Initiative Measure 71
Be it ordained be the City of Seattle as follows
In order to reduce the impact of homelessness on the community and address the factors that produce homelessness, the City of Seattle shall provide additional overnight shelter beds and services for its homeless residents, and make it the policy of the City of Seattle to provide such shelter and services on an ongoing basis.
Establishment of Additional Shelter: According to the recommendations of the Seattle-King County Homeless Advisory Group and the City of Seattle Consolidated Plan, a need exists for expanded shelter opportunity in the City of Seattle. The City of Seattle shall have one year from the passage of this initiative to fund and establish a plan to create at least an additional 400 new, year-round shelter beds. All new shelter beds mandated herein shall be fully operational within one year and six months from enactment hereof. These new shelter beds shall have access to appropriate support services to help people move out of homelessness and to become self-sufficient.
Establishment of Expanded Homeless Services. According to the City of Seattle there is an extreme shortage of supportive services for its homeless residents. This shortage of services often prevents homeless people from receiving the help they need to address the problems contributing to their homelessness. Within one year of passage of this initiative, the City of Seattle shall fund additional support services for the homeless, such as: housing placement; employment assistance; childcare; domestic violence intervention, and health services, the funding for which shall represent a minimum of a 20% increase over existing City funding now allocated for such services. The new services shall be made fully operational and accessible to those in need within one year and six months of passage of this initiative.
Declaration of Policy. In the interest of preventing human suffering and reducing the costs of providing medical care and public safety, and in recognition of the right of all persons to overnight shelter, it is by the Citizens declared the public policy of the City of Seattle to provide at least 400 new, year-round shelter beds and services, as referenced above, to homeless persons in the City of Seattle requesting such shelter and willing to abide by reasonable regulations governing the operation of shelter facilities. Adequate shelter is that which to a reasonable degree maintains, protects, and supports human health, is accessible, safe, and sanitary, and has an atmosphere of reasonable dignity.
Definition of Homeless. A person is considered to be homeless if:
(a) The person has no present possessory interest in an accommodation and lacks the means necessary to obtain such interest, or
The person has a possessory interest in an accommodation but
the person is unable to secure entry to that accommodation, or
occupation of the accommodation may lead to violence from another.
Continuum of Care. By creating additional shelter, this initiative will help to provide additional access to supportive services and options for entry into transitional and permanent housing. Continued support of other efforts and initiatives to provide additional transitional and permanent housing is critical to provide the means for homeless people to achieve self-sufficiency and stability.
Funding: Upon passage of this initiative, the City of Seattle shall pursue all possible options to fund the new shelter and services mandated herein, but shall not take, or in any way interfere with, funding from existing or planned expenditures for health, human services, and housing programs. The City shall leverage all available funding from private, county, state and federal sources as necessary to accomplish its mandate herein. The City shall pursue creative options for low-cost shelter, including faith-based shelter and self-management strategies.
Prioritization. The City must facilitate this measure in any way needed to ensure that the goals of this initiative are achieved and its intent carried out, including, but not limited to, prioritizing the processing and providing of all applicable permits, or obtaining any waivers or changes in any state or other superior law that may be needed.
Legal Construction. This measure shall be most liberally and broadly construed or interpreted, by any court or other body or official, in order to effectuate and carry out its purpose and intent.
Severability. If any provision of this initiative, or its application to any person or circumstances, is declared invalid in a court of law, the remainder, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected.
Enforceability. Any registered voter of the City of Seattle, and any other legal person with an interest in providing services to the homeless and low income population, shall have standing and may bring suit to enforce the provisions hereof, in an individual or class action, and may recover all actual damages sustained, attorneys' fees, costs of litigation, and any and all equitable or injunctive relief necessary to enforce the provisions hereof or remedy any violations of this measure.