On June 21st, We Are In’s Executive Director, Felicia Salcedo, spoke with Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell at a public event about our city’s progress, goals, and next steps on housing and homelessness.
Mayor Harrell spoke about the release of his One Seattle Homelessness Action Plan and data dashboard, which tracks where people experiencing homelessness are living, whether they’re living in a tent or an RV, where the city is offering people shelter, and the city’s budget for doing so.
Mayor Harrell said of the dashboard, “people have a tendency to look in their own neighborhood, or just [whatever] their common path is to work, or wherever they’re going. They may not see all 84 square miles [of Seattle] and I think it’s important for people to realize the gravity of the issue… and see how we’re meeting our housing goals. By measuring it, we hope we can create new energy and new synergy around our efforts.”
Mayor Harrell, too, shared enthusiasm for the progress Partnership for Zero is making in Downtown Seattle and the Chinatown/ International District. He spoke to the trust he has in the KCRHA’s system advocates conducting outreach to those who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness, as well as the great partnership among business, philanthropy, and government that made this work possible. However, the Mayor noted: “there is no victory lap until everybody is housed.”
Further, Mayor Harrell affirmed that Seattle will continue to be a compassionate place that provides services and housing to people experiencing homelessness. He recalled the words of United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge –– “you can’t solve homelessness by banning” –– and repeatedly stated his commitment that Seattle is known as a welcoming and compassionate city. Relatedly, Mayor Harrell closed out the event speaking about our nation’s history of racially discriminatory vagrancy laws, which effectively criminalized poverty, and his aversion to reinforcing such policies as a city.
You can watch a recording of the full conversation here.