Somali Community Cultural Innovation Hub

Representative Adam Smith submitted the following Community Project Funding request for the Somali Health Board.

$4 million was successfully included in the House Committee on Appropriations Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 appropriations bill.

Each Representative may request funding for up to 15 projects in their community for fiscal year 2023. This does not guarantee the projects will be funded.

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" The Somali Health Board, an organization consisting of health professionals with ambitious goals of addressing and eliminating health disparities within immigrant and refugee communities in King County, we're extremely grateful to get Representative Adam Smith's support in ensuring we stop displacement and gentrification within our community. This project, in partnership with the Somali Community of Seattle will create a physical cultural anchor and a hub where the Somali community can gather, learn, play, and live." - Ahmed Ali, PharmD, Executive Director, Somali Health Board (SHB)

“Members of the Somali community in Rainier Valley face multiple barriers to access services and are experiencing severe gentrification and displacement. The Somali Community Cultural Innovation Hub will help reduce these barriers by creating an anchor for community members and expand access to services to empower individuals and families, such as health care, housing, early learning and child care, and senior services,” said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash). “The strength of our district is our diversity. The requested funding will enable the Somali Health Board and its partner organizations to provide vital programs and services that will uplift the valuable Somali community and help them continue to thrive.”

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The Somali Health Board (SHB), Somali Community Services (SCS) and Al-Noor Center of Washington (ACW) plan to purchase property to build an interconnected community hub led by and for the Somali community, the Somali Community Cultural Innovation Hub. This space will serve as a multigenerational health hub, senior housing community, cultural anchor, early learning and child care space, and community center for Somalis in the face of gentrification and displacement. These properties are also already home to many Somali businesses and establishing this hub will help prevent potential future displacement.
 
The Somali Cultural Innovation Hub will significantly increase access to services for low-income people throughout Southeast Seattle and be co-located near the future Graham light rail station. Somali newcomers struggle to find adequate housing, overcome trauma and loss, adjust to a vastly different culture, and learn English. They often live in poverty upon arrival and face the compounding systemic barriers of racism and islamophobia. This project responds directly to the needs of the community and is being led by trusted community-based organizations.

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