Seattle mayor leads first State of the City address with homeless issue

Feb 20, 2018, 12:13 PM

Mayor Jenny Durkan, state of the city, ORCA...

Mayor Jenny Durkan during her first State of the City address on Feb. 20. (Seattle Channel)

(Seattle Channel)

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan opened her first State of the City address with much of the same that we’ve heard from previous administrations.

Seattle increasing investments in homeless hygiene services

Durkan told a crowded auditorium in South Seattle that homelessness and tackling the city’s affordability problem is her top priority.

“We must first build a more affordable Seattle,” she said.

Durkan called affordability and homelessness the “moral challenge of our time.” Though there are those in the city who are enjoying incredibly high wages and some of the “coolest jobs anywhere,” many more are being forced out, she said.

“Every three days someone without a home dies in this city…” she added.

But the first female mayor in decades admits the issues of affordability and homelessness won’t be fixed quickly.

“These crises have been years in the making and can’t be fixed overnight,” she said. “There will be times when we take two steps forward and one step back.”

Mayor Durkan says she can promise three things: More low-income and middle-class housing, more short-term housing options, and “true economic opportunity for everyone.”

In December, Durkan announced a plan to add $100 million in investments to “build and preserve” 1,450 affordable homes across Seattle, including building hundreds of new homes.

She said the city will add more short-term shelters as more people are placed into permanent housing. She will also push for more accountability for homeless providers.

Listen to the entire address here.

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Seattle mayor leads first State of the City address with homeless issue