City Opens Applications for Community Safety RFPs
Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1 – West Seattle and South Park), Chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, alongside her Council colleagues serving on the committee, voted to approve and send to Full Council a $10.4 million spending plan for community safety investments, a continuation of the Council’s fall budget process that allocated funding to reimagine public safety.
The legislation makes it possible for the Human Services Department to award $10.4 million to strengthen organizations that provide community-led public safety initiatives. The funding is part of the Council’s efforts to reimagine public safety by investing in more community safety alternatives.
“Throughout 2020, the calls from community to invest in alternatives to policing were consistent, loud and clear. Seattle City Council answered that call by appropriating $16 million to invest in community-led organizations that are creating community safety on the ground every day in our city. I appreciate the Human Services Department moving quickly last year to award $4 million to the Seattle Community Safety Initiative, which is building community safety hubs and wraparound services in three Seattle neighborhoods under the leadership of Community Passageways. This new investment will bring together a cohort of organizations dedicated to reimagining how community safety can be achieved in Seattle, and gives them the resources they need to bring new responses to bear,” Herbold said.
“The approval of this additional $10.4 million investment plan in community safety is an important milestone in the City’s work to transform the delivery of community safety services to Seattle’s residents. These funds will be released for investment in community-led programs to continue developing a strong partnership between government and community to design and scale successful alternatives to a gun and badge response to social issues like poverty, homelessness and lack of opportunity,” said Council President M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide).
“Funding community-led safety initiatives is of paramount importance in the effort to increase community safety, for it is only through educating, equipping, and empowering community members that long term community safety goals can be accomplished. Community organizations must be funded as we build out capacity that allows us to train and employ community members with longstanding ties to the community who then recruit and encourage others in this work. Real and lasting change begins within, and thus, real and lasting community safety begins with the support and full backing of community-led efforts and initiatives,” said Rev. Martin L. Lawson, MDiv, Director, Seattle Community Safety Initiative, Community Passageways.
Chair Herbold noted, “These funds are squarely targeted to boost the work of community-based organizations that are productively engaging and responding every day to keep our communities safe. A February report from the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice noted the strain these organizations have experienced over the past year, and concluded that implementing proven anti-violence strategies will be necessary to combat increased violence and property offenses across the country, including in Seattle. This investment will help expand those needed services.”
Applications for $10.4 million in contracts are open and funds will be awarded by the city’s Human Services Department. The Community Safety Capacity Building RFP was published on March 1, 2021, and applications are due April 9, 2021.
The application process for proposals reflects community feedback in several ways. For example, all organizations meeting the minimum qualifications who apply will have an opportunity for an interview, and technical assistance with the application and developing a proposal is available for BIPOC and Refugee organizations, and for small organizations. Additionally, honorariums are available for community members who participate in development of an RFP or who participate in the community review panel.