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.