ari hoffman for city council, seattle city council

Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council: Infrastructure

Elect Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council

Infrastructure: It rains in Seattle 8 months out of the year. The elderly and disabled can’t ride bikes and bike ridership is down. The city can’t be spending 12 million dollars per mile to install bike lanes that are hurting local businesses and snarling traffic. The excessive over-budget spending on the light rail and trolley car prove that the city cannot be trusted with taxpayer money and reforms must be put in place.

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ari hoffman for city council, seattle city council

Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council: Regulations

Elect Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council

Regulations: The current City Council has passed and championed regulations on construction and zoning so onerous and expensive that many subcontractors won’t work in Seattle anymore. Taxes on soda send shoppers to supermarkets outside the city limits. Regulations affect supply and demand, and this is directly impacting the homeless crisis.

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employment

Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council: ‘I’m willing to work with anybody’

“What was fascinating to me was how many people from the left in Seattle were coming up to me saying enough is enough, can you do something about this?” he described. “So many people were coming up to me and saying we need common sense, practical, compassionate solutions.”

Read more MyNorthwest

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ari hoffman for city council, seattle city council

Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council: Taxes

Elect Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council

Taxes: The cost of living in Seattle is rising, and while part of that can be attributed to living in a growing city, a significant portion of that is the increasing tax burden being placed on our residents and businesses. We need to learn to live within our means, find creative solutions to problems, and support non-profit organizations without merely looking for excuses to tax.

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ari hoffman for city council, seattle city council

Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council: Opioid/Meth Crisis

Elect Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council

Opioid/Meth Crisis: Our city has given  tacit consent to illegal drug dealers and users. Dealers operate on the streets in broad daylight, taking advantage of our most vulnerable. Needles and other drug paraphernalia are found in the parks where our children play. There is no enforcement, not because of our police, but because of the enabling of these crimes and activities by our current City Council.
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ari hoffman for city council, seattle city council

Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council: Homeless Crisis

Elect Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council

Homeless Crisis: According to this year’s One Night Count, there are over 12,000 people living on the streets of Seattle. Tents and broken RVs fill our streets and sidewalks, all while shelter beds are available.  Meanwhile, organizations like SHARE and WHEEL operate low-barrier tiny home villages, where drugs are allowed and crime runs rampant. Every time a sweep is done by the Navigation Team, they find children in the squalor, sometimes even victims of child trafficking. They also find weapons and dangerous animals.

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ari hoffman for city council, seattle city council

Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council: Justice Reforms

Elect Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council

Justice Reforms: As our city’s budget continues to spiral out of control, we cannot afford to lose sight of the massive amount of money used on our jail system, which is used to punish, not help, those who have committed crimes and are looking to turn around their lives.

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ari hoffman for city council

Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council: Seattle Safety

Elect Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council

Safety: Seattle is a great city and that is why it attracts people from all over the world to work, visit and live. Sadly though, our city is experiencing an increase in crime associated our growth and affluence. It is quite common to see drug dealers and prostitutes operating in broad daylight. Intravenous drug use is rampant, leaving used paraphernalia on the streets causing a health hazard for all. Tent cities and derelict recreational vehicles double as store fronts for these illegal enterprises. Our peace officers are being marginalized by many elected officials and are leaving work for other municipalities.

Recruitment is at an all time low and now there are special interest groups advocating for cuts in funding for probation services. This is an action opposed by municipal judges who were appointed by the same Seattle City Council that now wants to cut these services. It’s a vicious cycle that perpetuates itself. Can do better, we will do better.

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Seattle Police Department: Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a pre-booking diversion pilot program developed with the community to address low-level drug and prostitution crimes in the Belltown neighborhood in Seattle and the Skyway area of unincorporated King County. The program allows law enforcement officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug or prostitution activity to community-based services, instead of jail and prosecution. By diverting eligible individuals to services, LEAD is committed to improving public safety and public order, and reducing the criminal behavior of people who participate in the program.

About LEAD
Frequently Asked Questions
LEAD Policy Coordinating Group

Funders
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a new innovative pilot program that was developed with the community to address low-level drug and prostitution crimes in the Belltown neighborhood in Seattle and the Skyway area of unincorporated King County. LEAD will divert low-level drug and prostitution offenders into community-based treatment and support services – including housing, healthcare, job training, treatment and mental health support — instead of processing them through traditional criminal justice system avenues.

A unique coalition of law enforcement agencies, public officials, and community groups collaborated to create this pilot program. These groups make up LEAD’s Policy Coordinating Group, which governs the program.

LEAD’s goal is to improve public safety and public order, and to reduce the criminal behavior of people who participate in the program. The program will be thoroughly evaluated to determine whether it has been successful or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions about LEAD. If you have further questions about the program, please contact us.

What is LEAD?

LEAD is a pre-booking diversion program that allows officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drugs or prostitution activity to community-based services instead of jail and prosecution. LEAD participants begin working immediately with case managers to access services. LEAD’s goals are to reduce the harm a drug offender causes him or herself, as well as the harm that the individual is causing the surrounding community. This public safety program has the potential to reduce recidivism rates for low-level offenders and preserve expensive criminal justice system resources for more serious or violent offenders.

How does LEAD differ from other drug programs?

First, LEAD is the result of a commitment from law enforcement agencies, public officials, and community organizations to work together in implementing a new approach to addressing drug and prostitution activity. Second, the diversion in LEAD is made at the pre-booking stage, in the hopes of bypassing the costs and time entailed in booking, charging, and requiring court appearances of an individual. Finally, LEAD provides participants with immediate case management services, and access to additional resources not available through existing public programs.

Who is eligible for diversion into LEAD?

Individuals who are arrested for eligible offenses within specified boundaries for Belltown or Skyway may be diverted into LEAD. Eligible offenses include low-level drug offenses, and engaging in prostitution. Individuals who have certain violent offenses in their criminal history are ineligible for diversion.

Who designed LEAD?

LEAD is the result of an unusual collaboration among diverse stakeholders. Collaborators include the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, the Seattle Police Department, the King County Sheriff’s Office, the King County Executive, the Mayor’s Office, The Washington State Department of Corrections, The Defender Association, the ACLU of Washington, and community members. The collaboration of these stakeholders was motivated by a shared dissatisfaction with the outcomes and costs of traditional drug law enforcement.

Who runs LEAD?

As noted, LEAD is the result of a collaboration among a number of stakeholders. All stakeholders are represented on LEAD’s Policy Coordinating Group, and the group makes decisions by consensus via a memorandum of understanding. LEAD is entirely voluntary, and any stakeholder may choose to withdraw from LEAD at any time.

Who will provide services to LEAD participants?

LEAD stakeholders have contracted with Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS) to provide services to LEAD participants. ETS has provided addiction treatment services in Washington for over 30 years, and has been actively involved in federally-funded research projects. ETS’ REACH Program has been a key provider in the delivery of street outreach services to chronically homeless and chemically addicted adults in Seattle for 15 years. ETS will follow harm reduction principles and will attempt to provide immediate access to services.

How will we know if LEAD works?

All LEAD stakeholders are committed to evaluating the program rigorously. The evaluation will consider, among other factors, whether LEAD has resulted in reductions in drug use and recidivism, whether LEAD is more cost-effective than traditional criminal justice processing, and whether LEAD has had a positive impact on a community’s quality of life.

How much will LEAD cost the City of Seattle and King County?

Nothing. LEAD stakeholders obtained funding from private foundations to implement the program. Its funders include the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Vital Projects Fund, RiverStyx Foundation, Massena Foundation, and the Social Justice Fund Northwest.

Do community members support LEAD?

Community members strongly support LEAD. LEAD will be piloted first in Belltown, and then in Skyway (in partnership with the King County Sheriff’s Office). Members of both communities have participated in the program’s design, and will continue to provide feedback about the program. For example, the LEAD Community Advisory Board in Belltown includes representatives from the Belltown Community Council, Belltown Business Association, Downtown Seattle Association/Metropolitan Improvement District, Recovery Café, YWCA, Plymouth Housing Group, and Millionair Club Charity. The LEAD Community Advisory Board in Skyway includes representatives from Skyway United Methodist Church, Westhill Community Council, and Skyway Solutions.

For how long will LEAD be implemented?

LEAD formally began on October 1, 2011. The program is anticipated to run for two years before an evaluation is begun, and to continue with foundation funding for an additional two years while the evaluation is conducted and analyzed. If LEAD is found to be effective, an ongoing source of funding will be sought.

Have programs like LEAD been implemented elsewhere?

LEAD was inspired by “arrest-referral” programs in the United Kingdom. Those programs have recently been implemented in virtually every police department in the United Kingdom because pilot projects proved to be so effective.

Policy Coordinating Group
LEAD is governed by a Policy Coordinating Group. The group makes decisions by consensus via a memorandum of understanding. LEAD is entirely voluntary, and any stakeholder may choose to withdraw from LEAD at any time. The members include:

Seattle Office of the Mayor
King County Executive Office
Seattle City Council
King County Council
Seattle City Attorney’s Office
King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Seattle Police Department
King County Sheriff’s Office
Washington Department of Corrections
Belltown LEAD Community Advisory Board
Skyway LEAD Community Advisory Board
The Defender Association, Racial Disparity Project
ACLU of Washington, Drug Policy Project

Funders
LEAD is currently operating as a pilot program and is being funded by private foundations. It is hoped that LEAD will eventually find permanent funding from public sources. The cost-effectiveness of the program will be studied in detail as part of the evaluation for LEAD.

Current funders include:

Ford Foundation
Open Society Foundations
Vital Projects Fund
RiverStyx Foundation
Massena Foundation
The Social Justice Fund Northwest

Read more about LEAD

Mike O'Brien, seattle city council

Councilmember Mike O’Brien: Road to Housing

Road to Housing

Road to HousingThe Road to Housing program (R2H) began in Seattle as the Safe Parking Pilot Program in 2012 under the leadership of City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. Over the last two and a half years, the pilot has demonstrated an effective public-private partnership between the City and faith-based organizations for helping people living in their vehicles get back into housing. In this partnership, faith-based organizations provide safe places to park, access to a bathroom for participants in the program, and other supports that vary by site such as a regular community meal, microwave, clothing drives, and opportunities to connect with the congregational community. Compass Housing Alliance provides case management, support, and outreach to vehicular residents and potential host organizations.

Goals
The two primary goals of the Road to Housing program areto assist homeless people living in their vehicles to get back into housing as soon as possible, and to reduce neighborhood tensions in communities where vehicular residents tend to congregate

In Seattle and King County, people in their vehicles make up about one-third of the unsheltered population. Faith-based organizations in other parts of the region have already started hosting vehicular residents on their own, so there are opportunities to work with suburban cities and the County on a region-wide approach.

Outcomes
In 2013, the Road to Housing program served 52 vehicular residents, helping 34 households move into a more stable living environment, such as motel vouchers, and transitional or permanent housing. So far in 2014 (January – June), the Road to Housing program has worked with 91 households through case management services, and outreach services has contacted 173 unique households. Program staff work to build relationships with vehicular residents around Seattle, and provide assistance and support for needs identified by individual clients.

Challenges
In 2014, the Seattle City Council added additional funding to expand the Road to Housing program from a pilot to a citywide program, but more needs to be done to serve this growing population. Expanding the program means we need more program parking spaces, more host organizations and a faster placement into improved housing options for participants in the program. Expansion also means we will be working with other cities around King County, to provide similar supports to vehicular residents in those communities.

Opportunities to help
There are many ways you can help support this program, and the biggest way is to talk to your congregation about becoming a host site for Road to Housing participants. Program sites usually host between 3-5 vehicles at a time, which can be cars and/or RVs. Currently, there is a high need for safe places to park RVs, with few options available. Your faith-based organization is in a unique position to participate as a R2H program host site, helping individuals & families who are currently living in a vehicle to access a safe place to park, supportive services, and work to transition out of homelessness and into stable housing

Worried about cost?
There is funding available through the City of Seattle to help faith-based organizations make capital improvements to become a program host site.

For more information
If you are interested in learning more about Seattle’s Road to Housing program or learning more about becoming a program host site, contact Wayne Wilson with Compass Housing Alliance, at wwilson@compasshousingalliance.org.

If you are currently living in your vehicle and are interested in accessing the program, please call the Road to Housing program intake line at (206) 474-1650.

Visit Councilmember Mike O’Brien website