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Seattle earmarks $1M for ’emergency’ homelessness services as Sawant holds ‘Tax Amazon’ town hall

With Seattle homelessness advocates continuing to debate short-term and immediate services vs. more permanent housing, the city’s Human Services Department has earmarked $1 million in bridge funding to providers of emergency shelter, hygiene services in the city.

Meanwhile, District 3 representative Kshama Sawant will hold a Tax Amazon Town Hall Tuesday night at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute to raise support for the proposed $75-million Seattle “employment tax” on businesses that is hoped will fund housing and homelessness services in Seattle.

The $1 million in “augmented” funding for Compass, LIHI – Urban Rest Stop, SHARE/WHEEL shelters, and the Seattle Indian Center comes from the city council’s decision to sell a $11 million South Lake Union property and use the proceeds, in part, to address the city’s homelessness and affordability crisis.

Despite the $1 million infusion, the direction at City Hall has been away from emergency services and an emphasis on programs that transition more people to so-called permanent housing.

The $1 million for the four service providers will be discussed by the City Council Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday night, the Sawant town hall is a call for support for the proposed “head tax” on Seattle businesses:

Join Councilmember Kshama Sawant and the Affordable Housing Alliance for a town hall to demand the City Council pass a $150 million Employee Hours Tax (EHT) on Seattle’s biggest businesses to fund affordable housing and homeless services. As Trump and the Republicans give a $1.3 trillion tax cut windfall for big business, Seattle’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis rages on. Rents and housing prices are still out of control and a record number of people are forced to live – and die – on the streets. Seattle needs an estimated 20,000 additional affordable housing units over the next decade to begin addressing the crisis. A $150 million EHT would allow the city to build 750 affordable housing units per year and add $30 million for homeless services. Come to the affordable housing town hall and join the fight to tax big business to build affordable housing and fund homeless services!

Earlier this month, CHS reported on a contingent of small business owners — including several on Capitol Hill and the Central District — that has criticized how the proposal treats small businesses in the proposal.

Seattle Progressive Revenue Task Force finalized its set of recommendations earlier this month for a so-called “head tax” that could raise $75 million a year to help create housing and provide homelessness services. The final recommendations pushed the amount the city should raise to an estimated $150 million — $75 million of which would come from a per-employee tax. A Seattle Housing Gap meeting in February was centered around how best to put the revenue from the tax to use.


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11 thoughts on “Seattle earmarks $1M for ’emergency’ homelessness services as Sawant holds ‘Tax Amazon’ town hall

  1. Two experts hired by the city several years ago came to the same conclusion, we’re spending enough money on homelessness, just not just spending it where it will do the most good. Ms. Sawant is very quick to call anyone in the mayor’s office or council that disagrees with her, a shill for business interests. The city is already spending about $60 million a year, and the county another $100 or $200 million. If it was working, we could see the results. Certainly spending three times more will suddenly solve the problem. Nope.

  2. Is this how the Council presses the reset button with Amazon and demonstrates a new commitment to listen and solve problems cooperatively? I thought the Council members sent them such a nice letter…

  3. It’s so frustrating when you don’t support this tax, but Savant is your Council Rep. It’s a forgone conclusion that no matter what the issue, her response is “Tax the Rich!”. Before they even “studied” (ha) the issue, with little serious big business involvement, her solution was already “Tax Amazon!” A hundred people could call her office every day for a week to voice their disapproval, and it wouldn’t even make her slow down and think about it for 2 minutes. What are we supposed to do?

  4. We’ve already taxed the little guy doing an Airbnb to survive @ 15.6% to pay for the homeless. Perhaps if we tax Amazon we can role back that nice little money grab.

    Why don’t we just go ahead and tax all rental property as well – but wait, that might put rents up.

  5. If you can’t see that a multi-billion dollar company like Amazon isn’t paying enough in tax to mitigate all the shit they are forcing upon our city then you are fucking clueless. Seriously, how many more billions does Jeff Bezos need? Fuck Amazon, make them pay their fair share. Go Sawant!

    • What you don’t see, Tuck, is that Amazon has options. They actually *make* nothing here. All they do is rent office space. They could easily decamp for the Eastside, Tacoma, or out of state. Boeing took jobs to SC to escape the unions, Microsoft licenses much of their software through a shell corp in Reno to escape some WA taxes. What leverage do you think Seattle has that many other cities can’t and wouldn’t offer them? If you don’t think they wouldn’t, think again. If you can’t see that you’re the clueless one.

    • That is so like a Sawant supporter. As soon as they don’t like your opinion on an issue they attack you personally. You are a corporate crony, a fascist, a racist, or “fucking clueless.” All attenpts to discredit the person without addressing the issue raised. Sounds a lot like the tactics of Trump, with whom Sawant has much in common.

  6. Let’s be real, it was not a task force. It was a group of people who support the head tax. They were woefully inadequate to be considered capable of legitimately studying and proposing a course of actions.