Mayor's Update - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Mayor's Update - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Posted on 01/16/2022
Update Cover with Martin Luther King, Jr.

The City of Renton's Mayor's LoogPeriodically I will provide a mayor’s perspective on news items of importance to Renton residents.

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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Number 12

Mayor's Update Cover Photo for January 16, 2022

Monday, we celebrate the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During his all-too-short life, Dr. King worked tirelessly to ensure that equality, justice, peace, respect, and inclusion were a part of our lives. These ideals are reflected in our community.

Something Dr. King said continues to resonate with me. He said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”

We are poised to do great things in our community. We are taking those crucial first steps in making changes that will make a generational impact.

Our new Equity, Housing, and Human Services (EHHS) Department will play a key role in impacting the lives of so many of our neighbors. Its creation now unites several divisions dedicated to improving the livability of our most vulnerable populations.

I appointed Preeti Shridhar to lead the department. In her words, “It is not just to embrace a message of inclusion and hope but of real action. So, we proposed a plan, and on Monday, City Council approved it. We will soon distribute $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help community members in real need receive basic human services.”

In addition to the new department and many other efforts underway, we are also in the process of interviewing candidates for a new Equity Commission. This group will help ensure we listen to our residents and identify and remove barriers.

Your City Council reflects the makeup and values of our city. Though they come from different backgrounds, they are united in their service and representation to our residents.

One of the goals they recently amended in the city’s 2022-2027 Business Plan is to “Build an inclusive, informed, and hate-free city with equitable outcomes for all in support of social, economic, and racial justice.”

I hope you’ll join me as we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. We must continue working to make Renton a community committed to his ideals and dedicated to making lives better every day.

 

City Council approves reallocation of the $1.5 million appropriation for equity, housing, and human services support

As I mentioned above, the City Council on Monday approved the reallocation of $1.5 million appropriation to support the work of our Equity, Housing and Human Services Department (EHHS). The money was made available from reserves freed up by using the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support general governmental services.

The funds will be distributed immediately to:

  • Agencies serving those in dire need because of COVID

  • Smaller agencies reaching minority populations through Renton Regional Community Foundation

  • Expanded Human Services needs through Village of Hope

  • REACH (Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches)

  • Additional staff support

A reserve will help fund implementation of the upcoming citywide Human Needs Assessment plan. The last assessment was completed in 2014.

“Our city has undergone significant change since then, and that made us refocus our priorities,” EHHS administrator Preeti Shridhar told the council. “It’s not enough to do an assessment. You must be able to fund the critical needs it identifies,.” The city is in the process of accepting proposals to conduct the assessment.

A breakdown of the reallocation of funding ($1.5 million total):

  • $775,000 - Equity & Community Needs Assessment and Human Services Plan implementation

  • $192,140 - Expansion of Human Services agencies         

  • $115,000 - REACH (funds already expended for emergency needs at their current location)

  • $100,000 - Equity & Inclusion Program Consultant Agreement           

  • $99,000 - Village of Hope/Redmond model case management and distribution of human services contract

  • $60,000 - REACH (annual costs for 2021 to provide homeless services to Renton)

  • $55,000 - Immediate funding to agencies serving those in dire need of COVID related expenses

  • $52,000 - Smaller agencies serving Renton residents not funded by human services (offer these funds through RRCF)

  • $51,860 - Increase EHHS staffing (0.5 FTE Administrative Secretary I, Grade a09, Step C to 1.0 FTE Administrative Secretary I, Grade a09, Step C)

PREVIOUS MAYOR'S UPDATES

  • November 5, 2021 - Renton’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion leads to several impactful initiatives
  • October 1, 2021 - Human Services Funding: City Council increases Human Services budget almost three-fold; approves three projects through HB 1590
  • August 31, 2021 - Solera is the cornerstone of our ongoing redevelopment of the Sunset area
  • June 22, 2021 - Support Housing: Mayor Pavone and county executive announce Renton hotel is part of Health Through Housing initiative

  • December 18, 2020 - City Council passes emergency ordinance for interim zoning controls

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