Dear Mayor Harrell,
I’m writing to congratulate you on becoming the first Asian American mayor of the city of Seattle! We, at Helping Link, are eager to work with your administration on issues that face Little Saigon-CID.
First off, I want to thank you for following up on your pledge to address the crime and related issues in the 12th and Jackson Street area. You have no idea how uplifting it feels to see the streets free of open petty crime, drug use, and litter. The presence of the police mobile unit makes the local residents and business owners feel so much safer. Two weeks out and things still look good on the streets. I also appreciated Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell and Deputy Mayor Kendee Yamaguchi’s attendance at the Feb. 16 meeting of the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition.
That leads me to ask on behalf of Helping Link staff, youth, parents and elders “ What is your long-term plan for our community of Little Saigon-CID in terms of sustaining the current level of sanitation and crime prevention to ensure that things don’t ever return to the state they were in over the past three years?”
Second, there is one huge issue that looms for our community: gentrification. We at Helping Link have been given notice that the building we occupy will be torn down very soon and redeveloped as a market rate apartment complex. As far as I know, there are no affordable units included in the plan, much less affordable office space for a non-profit like Helping Link.
Helping Link has served the Vietnamese youth, parents and elders for 28 years founded in 1993, located in Little Saigon-CID, is devoted to empowering Vietnamese Americans’ social adjustment, family stability, and self-sufficiency while nurturing community service and young professional leaders. English language proficiency and technology skills are basic requirements in today’s world. We work to empower our clients with these tools as well as helping them fulfill their civic responsibilities. Helping Link is agile and flexes to meet the needs of our community. However, we are a small nonprofit and gentrification will ultimately displace us out of Little Saigon-CID.
This puts us at risk of closing as we depend on long-standing partners in the area such as working professional & local universities.
This is a race and social justice issue for us.
What do you plan to do for Helping Link, other non-profit organizations, small businesses, and residents who are being priced out, displaced, of the Little Saigon neighborhood due to gentrification?
Again, congratulations and much gratitude for taking back the streets for our vulnerable populations. We hope to hear from you and/or your staff within two weeks.
Hope and solidarity,
Executive Director, Helping Link