Advancing Equitable Outreach and Engagement

Message from Kathy Nyland, Director

Mayor Murray recently issued an Executive Order directing the city to approach outreach and engagement in an equitable manner. Putting an equity lens on our approaches is bold and, yes, brave. It shows a commitment to practices that address accessibility and equity.


What does this mean?

  • We often hear that meetings can feel like we are “checking a box.” The Mayor’s action means we can create processes that are more relationship-based and build authentic partnerships.
  • It means that we can create plans that are culturally sensitive, which includes an emphasis on translated materials.
  • It means we broaden access points, identify obstacles and turn them into opportunities.


What else does this mean?

  • It means we have an opportunity to recreate, re-envision and reconcile many lingering issues, including defining the difference between neighborhoods and communities, providing clarity about roles, and creating a system of engagement that builds partnerships with, and between, communities throughout the city of Seattle.
  • It means that we will be working to expand choices and opportunities for community members throughout this city, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of those who face barriers to participation.
  • It means that we’ll work with city offices and departments on community involvement to ensure that they are effective and efficient through the wise use and management of all resources, including the community’s time.
  • And it means we will expand the toolbox and make some investments in digital engagement.

 

Seattle is a unique city, and we are fortunate to have so many valuable partners currently at the proverbial table. Those partners play an important role and that role will continue. While we are appreciative of the countless hours our volunteers spend making our city better, we recognize and acknowledge there are barriers to participation. There are communities who cannot be at the table, while there are some communities who don’t even know there is a table. This is where the Department of Neighborhoods comes in.

This is not a power grab. It is a power share. At the heart of this Executive Order is a commitment to advance the effective deployment of equitable and inclusive community engagement strategies across all city departments. This is about making information and opportunities for participation more accessible to communities throughout the city.

 

“This is not about silencing voices. It’s the exact opposite. It’s about bringing more people into the conversations or at least creating opportunities for people to participate so they can be heard.”

 
Face-to-face meetings are incredibly important and those are not going away. But not every person can attend a community meeting, and the ability to do so should not determine who gets to participate and who gets to be heard.

We’d love to hear what tools YOU need to be successful and how WE can help you. Share your ideas with us:

  • Send an email to NewDON@seattle.gov.
  • Share your comments below.
  • Contact us at 206-684-0464 or mail us at P.O. Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649.
  • Join and follow the conversation online using #AdvancingEquitySEA at:

Facebook – @SeattleNeighborhoods
Twitter – @SeaNeighborhood

This is about making things easier and less exhaustive. This is about connecting communities to government and to one another. This is about moving forward.

Kathy Nyland, Director
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Learn How to Get Funds for Your Neighborhood Project

Small & Simple Projects FundOur Neighborhood Matching Fund program is hosting workshops for community groups interested in learning about the city’s popular Small and Simple Projects Fund. The Small and Simple Projects Fund provides matching awards of up to $25,000 to neighborhood groups for community-building projects such as cultural festivals, facility improvements, public art, and youth activities. These workshops will provide opportunities for you to:

  • Get an overview of our Small and Simple Projects Fund.
  • Find out how to get up to $25,000 for your community project.
  • Learn how to create a successful application.

 

WORKSHOP DATES & TIMES

  • August 4; 6 – 8pm at Montlake Community Center, 1618 East Calhoun St.
  • August 9; 6 – 8pm at El Centro Del La Raza, 2524 16th Avenue S.
  • August 18; 6 – 8pm at Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N.

To RSVP, call 206-233-0093 or go online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/H2PWPFY.

 

To learn more about the Fund, visit our website. The deadline for applications is Monday, September 12 at 5pm. All applicants must register in advance in the City of Seattle Webgrants system prior to completing an application.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) Program awards matching funds for projects initiated, planned, and implemented by community members. Its goal is to build stronger and healthier neighborhoods through community involvement and engagement. Every award is matched by a neighborhood’s contribution of volunteer labor, donated materials, in-kind professional services, or cash.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Seeks Facilitators for Civic Leadership Development Program

People's Academy for Community EngagementSeattle Department of Neighborhoods is seeking experienced facilitators to lead sessions for its leadership development program People’s Academy for Community Engagement, also known as PACE.

The presenters need to be experienced educators, trainers, or facilitators with a high degree of knowledge and experience in one or more of the following topics:

  • Approaches to Leadership: Community & Government
  • Government 101: Structure and Budget
  • Community Organizing
  • Inclusive Outreach & Public Engagement
  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Public Speaking
  • Sustaining Involvement: Self-Care and Mentoring
  • Land Use and Zoning

The facilitators will present for one hour to PACE students at the Fall (September – November), Winter (January-February), and/or Spring (March – July) Cohorts. The facilitator will also need to attend an orientation at Seattle City Hall. The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) can be found here and the deadline for submittal is Friday, August 12 for the Fall Cohort, but will continue taking RFQs for the cohorts next winter and spring. For more information contact PACE@seattle.gov.

PACE is a civic leadership development program dedicated to teaching hands-on engagement and empowerment skills to emerging leaders in a multicultural environment. The class is designed for 25-30 emerging leaders who are newly engaged in the community and want to acquire additional skills to be more effective in civic leadership. To learn more about PACE visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/peoples-academy-for-community-engagement.

City of Seattle Now Accepting Applications for Seattle Youth Commission

Seattle Youth CommissionThe City of Seattle is now accepting applications for the Seattle Youth Commission (SYC), a commission of 15 Seattle residents ages 13-19 that address issues of importance to youth. Appointed by the Mayor and Seattle City Council, youth serving on this commission get a unique opportunity to work with elected officials, city staff, community leaders, and young people citywide to make positive changes in their communities through policy, organizing, and events. The deadline to apply is Friday, August 5 at 5:00 p.m.

Youth serving on the commission will be required to attend a half-day retreat on Saturday, September 24, bi-monthly SYC meetings, and additional committee commitments.  The commission meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month at Seattle City Hall from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Commissioners will serve a two-year term beginning in September 2016 and ending June 2018.

In addition to representing youth across the city, commissioners receive hands-on experience in the public sector and learn how to cultivate the youth voice in city policy.

“Participating in the Seattle Youth Council was integral to my secondary education. It sparked a fire in me for community engagement and continues to impact my career aspirations.” – Lily Clifton, SYC member (2008-2010)

To apply, visit www.seattle.gov/seattle-youth-commission or print and complete this application and mail to:

Jenny Frankl
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

Completed paper applications can also be turned in at the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods office in Seattle City Hall (600 4th Avenue) on the 4th floor.

For questions, contact jenny.frankl@seattle.gov or call 206-233-2044.

People’s Academy for Community Engagement Now Accepting Applications

People's Academy for Community EngagementSeattle Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications to the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), our civic leadership development program for the next wave of community leaders. The fall session begins September 27 and runs through December 6.

During the 10-week program, 25-30 emerging leaders (18 years and up) will learn hands-on strategies for community building, accessing government, and inclusive engagement from experts in the field. PACE has a strong focus on Seattle’s community and neighborhood organizations and the city’s governmental structure and processes.

Fall sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Miller Community Center. Topics include: Approaches to Leadership, Government 101, Community Organizing, Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement, Meeting Facilitation, Public Speaking, Conflict Resolution, and Sustaining Involvement.

Tuition for the 10-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available. To apply, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/peoples-academy-for-community-engagement/pace-application. The application deadline is Friday, August 12 at 5:00 p.m.

Given the popularity of the program, PACE will be offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. The winter session will begin in January of 2017. For more information, visit our webpage and for questions, email PACE@seattle.gov.

Join the Conversation on Housing Affordability & Livability

HALA Focus GroupIn the last five years, rents in Seattle have increased 35% and the homeless population is nearing 3,000.

“We are facing our worst housing affordability crisis in decades,” says Mayor Murray.“My vision is a city where people who work in Seattle can afford to live here.”

The Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), is a set of strategies intended to address this crisis from all sides. The City is relying heavily on public input to take these strategies from ideas to practice and would love to hear from you.

The HALA Team has a cool online conversation called “Consider it” (https://hala.consider.it/) where you can weigh in alongside your neighbors and engage in dialogue around the City’s HALA proposals. When you go to the site, you’ll see a list of topics where you can view the proposals and read others’ comments. If you want to participate in the conversation, you’ll be prompted to create an easy log-in. The HALA team will be adding ideas to the site and looking for folks to return and check in as new topics are added. The City is committed to listening to the community and using the feedback it hears to shape the policies and practices of HALA.

This is civic engagement at work—join the conversation!

Youth Tell the City How to Spend $700,000 of Public Funds

Youth Voice, Youth ChoiceMayor Ed Murray has announced the project winners of Youth Voice, Youth Choice, the City’s new Participatory Budgeting (PB) initiative in which youth decide how to spend $700,000 of the City’s budget. More than 3,000 youth ages 11-25 voted on 19 project proposals in May.

The seven winning projects are:

  • Houses for People Experiencing Homelessness
  • Youth Homeless Shelter Improvements
  • Job Readiness Workshops for Homeless Youth
  • Homeless Children and Youth Liaison Services
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot Checkout
  • Park Bathroom Upgrades
  • Safe Routes to Schools

Thanks to the leadership of former Councilmember Nick Licata, we launched participatory budgeting to empower the youth of Seattle and to show them that their voice matters in shaping this city. Through this process, we learned that young people are concerned about the homelessness crisis gripping our city, as well as issues of equity and public safety. They want to help those who are suffering and to create safer streets for walking or biking.” – Mayor Ed Murray

The process started in January with several assemblies where the public brainstormed ideas for projects it would like to see in their communities. The 20 youth delegates turned those ideas into 19 concrete proposals with help from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and City staff. Now that the choices have been made, City staff and local agencies will implement the projects.

“We are thrilled to see that so many youth participated in this program,” said Kathy Nyland, director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. “Over 3,000 have spoken and we have heard them. It’s now up to us to implement these ideas so these projects become a reality.”

Participatory Budgeting is a civic engagement program in which community members decide how to spend a portion of a City’s budget. Seattle has joined Chicago, New York, Boston, and cities across the globe in using the process. Youth Voice, Youth Choice is managed by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

For more information, contact Jenny Frankl at 206-233-2044 or visit the Youth Voice, Youth Choice website.

Seattle Votes Campaign Aims to Lower Barriers to Immigrant and Refugee Civic Engagement

Seattle Votes - Young Somali WomenIn April, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) launched the Seattle Votes campaign to identify barriers to voting and civic engagement for Seattle’s immigrant and refugee residents. The campaign consists of an anonymous survey that will provide data for organizations, King County, and the City to better understand the civic needs of specific immigrant and refugee communities within Seattle.

“Immigrants and refugees are a vital thread in the fabric of Seattle, with one out of five residents foreign-born,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Often these communities face significant obstacles to gaining citizenship and participating in elections. Through Seattle Votes, we will gain community-level data to help us better serve these communities, creating more opportunity for refugees and immigrants to participate in our democracy.”

There has been a great response rate to the survey, but the City has a goal of reaching just under 1,700 more responses by June 17!

  • If you are an immigrant/refugee over the age of 18 living in King County, please take the survey. It takes about 6 minutes, and the results are completely anonymous.
  • If you have friends, family, and/or colleagues over the age of 18 who are immigrants/refugees living in King County, please share this blog post with them, and encourage them to complete a Seattle Votes online survey.

The Seattle Votes online survey has been translated into ten languages:

The City will publish the findings in an official report in August. The disaggregated results will help inform policies to improve naturalization, voter registration, and voting rates.

Landmarks Preservation Board to Consider Nomination of 1914-1920 Eastlake Ave E Building

1916-20 Eastlake Ave E

Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider nomination of the building at 1914-1920 Eastlake Avenue E on Wednesday, June 15 at 3:30 p.m. in Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, Floor L2, Room L2-80 (Boards and Commissions Room).

The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following mailing address by June 14 at 3:00 p.m.:

Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

A copy of the Landmark Nomination is available for public review at the Capitol Hill Branch Library (425 Harvard Ave E) and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ office in Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, 4th Floor (206-684-0228). It is also posted on the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods webpage, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation/landmarks.htm, under the heading of “Current Nominations.”

UW Students Present Ideas for Cascade P-Patch Renovation

Cascade P-Patch Open HouseBeginning in March 2016, University of Washington Landscape Architecture students began using the community driven area of Cascade Park and P-Patch for a design studio project focused on urban agriculture. Taught by Eric Higbee, Design Director at the Pomegranate Center, the students examined the social justice, community building, cultural meaning, and urban complexity of designing for urban agricultural spaces. They then prepared neighborhood, site, and precedent studies for the Cascade P-Patch and adjacent community driven areas of the park, and created individual designs.

The students will be presenting their final designs at a Community Open House on June 4 at 1pm at Mirabella (116 Fairview Ave N). The event is open to the public.

Final student products will be assembled into a booklet to support future community planning efforts for the Cascade Park and P-Patch. The long term interest is to redesign some existing areas of the P-Patch for better flow, integration, sightlines, and accessibility. The P-Patch Community Garden Program will be working with the community to narrow down ideas to one design and work to secure funding to complete the work.

If you have questions about the project, contact Sandy Pernitz, Community Garden Coordinator, at 206.684.0284.