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Seattle mayor signs $7 billion 2022 budget focused on homelessness, public safety

The budget invests nearly $200 million in new affordable housing.

SEATTLE — Just over a week after the city council approved its 2022 budget proposal, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed it into law Thursday.

The $7.1 billion budget proposal invests $194 million in affordable housing, including $165 million for the “creation of new, affordable rental housing,” according to a release.

Additionally, the budget gives $15.4 million to be administered by the new Regional Homelessness Authority that will go towards homelessness services. Plus, almost $10 million in the budget is geared toward cleaning up litter and garbage across the city.

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Perhaps most controversially, the budget made no cuts to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) hiring plan, which looks to bring on 125 new officers in 2022.

Following widespread unrest in 2020 and calls to defund SPD, the budget for the diminished department that saw historic attrition over the last year came under heightened scrutiny with calls for more alternative public safety options.

A proposal from Council President Lorena Gonzalez, who lost her bid for mayor, attempted to cut more than 100 vacant positions from SPD’s budget in the final days of negotiations. The plan would’ve saved $19 million.

The proposal was met with major backlash and failed in the council by a 5-4 vote.

However, the budget also includes $2.5 million to expand mobile mental and behavioral health crisis services and another $10.4 million for organizations working on community-led solutions to violence and increased safety in minority communities.

Interim SPD Chief Adrian Diaz, who joined Durkan for the budget signing, says the department needs 1,400 officers to meet the public safety needs of Seattle.

The budget gives SPD the ability to have an average of 1,230 officers throughout 2022.

As of November, SPD has just over 1,000 sworn officers.

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