Offer your input at city council budget hearing on Oct. 16 / Letters

With all the local government spending to end homelessness, why is there still so much homelessness? Maybe there really is less government spending than you think.

The Redmond City Council’s next budget hearing for public comment is Oct. 16. Please attend and offer your input.

In the city of Redmond budget process, citizens were asked to rank six categories. The full explanations for the most recent process are not online as of this writing, but for the 2017-18 biennium one of the categories was Connected Community. Under this category there were five sub-categories. There were three categories for parks amenities, but there was only one for human services grants. This predisposes the process to ensure that the parks programs get more. In fact, the three parks categories received $14 million, vs. $2.5 million for social services.

Then, on June 6, 2017, the city council reduced the human services budget by $155,000. It added $4 million to the parks capital projects, which then totaled $23.5 million.

On March 21, 2017, the council allocated $10 million for downtown park amenities, including the pavilion, water wheel and splash pond. On April 4, one consulting firm’s total for engineering services was increased to $4 million.

In contrast, Congregations for the Homeless received $10,356 for the year round shelter, $25,108 for the men’s night shelter, $7928 for housing subsidies for formerly homeless men and $14,000 for the drop in center. The Sophia Way women’s night shelter received $22,500 and the 24 women’s shelter received $14,100. Hopelink housing received $59,315 and the Friends of Youth shelter received $48,702. How many dormitory rooms does that latter figure provide for youth and young adults?

A total of $462,000 was spent on “roof over head and food to eat.” That won’t even buy one new townhome in Redmond.

In addition to the $2.5 million in social services grants, Redmond gave $600,000 to the ARCH housing trust fund. In context, at the Kenmore meeting of the affordable housing task force (now called One Table), the developer representative explicitly said that no private developer will build for the population below 30 percent of the median income. Nonprofits and preservation are necessary for housing.

In the 2017-18 biennium, less than 1 percent of the city’s budget was allocated to the human services. If this allocation does not coincide with your values, please attend and testify at the Oct. 16 meeting.

Linda Seltzer