The money is coming late in the COVID-19 crisis but Seattle Public Utilities is moving forward with a funding opportunity to power community “mutual aid” efforts.
SPU is describing the program as “a one-time funding opportunity” for community groups or projects “that make hygiene resources more accessible to the public, reduce illegal dumping and litter, and avoid the wasting of food and other materials.”
- Innovation Area 1: Waste prevention solutions focused on food and other materials. Examples include sharing, reusing repairing, and repurposing.
- Innovation Area 2: Hand hygiene and water access solutions, which may include options for accessing safe drinking water, for individuals experiencing homelessness.
SPU’s program is making $150,000 available to be split across selected projects. The department said it expects to select three recipients for the program. Applications are due on Friday, May 7.
During the pandemic, volunteer and activists say mutual aid efforts around the city have been vital for providing food and resources to those living unsheltered or under sheltered. in some parks like Cal Anderson, advocates have pushed for making a space for community-run mutual aid resources part of the facilities available in the public spaces. Cal Anderson Park Alliance community discussions that began in the wake of CHOP have continued with groups and advocates working to take on new projects around the park. But there are still no official plans for increased services and outreach, or resources like phone charging stations, rain shelters for mutual aid providers that some have advocated for.
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