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Health One Expansion; Covid Updates: All Adults Are Vaccine Eligible; Home Vaccination Available; Help With Funeral Expenses; Free Covid Testing; District 1 Transit Updates; Sound Transit Light Rail to Northgate, University District, and Roosevelt to begins October 2nd; SPD Budget Bill delay; EDI Applications Open; Local Parks Facilities Re-Opening

Health One Expansion

The Seattle Fire Department’s Health One program is an integral part of our crisis response and is needed now more than ever. The expansion of this program to include Health Two this week, and Health Three later this year, means that more behavioral health calls can be redirected away from an armed police response towards providers that are better capable of assisting individuals in need.

The Seattle Fire Department previously responded to this type of 911 call with a fully staffed engine, ladder, or aid car. Yet, only half of the time do 911 calls to SFD need that response.  Last week, when I joined Health 1, I was able to experience first-hand how an immediate response by a team of case managers and firefighters was able to better connect an individual with necessary care and services. This was a low-acuity call that just a couple of years ago, without Health One, might have resulted in use of scarce resources that are better focused elsewhere.

Now that we’ve added capacity through Health Two, we need to update our dispatch protocols to expand its use. Currently, most calls for wellness checks and behavioral health crises are still held by the Seattle Police Department. SPD has Crisis Intervention Teams and Crises Response Teams available, Health One provides a needed resource that does not involve sworn officers.

This work is part of the City’s overall strategy that also includes our partnership with King County to fund the Downtown Emergency Service Centers’  Mobile Crisis Team, Council’s support for re-establishing the SPD’s Community Service Officers, and investments in the Seattle Community Safety Initiative and the Critical Incident Responders program operated by Community Passageways as well as $10.4 Million for Community Safety Capacity Building, that I wrote about here, to monitor safety in high-risk areas and respond to incidents of violence in partnership with local law enforcement.

These are all programs to right-size crisis response, so police and fire can refocus their resources to their core functions and reduce the likelihood of the combination of an armed police response and individuals in the throes of Behavioral Health crisis leading to tragic outcomes.

For those of you who’ve asked me whether Health 1 gets to District 1, check out this helpful map.

Covid Updates: All Adults Are Vaccine Eligible; Home Vaccination Available; Help With Funeral Expenses; Free Covid Testing

All adults statewide are now eligible to receive Covid vaccination:

Starting today, everyone 16 and older in Washington is eligible for the Covid vaccine. Vaccine supply is slowly increasing…

… but with an estimated 650,000 people newly eligible in King County, vaccine will still be difficult to find – especially if you’re looking for your first shot.

How to find a vaccine appointment:  Bring your patience, and try these resources:

Discover where you can get the vaccine near you at VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.

Join the waiting list for the City’s vaccination sites – including in West Seattle at 2801 SW Thistle Street:  click here or call (206) 684-2489.

You can always find state-approved vaccine providers in District 1 – and check if they have appointments available – here.

Home vaccination now available:  COVID vaccine home visits are available to adults 16 and above in King County who meet these criteria:

  • have not yet been vaccinated
  • have an injury, developmental disability or medical condition that makes it difficult to leave the home
  • for whom it would require considerable and taxing effort to access vaccine outside the home.

Call Seattle’s Customer Service Bureau at (206) 684-2489 Monday through Saturday to request home vaccination and be screened for eligibility.  Interpretation is available.

Help with funeral expenses:  If you lost a loved one to Covid, the federal government can help to pay for funeral expenses.   The pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families.  FEMA is providing financial assistance for Covid-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.  Learn more here, or find Funeral Assistance information in your language:

中文 | Español | Kreyòl Ayisyen | 한국어 | Tiếng Việt |Français | عربي | हिन्दी | Português | Pусский | Tagalog | Bengali

To apply:

Testing is important!  King County and Washington state are on the cusp of a fourth wave of infections:

Whether you call it a surge or a wave, cases and hospitalizations have been climbing at a steady pace since mid-March in King County… We are likely seeing the effects of our increasing activities at the same time that more infectious strains of the virus are spreading.

While so many are still waiting for their vaccination, remember to keep up precautions such as wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds – even if you already have vaccination.

And if you feel sick – get a Covid test!  It’s free at many testing locations around the City and County.

District 1 testing locations:  Public Health just announced that testing will end at the 2801 SW Thistle site, with Saturday 4/17 being the final day.  I have repeatedly advocated with the Mayor’s Office to keep Covid testing available at this location, especially given increasing Covid cases and hospitalizations, and the difficulty of leaving the peninsula for healthcare.  The Mayor’s Office had previously assured me that if the SW Thistle site were to stop testing, they would place a Curative testing kiosk in the near vicinity, similar to the kiosk at Don Armeni.  My office and I just sent this message to the Mayor’s Office:

I was just made aware of a Public Health tweet that confirms closure, without mentioning a new Curative kiosk on/near location.  Is this wise given the warning of a 4th wave?  Can you confirm that a Curative kiosk will go in near that location?  Is there a timeline?

I will continue to advocate for the addition of a testing kiosk near the SW Thistle location.  In the meantime, there are three free, public testing sites on the West Seattle peninsula.  Public Health – Seattle & King County hosts a webpage with lists of public testing locations.

Don Armeni Boat Ramp Curative KioskMake reservations online
 1222 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Neighborcare Health at High Point – Call for appointment: (206) 461-6950
6020 35th Ave SE, Seattle, WA 98126

Sea Mar Community Health Centers at South Park – Call for appointment: (206) 762-3730
8720 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108

District 1 Transit Updates

There are a couple of updates regarding King County Metro transit service.

First of all, Metro will begin gradually increasing passenger limits on buses.

On Saturday, April 17, Metro will allow 40% of pre-COVID capacity (50% seated capacity). This means the passenger limit will move from 12 to 20 riders on 40-foot buses, and from 18 to 30 customers on 60-foot buses.

This increase in load limits is in step with other transit agencies and in line with Governor Inslee’s guidance for public transit agencies. King County entered Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery” plan on March 22.

Metro notes that “If conditions allow, our intent is to increase our capacity limits to 70% of pre-COVID levels in early July, or earlier if our county enters Phase 4 sooner. We would then aim to retire reduced capacity levels prior to the service change on October 2.”

Secondly, the West Seattle Water Taxi will begin operating on the Summer sailing schedule beginning on Monday, April 19. The Water Taxi will:

  • Be in service seven days a week from Pier 50 downtown to Seacrest Park in West Seattle
  • Include late evening sailings every Friday and Saturday
  • On weekdays, there will be sailings leaving the dock every 35 minutes during peak commute hours and every hour mid-day

The Water Taxi is accessible by transit; riders can take free Metro shuttles to and from the Water Taxi landing at Seacrest Park. Route 773 serves the West Seattle Junction. Route 775 serves the Admiral District and Alki.

Sound Transit Light Rail to Northgate, University District, and Roosevelt to begins October 2nd

Last week Sound Transit announced the Northgate light rail extension will open to passenger service on October 2nd.

The 4.3 mile extension will include stations in the University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate. Sound Transit notes that “Of the 4.3-mile extension, all but 0.8 miles of elevated track at Northgate are located underground.”

Riders from West Seattle and South Park will be able to transfer to light rail in SODO, Chinatown/ID or Downtown to reach these stations. The existing University of Washington station is adjacent to Husky Stadium;  the new U District station will be on Brooklyn Avenue NE between NE 43rd and 45th.

A pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-5 from the Northgate station will connect the station to North Seattle College. Installation of the bridge span over I-5 will take place in May.

Extension to the Eastside (including access to Chinatown/ID and Judkins Park) will open in 2023, and Lynnwood and Federal Way in 2024. A Tacoma Hilltop extension will open next year.

SPD Budget Bill Delay

I had tentatively scheduled a discussion and  potential vote on Council Bill 119981  for the April 13 meeting of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee. The committee voted to amend the bill at the March 23rd meeting.

However, the Monitor sent questions to the Seattle Police Department, with direction that the “questions be answered as expeditiously as possible.”

SPD had not answered those questions and the Monitoring Team’s direction was that SPD should respond “prior to further actions by the City on the budget of the Seattle Police Department.”   Because SPD hadn’t answered the Monitor’s questions and we have been directed to not vote before the Monitor’s questions have been answered by SPD, voting at that time would be in conflict with the Monitor’s direction to the Council.

Background on this legislation was included in the  March 26 and February 26 newsletters.

EDI Applications Open

The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) – which manages the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) – is now accepting applications for the program. EDI “is an opportunity for Community-based organizations working in Seattle on anti-displacement strategies, responding to creating new economic opportunities, improving educational outcomes, and other forms of community development including responding to the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

There is about $6.8 million that will be dispersed to community-based organizations and applications are due on June 6. For questions, please contact michael.blumson@seattle.gov.

There is one additional webinar on May 24th at 11am for potential applicants to learn more about the process and ask questions of staff.

To learn more about the five District 1 EDI projects, see here:

Hope Academy

Description: Hope Academy is the only East African community-based K-8 school accredited by the WA State Board of Education. HAS serves 120 students and more than 400 East African refugee and immigrant families through their programs. EDI funding is for capacity building and will help secure ownership of the property.  Grant Amount: $338,000

Cultivate South Park

Description: Capacity building and planning to design creative financial models for collective ownership of land in South Park with a focus on wealth creation and preventing displacement for neighbors who have been historically marginalized.  Grant Amount: $50,000

Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition

The DVAHC is making substantial progress with capacity building and their 3-prong approach to combatting displacement.  Grant Amount: $225,000 (3 years capacity building)

  1. Development of New, Affordable Housing
  2. Multi-Purpose Building
  3. Preservation of Low-Cost Market Rate Housing

Duwamish Tribal Services

Goal: Acquire site to the south of the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center to develop addition parking and improve safe site ingress and egress.  Grant Amount: $650,000

Refugee and Immigrant Family Center

Description:  The Refugee and Immigrant Family Center (RIFC) is an organization that provides culturally relevant daycare for immigrant and refugee families.  Grant Amount: $815,000

Local Parks Facilities Re-Opening

Many of you have written to me over the past year asking about our beloved parks, and when parks facilities may re-open safely.  This week Seattle Parks & Recreation announced summer re-opening plans for many facilities.  Of particular interest for District 1, these facilities are slated to re-open for the summer:

  • Colman Pool
  • Highland Park spray park
  • Lincoln Park and Delridge wading pools

Find the full announcement here, and the current status of specific facilities here.

Parks & Recreation have not yet announced re-opening dates or timelines – I will pass those along as soon as I hear.  I know how much West Seattle and South Park neighbors have missed your parks facilities!

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