are dozens of emergency rental assistance providers, each with separate application requirements and processes for getting help. I will work with the providers to create a single intake point and set of requirements, so people know exactly where to go for help.
Homelessness is a regional problem and requires a regional approach. I will work with King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties to make to make sure our regional partners are working together.
While I will not cut the Navigation Team program, we need to focus on safe, warm housing to navigate people into. Once we have enough safe, secure places to move people into, I could support expansion of the program. The Navigation Team program in San Francisco was only successful because there was pre-identified housing dedicated to Navigation Team referrals.
More Affordable Housing
Ultimately, our homelessness crisis is about insufficient affordable housing. Seattle has 60,000 fewer affordable homes than we need for people making less than 50% of AMI ($38,750/yr), and we need to make a massive investment to create the housing stock we need. I will make full use of our bonding capacity, fast-tracking permit for affordable housing, waive city fees, and identify city property we can lease to housing providers.
Dedicated Bus Lanes
Light rail is coming – but not soon enough. I will create a network of dedicated bus lanes so you can go to your bus stop, wait no more than ten minutes, and get to where you’re going without being stuck in traffic.
Connected Network of Protected Bike Lanes
I was once nearly killed by a driver while biking. People driving and biking need to be separated so that everyone stays in their lanes and moves around the city safely.
The last 50 feet is the biggest challenge for freight delivery. I will push to allow freight to use bus-only lanes at non-peak transit hours.
Expanded ORCA Lift
Great transit can be a tremendous opportunity creator for lower and middle-income people and families, if they can afford it. I will advocate for indexing ORCA Lift eligibility to 50% of AMI, raising the income ceiling to $38,750.
Build more Income-Restricted Homes
We need to scale up the production of income-restricted homes in Seattle. One tool we can use is expanding the Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) to include renovations of existing buildings, not just new construction. If a property owner wants to renovate their building, they should have the option of using this program to create more affordable homes.
Another option for increasing the supply of affordable housing is to use the City’s bonding authority. The City has the opportunity to borrow money at preferential rates, and can explore issuing bonds against the rents collected on finished mixed-income public housing. I will leverage this tool to its fullest extent to build more of the income-restricted housing our community needs, limiting reliance on regressive taxes and fees.
Re-legalize Moderate Density
When I was growing up, Ballard was home to an economically diverse community. If we want to be a city everyone can live in, we need a wider array of housing options, from ADUs and DADUs to duplexes and triplexes. Re-legalizing these moderate density options creates more opportunity for family-owned homebuilders to thrive in Seattle, while also creating more family-size units near schools and parks, homeownership opportunities for moderate-income households, and a way for seniors to downsize while staying in the neighborhoods they love.
Help People Stay in their Homes
People who can barely afford their housing are much more likely to fall into homelessness. I will advocate for policies which help people find homes and keep them, from developing a portable screening application so tenants aren’t forced to spend hundreds of dollars on housing applications to expanding the senior and disabled property tax exemption.
Carbon-neutral City of Seattle
We need to incorporate the goals of our climate initiative into the City’s business practices – fully electrifying our automotive fleet, bringing all city buildings up to the highest energy efficiency standards, and powering City infrastructure through 100% renewable energy.
Vehicles account for over half of the city’s carbon emissions. I will create a citywide network of connected bus lanes and protected bike lanes, giving people who already want to opt out of relying on their car the ability to do so.
Green Building Codes
Buildings are the largest source of carbon emissions in Seattle after transit. I will ensure all new buildings are built to the highest standards of energy efficiency, add distributed solar energy and utility-scale wind and solar to support building electrification, and will include charging stations for electric vehicles.
Tree Canopy Protection
I will prioritize passage of a tree canopy ordinance I am working on at the Council, which creates a tree permitting system similar to Portland. As the world warms, we need to make sure that our trees–and the shade, character, and carbon sequestration they provide–are safe.
The majority of Seattle’s carbon emissions are from transportation, and congestion pricing is an effective tool for reducing these emissions. As we consider this policy, we must be mindful of the equity impact – congestion pricing can disproportionately impact low-income communities. We also need to ensure the policy accounts for people who work more than one job, late or early hours, or need to use their vehicle as a function of their job, whether it is carrying tools or materials.
Affordable and Accessible Childcare
There is an acute shortage of childcare, especially affordable childcare, in Seattle. I will work to make childcare more affordable and more accessible by incentivizing childcare space in new developments and expanding the childcare subsidy program for low and middle-income families. I will also work to create more childcare options for people who do not work a traditional workday or who have more than one job.
Gun Violence Prevention
I am the only candidate in this race to be a leader on gun violence prevention. I will support and invest in community-based organizations that intervene in the cycle of violence and expand programs like Choose 180, a diversion program which helps youth avoid the criminal justice system.
Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy Implementation
Too often the city and the school district act in silos, not taking advantage of opportunities to increase learning quality and lower costs. We have a unique opportunity to support Seattle schools and the school district through the Department of Education and Early Learning. I’ll work to ensure the levy supports the students and families who need it most and puts our tax dollars to good use.
Safe, Accessible Healthcare Resources
We need to ensure that all students – LGBTQ+, marginalized communities, and others alike – feel safe getting the assistance they need. I helped secure seed funding for the Nova teen health center, which provides LGBTQ+ youth access to safe, quality healthcare where they are, not half a mile away or in a school, where they are vulnerable to bullying or intimidation.
Expand Seattle Preschool Program
I will expand the preschool program to birth-to-5. Early education is critical to long-term success, and giving parents an affordable place for their young children to go will allow them to work a full day.
Access to Healthy Food
Expand the Fresh Bucks Program
Fresh Bucks increases access to fresh food for SNAP recipients through two programs: Fresh Bucks Match and Fresh Bucks Vouchers. Fresh Bucks Match allows SNAP recipients to double their purchasing power for fruits and vegetables, while Fresh Bucks Voucher recipients use the voucher like cash to buy fruits and vegetables. Over 60 retailers region wide participate in this program, and it has significantly increased SNAP spending at local farmers’ markets. Fresh Bucks is well-designed and serves an important need, and I will work to grow the program so more people and families can take advantage of it.