SEATTLE (December 31, 2020) - 2020 presented unprecedented challenges for cities across the world. While many families faced grief and loss, we saw the resiliency, compassion, and determination of our community, neighbors, friends, essential workers, and first responders to respond to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and economic crisis.
As we weather the crises of 2020, the City of Seattle has made new and significant investments to help our residents, businesses, and city emerge stronger, more just, and equitable from these crises. Because of the commitments of Seattle residents, our City now has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 cases of any major city. In addition to following public health guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the City has also created a number of programs [www.seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19] to respond to the virus like grocery vouchers, small business grants, rental assistance, and utility assistance.
Hope is on the horizon with a vaccine. Our first responders, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, health care workers, and workers and residents of long-term care facilities are among the first vaccinated against COVID-19. Early next year, I will announce the City's plan to ensure that our residents and workers [are] vaccinated as the doses of vaccine increases. As vaccines are more widely distributed, we will focus on reopening and our economic recovery, especially downtown.
Beyond our pandemic response, there are many accomplishments to be proud of. In 2020, we began to reimagine community safety, with the expansion alternatives to policing like Health One program [https://durkan.seattle.gov/2020/02/mayor-durkan-announces-expansion-of-successful-health-one-pilot-additional-measures-to-promote-public-safety/] and $100 million of new investments in racial equity. This year, the City, Seattle Colleges, and Seattle Public Schools celebrated the largest enrollment in Seattle Promise in the program's history
In 2020, we were civically engaged and elected a new president who will work with Seattle - not against all our shared values. In 2020, we also announced our largest investment in affordable homes to date, including 600 new units of permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, which will open in 2021. The City has now invested $1.7 billion in housing leveraging $400 million of City funds to build 6,200 affordable homes. In 2020, we also passed a budget that expands our funding [for] homelessness, so we can bring more individuals off the street and into safer spaces. I also announced that the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is moving forward to continue repairs to the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge - another unexpected challenge of 2020
2020 has been hard. Yet, in 2021 I'll be hopeful. Cities like Seattle will build back stronger, better, and more equitable. We still have some tough months ahead, but we have the grit and determination to not just get through them but to create a better future for the next generations.
May the new year bring us all peace, joy, and happiness. Goodbye 2020 and hello 2021.
As always, please continue to write me at Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we're doing for the people of Seattle on my blog
Stay safe and healthy.
Courtesy of Mayor Jenny Durkan