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Mayor Durkan Launches “Affordable Seattle” to Help Residents Easily Determine If They Qualify for City of Seattle Discount Programs 

In Less Than Five Minutes, Residents, Family Members and Service Providers Can Determine If They Qualify for City Benefit Programs Like Discounts on Utility Payments and Free College Tuition through the Seattle Promise Program

“Affordable Seattle” Developed in Partnership with Expedia Group As First-Year Project of the Mayor’s Innovation Advisory Council

SEATTLE (November 21, 2019) –  Mayor Jenny A. Durkan launched today Affordable Seattle, a new tool to help residents to easily and quickly identify which City-provided benefit programs they qualify for. Affordable Seattle makes it easier for residents to sign up for benefits ranging from discounts on their utility payments to two years of free college through the Mayor’s Seattle Promise College Tuition Program.

Instead of browsing through over 100 programs available at the City, County or State level on the City of Seattle website, Affordable Seattle allows residents to determine what programs they may qualify for in less than five minutes by entering their household size, income, and zip code. It also makes it easier for residents to find more information and sign up for programs for which they are eligible. 

The new Affordable Seattle is among the first the Mayor’s Innovation Advisory Council (IAC) projects to be delivered, and was developed in partnership with the City of Seattle Innovation & Performance team and IAC member Expedia Group.

“As part of my very first Executive Order as Mayor of Seattle, I challenged our City of Seattle team to make it easier for residents to find programs that would help make Seattle more affordable. In 2018, we brought all of our benefit programs together in one place, and now we are making it even easier for residents to find out what programs their household will qualify for,” said Mayor Durkan. “This would not have been possible without the incredible expertise and dedication of City staff and Expedia Group volunteers. It shows what is possible when we work together to solve the challenges facing our region.”

This work is part of an ongoing Citywide effort to coordinate and verify eligibility requirements and streamline enrollment for all City of Seattle affordability and benefit programs. Affordable Seattle does not store any personal information, and no information will be recorded or shared for any purpose.

“As a new corporate citizen of Seattle, Expedia Group believes strongly in being a great neighbor. That includes lending our expertise and resources to help the City of Seattle find innovative solutions to some of their most pressing issues,” said Mark Okerstrom, President and CEO, Expedia Group. “I’m proud of the Expedia Group team who worked hand-in-hand with the City to bring Affordable Seattle online so that residents have easier access to valuable City programs.”

In 2020, the Innovation Advisory Council will continue its work expanding the scope of the Mayor’s Affordability Portal and seek to cut down on the time and steps required to sign up for programs. The next stage of this project aims to develop a verification tool that enables City of Seattle program staff to verify eligibility of residents who have already submitted information to another City of Seattle program. Currently, residents submit information such as pay stubs to verify eligibility for each specific benefit. 

Established by Mayor Durkan via executive order in August 2018, the Innovation Advisory Council collaborates with City of Seattle to use data and technology to solve Seattle’s most urgent challenges in areas such as homelessness, affordability, mobility, and delivery of basic services. Members represent corporate, academic and nonprofit sectors from diverse organizations who match with projects based on expertise and interest. Projects type include but are not limited to the development of data analytics, data models, dashboards, and web applications.

Following the Mayor’s creation of the IAC, the Mayor’s Office worked closely with department directors to identify opportunities to partner with IAC members. Each project had to identify a City of Seattle project manager and submit a timeline and scope to be considered. In October 2019, nearly 60 people from City of Seattle departments including the Office of Housing, Human Services Department, the Office of Emergency Management, and more met with the IAC for a half day at Tableau to match projects. With facilitation from Artefact, IAC members and City departments created seven project teams based on the scope of each project and the skills of IAC members.

Year one projects include:

As of November 2019, IAC partners have concluded work on 2019 projects. 2020 projects are currently being identified and will begin work in Q1 2020.