(The Center Square) – Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has announced a new tool that connects residents to city discount programs with estimated savings of up to $23,000 a year.
CiviForm is an internet tool that is designed to make it more convenient for residents to apply to Seattle’s benefit and discount programs. The tool was developed by the city’s Innovation and Performance team and Seattle Information Technology Department with support from Google Fellows.
Google Fellows is a program through the company’s philanthropic arm that provides technical expertise to help civic entities solve technical challenges. The City of Seattle said it is the custodian of all data and data is not shared with Google.
In CiviForm’s pilot year, community partners in Seattle saw time for residents to apply to the city’s discount programs reduced from an average of 30 minutes to five minutes, according to the City of Seattle. The total available savings given to qualified households through programs that use CiviForm is up to $23,000 per year.
“CiviForm is a game changer for our communities – this exciting initiative and new technology is already making a meaningful difference supporting Seattle residents, helping them save time, save money, and access the resources and programs they need,” Harrell said in a statement.
Seattle is expected to continue to add more benefits to CiviForm with a goal of including over 20 assistance programs by the end of 2024.
As of this publication, there are four programs the City of Seattle offers via CiviForm:
Seattle Parks and Recreation Scholarship Program, which can give residents savings of 50-90% off recreation programs ranging from aquatics to childcare. Seattle Preschool Program, in which residents can get access to free or discounted preschool for children ages three and four. Gold Card, which gives residents who are 60 and older savings on retail, services, art, entertainment and tourism via the Gold Card.FLASH Care, which allows residents ages 18-59 with qualifying disabilities savings on retail, services, art, entertainment and tourism with the FLASH Card.
Harrell announced the CiviForm tool alongside a new executive order directing all Seattle city departments with resident benefit and discount programs to begin working with the Affordable Seattle team to develop a timeline to implement CiviForm.