Laurelhurst Community Club
Serving 2800 Households in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

                                                                                                            October 21, 2002

 

Councilmember Jan Drago, Chair

Budget Committee and

Members of the Seattle City Council

11th Floor, Municipal Building

600 Fourth Avenue

Seattle, Washington  98104-1876             Fax 684-8587

 

Re:       Proposed 65% Cut in Funding for Sand Point Community Housing

 Dear Budget Chair Drago and Members of the Seattle City Council,

             The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees urges you to restore cuts to the Sand Point Community Housing Association included in the Mayor’s proposed 2002-2003 budget.  We believe that a 65% funding cut is inconsistent with cuts proposed for other services, agencies and departments.  A funding cut at this level is also contrary to the commitment made by the City in 1993 to assist with support of operations and housing services to homeless and low-income residents at Sand Point.  The funding reduction would jeopardize the ability of the Sand Point Community Housing Association to move forward with Phase 2 of its development and to provide continued services to existing residents.

             Transitional housing at Sand Point has become a model for the nation in integrating housing, employment, education and arts and culture.  The much-needed housing that is provided gives people an opportunity to get back on their feet.  The Sand Point Community Housing Association provides quality services to residents and accountability to the City and surrounding communities.  With this history of success and the prospect of providing additional housing units at Sand Point, it makes no sense for the City to retreat from its earlier commitment to provide funding.

             The 1993 Community Preferred Reuse Plan for Sand Point calls for funding at a level not to exceed $500,000 per year.  In this regard, the adopted Reuse Plan states, “Although future operating funds cannot be allocated in advance, the City would seek to provide a share of the total support for operations and housing services to homeless and low-income housing residents at Sand Point at a level not to exceed $500,000 per year.”  Until now, the City has been responsive to funding requests from the Sand Point Community Housing Association, although funding at the projected maximum level has never been sought.  The City should not now retract from its commitment to homeless housing and its commitment to the Sand Point Community Housing Association.

         The Sand Point Community Housing Association has consistently acted responsibly in its budget requests.  In recognition of Seattle’s current budget shortfall, the Association reduced its budget request by 20%--from $259,000 to $207,200.  The City should provide funding at this level.

             The City established its policy to provide transitional/homeless housing at Sand Point after careful study at a time when many communities (not including Laurelhurst) opposed low income housing at this location.  The City did so for two principal reasons.  First, the City acquired the former Sand Point Naval Base under the Federal Base Closure Act in exchange for its commitment to create homeless housing.  Second, the homeless population is increasing.  This has been evident each year since adoption of the Reuse Plan.  Most recently, the “One Night Count” on October 19, 2002 documented 2,040 people living on the streets of Seattle—an 18% increase from last year.  

             We urge you to restore the funding requested by the Sand Point Community Housing Association in the current budget.  We do not believe it is appropriate for the City to now renege on the commitment it has made in light of the pressing need for transitional housing.

 

Sincerely,

                                            

Jeannie Hale, President                                                 Kate Lloyd, Magnuson Park Liaison

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE                                  4303 NE 35th Street

Seattle, Washington  98105                                          Seattle, Washington  98105

525-5135 / fax 525-9631                                             522-8822 / fax 526-5525

jeannieh@serv.net                                                        katelloyd@myhealthcheck.net