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Monday, October 18, 2021

City Of Seattle Grants $10.4 Million To Community Organizations Focused On Safety For Communities Of Color

Today, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) announced awardees of the 2021 Community Safety Capacity Building RFP. The City is providing $10.4 million in one-time funding for 18 months for 33 organizations working toward community-led solutions to end violence and increase safety in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. These investments will support organizations providing an array of programs, services, and upstream investments meant to improve outcomes and contribute to overall community safety and wellbeing. 

“By working together and deeply investing in community, Seattle can lead the way in building a new model for community safety. While the City of Seattle continues to focus on creating and expanding alternatives to 911 calls and sworn officers, these community-led solutions focus on restoration efforts and important violence prevention efforts, especially as cities across the country are seeing an increase in gun violence,” said Durkan.  

According to city officials, the community organizations focus and work include several community safety strategies. The RFP was designed to promote community-led solutions, allowing community members and agencies to define safety investments. Most applicants and awardees self-reported in their applications that their agencies work in spaces dedicated to interrupting the cycle of community violence, expanding trauma-informed practices, and youth, family, or community engagement. Community organizations primarily submitted proposals for prevention and restoration efforts rather than creating alternatives to 9-1-1 calls and policing.   

Together, these investments strengthen community organizations ability to address institutionalized inequities that result in BIPOC communities being underserved and unsafe.   

The funding is part of Mayor Durkan’s $100 million commitment in the 2020 budget to improve outcomes for communities of color in Seattle in order to address the systemic harms caused by racist policies and generations of disinvestment. The legislation to increase funding for community-led safety models is a portion of the $100 million investment.  

33 organizations will be awarded funding through the RFP.  Funding awards will range between $123,068 to $585,410 per organization. The funded organizations span a range of services and focus areas, with some agencies receiving City funds for the first time and other programs expanding existing services. HSD received over 70 applications, totaling $40 million in requested funds. Many proposals also aligned with other City of Seattle programs and investments focused on food security, education, homelessness, and re-entry.  

HSD and the review committee recommended funding activities with the following organizations:   

Academy for Creating Excellence  Creative Justice  Oromia Community Center in Washington  
African Community Housing & Development  East African Community Services  PlusPositively LLC  
Africatown Community Land Trust  Empowering Youth and Families Outreach  POCAAN (People of Color Against AIDS Network)  
Alphabet Alliance of Color  Evergreen Treatment Services REACH  Public Defender Association Collective Justice   
API Chaya  Fathers and Sons Together  Rainier Beach Action Coalition  
Arms Around You  Freedom Project  Seattle Neighborhood Group  
Black Star Line  Fresh Start  Sexual Violence Law Center  
Chief Seattle Club  King County Equity Now  Somali Family Safety Task Force  
CHOOSE 180_Community Leaders Roundtable of Seattle  Korean Community Service Center  Surge Reproductive Justice  
Community Passageways  Mother Nation  The Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse  
Consejo Counseling and Referral Services  Multi-Communities  WA Therapy Fund Foundation  

In general, services and strategies include:   

·       activating neighborhood-based strategies to reduce crime rates at hotspots   

·       de-escalation support in response to shots fired   

·       re-entry services  

·       case management   

·       community awareness about disproportionality in criminal legal services  

·       family support to prevent youth from entering the criminal legal system  

·       supports to address family and gender-based violence  

The RFP was launched on March 1, 2021 and closed on April 9, 2021. Technical assistance was made available to provide additional support for organizations to develop their proposals and prepare for interviews. The RFP process included a panel to review and rate applications. The review panel was made up mostly of over 20 community members that hold content expertise in community-led solutions to end violence and to reimagine safety in the BIPOC communities throughout Seattle, King County, and Washington state.  

Awards are pending the final appeals process, which will conclude on July 27.  

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