Pledge for Homeless Families in Seattle Essay

Total Length: 4298 words ( 14 double-spaced pages)

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Mayor Schell's Zero Homeless Family Pledge



Program Solving in Public Administration



Charles Amankwaa, Kimberlie Mosley, Luby Harvey



Tom Darling



Evaluation Questions



Mission, Strategic Goals, and Objectives



Proposed Budget, Budget Narrative, and Work Plan



The number of homeless families in the City of Seattle has become a major issue that needs to be addressed. Currently, single males in the streets account for 63% of homeless people while 17% are women and the other 20% are families and youth. In Seattle alone, there are more 700 homeless single women and homeless families with children.



In June of 1998, Mayor Paul Schell made a pledge that there would be no homeless families with children or homeless single women on the streets of Seattle by Christmas of 1998." (Norton, 2006). The pledge by Mayor Schell can be accomplished within six months as he indicated though there are several potential challenges that need to be overcome. This problem relates to receiving immediate funding for shelter and assistance. Moreover, homeless families may have been on the streets for a long time and they may feel uncomfortable going to a shelter where they will be meeting new people and may have to share a room or space with others.



Working with Alan Painter, we have come up with several recommendations in order to resolve the problem. We have provided a timeline in order to meet with City Government, State Government, Federal Government, The Homeless Advisory Groups, Operation Nightwatch and the United Way. The process of coming up with recommendations also involved reviewing areas in Seattle with temporary housing and places with vacant lease. After examining these areas in Seattle and contacting King County regarding prices, the achievement of this pledge may involve moving homeless families from Seattle to King County where housing may be cheaper. However, this may not be a suitable option because it will generate more problems relating to temporary housing and increase the possibility of families going back to the street. Therefore, the ideal way of resolving the problem is to find suitable places in Seattle.



In this regard, providing houses for homeless families in the City of Seattle would involve making extra space or floors within existing shelters. This is an ideal alternative because it's significantly cheaper than constructing a new shelter. While some people would have to sleep on the floors in the shelters, they would still be off the streets. Secondly, we examined the possibility of allowing some of the families stay in our home in order to have zero homeless families on the streets. There are several big homes in the City of Seattle with two or three people but can hold more than 10 people. We developed a white paper and presentation for Alan Painter as well as documents for Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Human Services to see if they would allow a nurse to work in home for each homeless family with children or single women.



To achieve these initiatives, we are proposing a budget increase of 50% from the Federal Government and the City government now. This will result in us providing additional space for the homeless families with children or homeless single women. Furthermore, the additional 50% budget will allow us to have funding to provide the necessities to the additional 812 people that we are trying to provide shelter for. In case, there are additional people that we need to try and find shelter for, the amount would increase.



We are proposing a property tax increase. The property tax increase would cause addition revenue for the city of Seattle. However, it could also cause more people to be homeless because of the increased amount required. We have prepared several cost-benefit analyses in order to make sure if we are provided the additional funding now, there would be savings in the future. The benefits would outweigh the cost in the future.



Mainly working with the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we will be able to receive the type of funding needed to get the remove the homeless families with children and the homeless single women.

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By requesting an exception apportionment from HUD, we are able to provide additional housing and shelter for the homeless. This will be processed in the month of October. Working hand-in-hand with HUD, we are able to build stronger relationships and share our stories with other cities in King County. We would also request additional grant money to build the facilities from HUD. This grant money would be used to purchase an additional four shelters in Seattle.



By working with VA, we are checking to see if any of the homeless families with children or homeless single women are Veterans. If they are, VA will be able to help get them off the streets and provide them with the necessary benefits needed to keep them healthy. They would also assist us with finding shelter for the Veterans with families or single women.



We are also working with Operation Nightwatch to get an updated count of homeless families with children or single women on the streets. The technique used by Operation Nightwatch helps in capturing everyone in the homeless population. This partnership will help ensure we are not missing one person that falls into the category of the pledge made by Mayor Schell. Operation Nightwatch assures us the mechanism they are using is capturing the correct data and not missing any of the homeless.



Speaking with King County, we discussed our plan to meet Mayor Schell's pledge. Our discussion regarding current budget needs and the reduction of this need in the future went well. The recommendations will help achieve Mayor Schell's pledge to provide shelter to the homeless within six months. These suggestions will help achieve this through increasing partnerships between federal agencies, researchers, and private sector towards developing, managing, and promoting the City of Seattle.



II. Introduction and Background



The city of Seattle is on the verge of providing shelter for all of homeless families with children or Right now, there are more single males than anyone else on the streets. The single males represent 63% of the population on the street. The single females represent 17% of the population on the streets and the families and youth represent 20% of the population on the streets. A pie chart is below showing the percentages of single males, single females, and families with you.



Specifically in Seattle, there are over 700 homeless single women and homeless families with children. We have provided Alan Painter with a timeline in order for us to meet with all the key players so we can eliminate the homeless issue in Seattle. Since the pledge was made in June 1998, we have meetings set up with Program Managers and Alan Painter the second week of June. We are discussing the problems, objectives, risk and challenges in order to achieve the pledge. The over 700 is not a confirmed number. We are projecting 812 homeless single women or homeless families with children, based off a report by Operation Nightwatch. This was an increase of 16%from 1993 to 1997. Therefore, keeping the same percentage of 35% (single women) and 35% (families with children). How are they defining families with children? Operation Nightwatch is counting children under 18 with an adult. This could be combination of people to include one parent with one child, one parent with many kids, or two parents with one kid, or two parents with multiple kids. It will be difficult to achieve the pledge because so many people are on the streets and more could come that would not be included in the numbers now. The Program Managers will work with us, the Program Analyst, to prepare our evaluation questions, evaluation design, data collection, data analysis, proposed presentation and utilization plan, proposed budget and narrative description.



During the third week of June, we met with Mayor Schell and Alan Painter to discuss the pledge, goals and objectives. We discussed the problems that we ran into, as far as trying to receive immediate funding for shelter and assistance. We let Mayor Schell know we will achieve the goal within the six-month he stated in his pledge. The Mayor is aware we have set up meetings with the King County, State Government, Federal Government, United Way, and Operation Nightwatch. We explained to the Mayor there may be some.....

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References


Norton, Eileen (2006). "Mayor Schell's Zero Homeless Family Pledge." www.hallway.org

http://www.seattle.gov/pan/1998_AnnualReport/default.htm

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