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Seattle City Council approves 2024 budget with money for housing, homelessness, and mental health

caption: The sign at Seattle City Hall.
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The sign at Seattle City Hall.

The Seattle City Council approved the city's 2024 budget Tuesday, including more money for homelessness services, housing, and mental health support at Seattle Public Schools.

The plan comes after weeks of tweaking Mayor Bruce Harrell's $7.8 billion budget proposal, which largely followed the the biennial plan originally passed last fall.

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said the package greatly increases the city's investment in affordable housing.

"This biennial budget yields a $600 million investment into affordable housing," she said. "Housing that's not just affordable rental units, but two-, three-, and four-bedroom units and also first-time homeownership opportunities."

In addition to money for housing, the final package includes:

  • About $1.5 million for a controversial gunshot detection program. Some critics have said the program is unreliable and could lead to over-policing in some communities.
  • $20 million for mental health supports for Seattle Public School students, coming from a small increase in the payroll tax on large companies.
  • $300,000 for a pilot private substance use treatment for people who are homeless or dealing with unstable housing.

This is the final budget process for six of nine Council members, who either lost their reelection bids or decided not to run again. That means it will be up to the newly shaped — and decidedly more centrist — Council to figure out how to make up for a more than $200 million revenue shortfall during next year's budget process.

District 3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who did not run for reelection, was the sole "no" vote. Sawant has voted "no" on every budget during her three terms on the Council. She celebrated the win for student mental health, but said the overall package didn't go far enough for working people.

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