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Councilmember Lewis Calls for Using Projected Revenue Increase to Address Homelessness Crisis

City Budget Office projects $20.3 million more in general fund revenue from the adopted 2021 budget 

Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis (District 7, Magnolia to Pioneer Square) celebrated Seattle’s increased revenue forecasts and emphasized the need to invest the additional funds on homelessness services. The increase is driven by substantial upward revisions in expected funds from utility taxes (an additional $9 million), B&O taxes ($5.7 million), sales taxes ($4.7) million, and property taxes ($3.8 million). 

“These new revenue projections show that Seattle’s resilient people and businesses are ready to boldly move forward past this pandemic and into sustained economic recovery and growth. With economic activity increasing, we should make use of this additional spending power to better address the single greatest obstacle standing in the way of a full recovery: Seattle’s enduring humanitarian crisis of so many of our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” Lewis said. 

Lewis pointed out ample opportunities to spend these dollars in ways that will have real impacts to house our neighbors and reduce the need for people to live in Seattle’s parks, doorways, and sidewalks, including: 

  • Further investing in the JustCares program, which successfully assists individuals with the highest-barriers to housing, providing intensive case management, and transitioning people into permanent housing. 
  • Setting up tiny house villages on plentiful available sites so people have desirable, short-term shelter options and access to resources to transition to permanent housing. 
  • Rapid rehousing and other safety net measures to prevent people from falling into homelessness due to a temporary inability to pay rent. 
  • The acquisition of hotels and other suitable properties for quick conversion into permanent supportive housing. 
  • Support for service provider capacity to increase available treatment for substance addiction and behavioral mental health. 
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