Mayor Durkan hones in on child care, homelessness in 2020 budget

Sep 23, 2019, 3:23 PM

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan unveiled her 2020 budget late Monday morning, including a proposal to almost double the city’s child care assistance program.

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Durkan’s proposal would offer child care subsidies to upwards of 1,400 families to “reduce the cost burden of child care,” for an increase of 600 children. It would call for an additional $3 million in funding.

“Having raised two kids as a working mom, I know affordable child care makes all the difference for families,” she said in a news release. “Early learning has a lasting impact, and we have a responsibility to ease the burden of one of the most significant costs any family has: the cost of child care.

The budget covers a total of $6.5 billion in funding for 2020, up from 2019’s $5.9 billion. That includes a sizable investment in homelessness and low-income housing.

“With this budget we will usher in a new era in the fight against homelessness,” Durkan said in a speech announcing the proposal.

That plan was first announced in mid-September, in the form of four pilot programs to address repeat homeless criminal offenders.

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The four proposed programs include enhanced probation that could involve counselors offering less jail time if the offender will go to treatment. Another pilot program would create a position for a dedicated re-entry planner at the jail to help these offenders connect with services and get into shelter when they’re released.

The third pilot program would be a 60-bed, 24/7 enhanced shelter, where people can get behavioral health treatment, case management, and more. The final program involves case conferencing for offenders.

Durkan’s 2020 budget will next go before Seattle City Council, who will then craft a final version to pass sometime in late November.

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Mayor Durkan hones in on child care, homelessness in 2020 budget