February 18, 2021 Membership Meeting

Click here to Register for our Next Membership Meeting on Thursday, March 18 at 9am

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Agenda
9am Welcome
9:10 Chante Stubbs, preview of “Real Talk about COVID-19 vaccines” with frontline staff
9:15 Shaun Glaze, Black Brilliance Research, Participatory Budgeting
9:45 Jacob Kuykendall, Civil Survival, Reentry Legal Aid Project
9:55 Coalition Legislative Advocacy Update, week 6 advocacy, Public Safety bills
10:15 Member Updates
10:25 Coalition Staff Updates
10:30 Close

Healthcare for the Homeless Network “Real Talk” Series

Our meeting started with brief remarks from Chante Stubbs, who described a planned series of “real talk about COVID19 vaccines” virtual events for front line service staff, emphasizing the needs of BIPOC service providers. The purpose of these conversations is to create a space for informal dialogue and discussion about how to best connect COVID19 vaccines to people without homes and staff who work in homeless services and housing. Anyone working directly with people experiencing homelessness in encouraged to join. Details to come.

Black Brilliance Research Project

In the summer of 2020, a coalition of black led organizations wrote the 2020 Blueprint for Police Divestment and Community Reinvestment. This plan detailed a flexible framework for how to invest money to create thriving communities. One of the main features was the creation of a Black-led collaborative research program to conduct a rigorous analysis of what exactly creates true community safety and true community health for all residents in Seattle and the surrounding areas. This research is a part of that plan, community members have been meeting to do this research. Read more about this effort here.

The next stage in this project will consist of brining community members together to better understand the collective needs of our region. BBRP is offering both paid and unpaid opportunities to interested community members and wants your help in circulating this as far and wide as possible. Click Here to Complete the Survey. If you are interested in signing up for bi-monthly updates on this and related projects, you can do so here.

What is participatory budgeting?

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a cycle of engagement that is integrated into a regular budgeting process. A typical PB process follows these steps and will be adjusted to fit the community’s needs.

1.      DESIGN THE PROCESS. A steering committee that represents the community creates the rules and engagement plan, with approvals from the community. Community resources prepare community for PB, including expanding internet access

2. BRAINSTORM IDEAS. Through meetings and online tools, communities share and discuss ideas for projects.

3.      DEVELOP PROPOSALS. Volunteer “budget delegates” develop the ideas into feasible proposals that reflect Black priorities as identified in the Black Brilliance Research Project.

4.      VOTE. Residents vote on the proposals that most serve the community’s needs.

5.      FUND PROJECTS. The City, County etc. funds and supports implementation of winning proposals. Evaluate project success and lessons learned for rooting this process in equity.

State Legislative Advocacy

We are roughly 1/3 of the way through the State Legislative Session, and several key bills related to the intersecting crises of COVID-19, homelessness, and systemic racism need our support.

Police Accountability Bills: Maya Manus from the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle presented on a suite of police accountability bills and how members can support them. You can read the full list of proposed legislation here. Maya highlighted two bills that need your support to become law this legislative session.

  • SB 5051 would expand the conduct for which a police officer or corrections officer’s certification may be revoked, Click here to send your lawmaker a message in support of this legislation.
  • HB 1202 would eliminate qualified immunity for police officers, which would make it easier for police departments and officers to pay for wrongfully harming people and have an incentive to prevent bad conduct in the future. Click here to send a message of support to your lawmakers.

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle has created an email sign up to help you track these and other important pieces of legislation this session. Click here to sign up for alerts, and if you want to learn more about statewide efforts around police accountability and reform check out the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability.

Coalition on Homelessness Legislative Updates and Action Alert: Use this link to send a message to your lawmakers in support of the three bills listed below:

  • HB 1441Sponsored by Representative Melanie Morgan, this bill will help reduce future barriers to housing for renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring landlords cannot discriminate against prospective tenants for nonpayment of rent or eviction during this public health emergency.  
  • HB 1465: Sponsored by Representative Tina Orwall, this bill will help will make changes to Washington’s estate tax and establish the Equity in Housing Fund. The Equity in Housing Fund would help finance behavioral health and homelessness services for those without homes, as well as rental assistance and foreclosure prevention to help prevent a rise in homelessness.
  • SB 5160Sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer, this bill will help prevent evictions and homelessness by requiring landlords to establish payment plans for unpaid rent with tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, help both landlords and tenants access rental assistance programs, and provide legal representation for people who face eviction.

Speak Up Pop Up Workshop Series: Want to gain and practice advocacy skills and help build a strong community of housing justice advocates? Join us at our Speak Up Pop Ups! These drop-in workshops will occur every Tuesday from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. throughout the legislative session and are open to people of all levels of interest and experience with legislative advocacy. You do not have to attend all the workshops, but we invite participants to attend multiple session to help you learn and practice advocacy skills, build a community of housing justice advocates, and ensure sustained momentum throughout the legislative session. Click here to register.

Civil Survival’s Reentry Legal Aid Project

Civil Survival has recently launched their first legal aid program, The Reentry Legal Aid Project, which is aimed at providing pro bono legal services across the State of Washington to help people with post-conviction issues. As these legal aid clinics are opened county by county, community members will be able to seek guidance on specific post-conviction matters, such as how to manage and pay down their Legal Financial Obligations. Legal financial obligations, or LFOs, are the fines, fees, costs, and restitution imposed by the court on top of a criminal sentence. Nearly every person convicted in a Washington court receives a bill for LFOs at sentencing. The average amount of LFOs imposed in a felony case is $2,540. LFOs can include the cost of a public defender and a flat charge for each day spent in jail. Learn more about Legal Financial Obligations here.

The Reentry Legal Aid Project can also aid in vacating past convictions, which can act as a barrier to employment and housing opportunities due to the prevalence of backgrounds screenings in rental and employment applications. Civil Survival is compiling a list of volunteer attorneys across the state to lend a hand. If you or someone you work with might benefits from these services, please complete this online form so your case can be reviewed.

In addition to civil legal clinics and statewide advocacy efforts, @Civil Survival also hosts a running series of community webinars, including a COVID-19 Information Dissemination Event coming up this Wednesday, February 24th at 4:30pm. This webinar will cover how to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure, what to do if a person is directly or indirectly exposed to COVID-19 and how best to care for them, and how to get a free at-home COVID 19 test. To register, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KDrO7AIxSOW4t_-59wFcbQ

Coalition Member Updates

New WHEEL Shelter at First Pres: Before COVID, the WHEEL shelter at Trinity hosted at least 60 women most nights. Now they are open 24/7, but at half capacity due to COVID restrictions. WHEEL pushed hard for more shelter space, writing letters, calling in to City Council meetings and standing with community members at the Women in Black vigils. Thanks to these organizing efforts, WHEEL has secured a large shelter space for up to 60 women at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Seattle that is open 24 hours.

The First Pres shelter opened last Friday night and stayed open round the clock through the duration of the snow spell. First Pres is a loving, low-barrier shelter open to any woman, in any condition, at any time of night. Shelter entry is at 715 Spring St. There is no entry prerequisite. The WHEEL office number is (206) 956-0334. First Pres is now operating between the hours of 8pm to 8am until they can staff up enough to run both shelters 24/7. They are staffing up as quickly as possible, so please refer applicants! Contact wheelorg@yahoo.com

The Coalition is honored the celebrate the addition of 60 shelter beds, an achievement made possible thanks to dedicated organizing efforts led by WHEEL members. To learn more, visit http://www.wheelforwomen.org/

New Youthcare South Seattle Shelter: After two years of rotating between multiple temporary locations, Youthcare’s South Seattle shelter has finally found a permanent home at 9416 Rainier Ave S. This space has limited openings and is available to clients between the ages of 18 to 24 years of age (clients will be exited to adult shelter services on their 25th birthday). 20 total beds available in a 24-hour shelter model, clients may stay on-site during meal rotations and daily disinfections that are conducted to meet public health safety guidelines. No ID or prior HMIS enrollment required for entry, criminal background and credit checks are not conducted, cannot accept anyone who is a level two or higher registered sex offender.

Both daytime day center and overnight shelter services are available. A weekly medical pop-up clinic provided by Kaiser Permanente and weekly behavioral health services provided by Ryther are available to clients, along with housing navigation and employment assistance. Clients are encouraged but not required to access case management services, which can include GED counseling and help securing identification. For more information or to request an intake, call 206-331-2363 any time or email info@youthcare.org.

Allen Family Center Case Management Services: The Allen Family Center is a new facility offering daytime case management services to families and young adults in South Seattle. Located at 3190 S Hanford St, Seattle WA 98144 in the Mt Baker neighborhood, this project offers permanent supportive housing to families on-site in addition to their drop-in day center. The day center is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm, and can be used by community members that are either families with children or young adults under the age of 25.

On-site housing is managed by Mercy housing. Housing navigation assistance is available to day center patrons is thanks to a collaboration with Mary’s Place staff. Childcare Resources has partnered to offer childcare payment assistance to qualified families, and the Refugee Women’s Alliance has partnered to offer culturally appropriate health and employment assistance to ESL communities. No resident or ID requirements, although clients are asked to complete an intake assessment upon first visiting the facility. For more information please call 206-584-2832 or email Savannah Mable, Family Engagement Specialist at Savannah.mable@mercyhousing.org

Coalition Community Resources Update

Coalition Case Manager Training: Getting Through the Month. Presented in partnership with Hopelink, this training will explore how to track income and public benefits with an eye toward understanding garnishments and deductions, payment options, and how to increase net earnings. We hope you will join us on Wednesday, February 24 from 11am to Noon, Click here to register.

Path with Art Remote Enrichment Opportunities: A Seattle based nonprofit dedicated to healing transformation through art and art therapy. Their mission is to connect with those carrying various form of trauma and harness the power of creative engagement as a bridge to community and a path to stability. Path with Art partnering with the Coalition on Homelessness to bringing remote enrichment opportunities to Coalition member organizations working directly with individuals and families experiencing homelessness in King County. If your program is interested, please complete this survey or email jason@homelessinfo.org.

Pandemic EBT Benefits For the 2020-21 School Year: Pandemic EBT benefits are a food voucher program available to families with children who qualify for free or reduce price meals at the school or daycare they attend. The goal of this program is to offset the cash value of meals lost due to remote learning, valued at $6.82/meal. Households received this funding in the 2019-20 school year as part of the CARES act, and the program has been expanded and renewed for the 2021 school year. P-EBT benefits will be issued on a card that can be spent on non-prepared grocery items like SNAP. This will not impact eligibility for other school-based food programs, it is meant to supplement these resources. The amount offered to each household is based on the number of days the student engages in remote learning. Student who are learning remote five days a week will receive $128/mo., $99/mo. for those learning remote four days a week and so on. These benefits are retroactive to September 2020, a large lump sum will be provided on the initial funding dispersal with additional payments to follow.

Eligibility: Households already enrolled in SNAP, as well as households who are enrolled in free or reduce price school meals. Low-income households may also qualify if they have a child age 0-6 who was enrolled in a daycare program that has been impacted due to COVID-19. P-EBT eligible families will receive a notice in the mail the first week of March containing a P-EBT card with the first round of funding loaded. If you are working with a family and you are concerned about them receiving this benefit, the best thing you can do is contact the school they are enrolled in and confirm the primary address they have on file for the student. If you do not have a good point of contact at the school district your clients live in, the Coalition has compiled a list of all McKinney-Vento Liaisons along with a host of other resources for supporting school age children experiencing homelessness which you can view here.

January 21, 2021 Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Click here to view our COVID-19 vaccine information for homeless service providers.

Click here to see Dr. Yang’s slide deck.

Thank you Dr. Maria Yang, Medical Director at the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), and Jody Rauch, Clinical Quality Lead at Health Care for the Homeless Network, for joining us to discuss what is currently available and known about COVID-19 vaccines.


State Legislative Advocacy

Speak Up Pop Up Workshop Series: Want to gain and practice advocacy skills, help build a strong community of housing justice advocates, and learn enough about our state legislative process to be an effective voice? Join us at our Speak Up Pop Ups! These drop-in workshops will occur every Tuesday from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. throughout the legislative session and are open to people of all levels of interest and experience with legislative advocacy. We firmly believe that everyone can be an effective advocate for themselves and their community; advocacy really just means speaking up!

You do not have to attend all the workshops, but we invite participants to attend multiple session to help you learn and practice advocacy skills, build a community of housing justice advocates, and ensure sustained momentum throughout the legislative session. Click here to register.


Coalition Member Updates

Salvation Army Sodo Single Adult Shelter: A shelter for single adults run by Salvation Army has opened in a new location in SoDo and is accepting referrals from select social service agencies (view referral form here). Three previous shelter locations (City Hall, Fisher Pavilion, King County Admin) have consolidated into this site at 1039 6th Ave S Seattle WA, 98134. Entry is located at the north end of the property at the personnel gate. Turn South on to 6th Avenue from Airport St or Charles St. Security will check you in and arrange for staff to meet you for intake. This location is accessible via the 150, 552 and 590 bus routes as well as the Link Light Rail. Anyone over the age of 18 who needs shelter is eligible, no ID or prior HMIS enrollment is required. Homeless service providers who want to learn more are encouraged to contact program supervisor Troy Thomas at (206) 665-4333 or email Troy.Thomas@usw.salvationarmy.org

FUSION Federal Way Emergency and Transitional Housing: FUSION Federal Way has recently expanded their programming to a 29-bed extended stay emergency shelter program for families with children. Any family with children is eligible to apply (defined as at least one adult over 18 with at least one child under the age of 18 in their care). Located near the FUSION Boutique store (1108 S 322nd Pl, Federal Way WA 98003) this program is run out of a former Econo Lodge motel that has been refurbished and converted to a non-congregate living facility. Families are provided a small fridge and hotplate with a communal kitchen available for food preparation. Case management and housing navigation services are offered to all enrolled clients but participating in on-going case management is not required to remain in the program. FUSION stives to house multi-generational households and offers limited storage capacity but is unable to accommodate pets or large storage requests. To apply, call the King County Family Shelter Intake Line at 206-245-1026 to request an intake.

Sound Generations Hyde Shuttle Extended Service: The Hyde Shuttle is a free shuttle service for adults 55 and older, or adults with disabilities 18 and older. The program has a fleet of 12 passenger shuttle vans that offer rides to social service appointments, grocery shopping, medical appoints and other needs. Unlike the King County Metro Access program, the Hyde Shuttle does not require official paperwork verifying disability status making it more accessible to those in the process of applying for federal and state disability benefit programs. Those in need of transportation are encouraged to call 206-727-6262 and press 1, or use this online form to request a ride. Requests should be made at least one day in advance to guarantee service.

The Hyde Shuttle is expanding into South King County with service in the City of Kent starting February 1 (click here for details). If you work with a social service program in Kent and would like to coordinate rides for the people you serve, please reach out to Mark Smutney at 626-676-0278 or email marks@soundgenerations.org


Coalition Community Resources Update

Coalition Case Manager Training: Tracking Income and Benefits. Presented in partnership with Hopelink, this training will explore how to track income and public benefits with an eye toward understanding garnishments and deductions, payment options, and how to increase net earnings. We will be joined by attorneys from Benefit Law Center to explain the eligibility and review process for SSI / SSDI, and tips for maintaining eligibility while pursuing additional income. We hope you will join us on Wednesday, January 27 from 11am to Noon, Click here to register.

Public Health Overdose Spike Concern: The public health department has recorded a sharp rise in fatal overdoses over the past two weeks. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified 42 suspected or confirmed overdose deaths in two weeks, the highest number of overdoses in a two-week period ever documented in King County. Public Health encourages everyone to be aware of the risks and to share this information throughout our community:

For more information visit: Alert: Spike in fatal overdoses in our community

COVID-19 Vaccine Info for Homeless Service Providers (Last Updated 01/21/2021)


The Coalition has compiled some resources to help answer some frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccines more generally. 

Please review Dr. Maria Yang’s presentation reviewing the effects of Covid-19 on King County and information about currently available Covid-19 vaccines from our January 21, 2021 Membership Meeting.
Dr. Maria Yang works as the medical director for DESC. She has spent most of her career working in community psychiatry settings. She also likes cookies.

Is the vaccine safe and effective? Short answer: Yes, and yes (about 94% effective). 

Watch the video below from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) about how the vaccine works in your body. We recognize that you or others you know may experience vaccine hesitancy, which is driven by the mistrust of public health and medical institutions due to their historical mistreatment of and unethical studies on Black, Indigenous, POC, disabled, and impoverished communities.

Watch and share this video with Public Health staff Hana Tadesse and Dr. Jeff Duchin that debunks common myths about the vaccine, and can help people make their decisions.  

When will I and the people I serve be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? 

We are currently in Phase 1B, tier 1 of vaccine distribution to anyone 65 and older, and all people 50 and older who also live in a multigenerational household. This is in addition to populations eligible during phase 1A including health care workers at high risk for COVID-19 infection, first responders, people who live or work in long-term care facilities, and all other workers in health settings who are at risk of COVID-19. Public health wants you to know that getting vaccinated is not a substitute for mask wearing and social distancing. Stay masked and six feet apart, and if you are concerned you may have been exposed to someone showing symptoms use this link to find a COVID-19 test site in your community.

Use the Washington State Department of Health Phase Finder tool to find out if you are eligible now. Then, take a gander at this visual guide of Washington State’s vaccine phases. 

How are the vaccine phases determined?

The vaccine phase timeline is determined by a prioritization framework set at the national and state levels that takes into consideration risk, equity, and communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. For additional background on vaccine phases click here and here.

You may offer a written comment about Washington’s COVID-19 vaccination allocation and prioritization guidance to DOH here.

December 17, 2020 State Legislative Preview Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Agenda

  • 9:00-9:20             Welcome and Intro to State Legislative Advocacy
  • 9:20-10:05           Legislative Priorities from our Statewide Advocacy Partners
  • 10:05-10:30         Lawmaker Insights with State Senator Patty Kuderer and Representative Nicole Macri
  • 10:30-11:00         Special Musical Guest Reggie Garrett

State Legislative Advocacy Basics

The first step in advocating on the state level is knowing who represents your community in Olympia. Washington state is divided into 49 legislative districts, which elect one senator to the State Senate and two representatives to the State House. You can use this link to look up your legislators: https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/

To look up your state legislative district and state legislators:

  1. Visit app.wa.leg.gov/districtfinder
  2. Enter your home address and click “Find My District”. If you do not have a traditional home address, enter a mailing address, or a cross street, shelter address, or park address. This determines who represents you.
    • Make sure that under “District Type”, “Legislative” is selected. This will show you your legislative district (usually a number) and your Washington state senators and representatives.
  3. Make a note of your legislative district number. If you haven’t already, rename yourself with your legislative district in front of your name!
  4. Make a note of the names of your legislators!
    • Bonus points if you click on your legislators’ names to learn more about them, including what committees they are part of and what bills they’ve sponsored
    • Extra, extra bonus points if you add their contact information to your rolodex!

Participating in Virtual Legislative Advocacy

With the legislature meeting remotely this year, advocacy will happen remotely as well. Opportunities to connect with lawmakers will happen in the communities we live, which means your program or agency can play an important part in raising the voices of those most impacted by homelessness. We want to give some thought to the questions below. Please reach out to either Saleena or Jason to share your thoughts.

  • Is your program or agency planning to engage staff and clients in advocacy in the upcoming session? If so, please tell us what you are preparing to do.
  • Are you interested in bringing advocacy opportunities to guests, clients and residents of your program? If so, what would you need to be successful in this?
  • The Coalition is considering convening regular meetings during session to provide updates to our members and share tools to make advocacy accessible to those in our community. Is this something you or one of your staff would be interested in participating in?

Statewide Advocacy Partner 2021 Priorities and Agendas at a Glance

Statewide Poverty Action NetworkView Meeting Slides Here

Omar Cuevas Vega with Statewide Poverty Action Network shared some of their 2021 legislative priorities, which include strengthening public benefit programs like TANF and HEN and advocating for new sources of progressive revenue. Omar also shared information on the Washington Dental Access Campaign to bring dental therapy to communities in need. Dental therapists are primary oral health care providers that deliver routine preventive and restorative care to those who need it most. Dental therapists are critical to expanding access to dental care where it is most out of reach, providing timely, quality care to rural, low-income communities and communities of color, and to patients who have coverage through Apple Health or are uninsured. 

Dental therapists were recently authorized to work in select tribal communities. Community dental health advocates are pushing to extend this authorization statewide to bring much needed dental care to communities in need. Click here to support the campaign, and use this organizational sign on form to add your organization to the list of supporters. And click here to view a media toolkit you can use to get the word out to your community.

Below are some housing and homelessness related priorities that Poverty Action Network will be focused on.
View full policy agenda here.

  1. Building a Stronger Safety Net
    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – continued investments to TANF and policy changes that restore policies which prioritize equity and the well-being of families and children
      • Protect current investments in the TANF program that help families meet their most basic need;
      • Extend relief measures implemented during COVID, especially through the following economic downturn;
      • Enacting common-sense time limit extensions and easing harsh sanction policies. 
    • Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) and Aged, Blind, Disabled (ABD) – protecting all investments and refusing any cuts to HEN and ABD. Austerity budget cuts harmed adults with disabilities during the great recession, and our state has the opportunity to refuse to make the same mistake during this economic downturn. A state budget shortfall does not have to mean fewer supports for adults with disabilities.  
  2. Progressive Revenue – implement progressive revenue solutions that rebalances our state tax code by:
    • Urging Washington state lawmakers to rebalance our tax code with measures like estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and payroll taxes,
    • Encouraging Washington elected leaders to explore programs like universal basic income, and to use federal COVID relief funds or other state funds for a Recovery Rebate to put cash in the pockets of all Washingtonians.

Funding and expanding the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), which is Washington state’s version of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the federal government’s most

Poverty Action is hosting a virtual lobby day on Martin Luther King Jr Day (Monday, January 18 2021). Click here to register. We encourage those interested to register by Monday, January 4 to receive an advocacy tool box in the mail prior to the event.

Washington Voting Rights Restoration Coalition (WVRRC)

Restore voting rights to thousands of Washington residents

The WVRRC coalition is made up of the ACLU Washington, Civil Survival, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, and many other organizations that seek to advance justice and promote racial equity. This year, the WVRRC is working hard to pass HB 2992 / SB 6228 to restore voting rights to people who have been formerly incarcerated and support their reintegration into our communities.

Please visit the WVRCC website to learn more about how you can support this important piece of legislation. Have you or someone you know had their voting rights taken away? WVRRC wants to hear your stories! Please fill out or share this survey if you or someone you know has been impacted by the justice system.

Washington Low Income Housing AllianceView Meeting Slides Here

View 2021 legislative priorities and advocacy tips here.

John Stovall shared the 2021 legislative priorities for the Housing Alliance, which include extending the statewide eviction moratorium and enacting Good Cause tenant protections. The Housing Alliance is looking to recruit interested community members to join their advocacy team, if interested sign up here. Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Week is coming up on February 8 through February 12. Registration begins on Monday January 4, stay tuned for details.

The Housing Alliance is also gathering stories of Washington residents who have had their housing status impacted by COVID-19. If you or someone you know has a story to share please submit this form.

Lead Agenda Items: 

  • Invest $240 million for the Housing Trust Fund and an additional $10 million from the Capital Budget for preservation of affordable housing (USDA and other properties at risk of loss).
  • Keep people in their homes and prevent an increase in homelessness:
    Pass statewide protections against discriminatory and arbitrary evictions (good cause termination requirements) and prevent evictions based on nonpayment of rent with improved legal protections and rental assistance.
  • Increase state resources to prevent and end homelessness:
    Significantly increase the state’s document recording fee to increase resources to prevent homelessness.
  • Protect against any cuts to affordable housing, homelessness and human services programs by passing significant new progressive revenue.

Support Agenda Issues 

  • Ban discrimination against renters based on a prior criminal record (Housing Justice Act).
  • Foreclosure prevention.
  • Equity and racial justice: support a racial justice and/or immigrant rights ask (if appropriate and asked to do so).
  • Prevent any expansion of the MFTE program without requiring deeper affordability, tenant protections and anti-displacement protections.

November 19, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Meeting Agenda:

9:00 Welcome and Introduction
9:05 Annual Subsidized Pass Program
9:25 Coalition Member Updates
9:35 COVID-19 Update for Service Providers
10:00 City of Seattle and King County Budget Advocacy 
10:20 Coalition Staff Updates
10:25 December Legislative Preview Preview

Thank you to everyone who attended our Thursday, November 19 Membership Meeting. A summary of the resources discussed is listed below and is being added to, please email Jason if you have additional materials you wish to share. We hope to see you next month at our Thursday, December 17 Legislative Preview Meeting. Click here to register.

Agenda Highlights

Subsidized Annual Pass

Sound Transit and King County Metro are launching a program to provide ORCA cards to low income public transit riders. This program, once fully implemented, represents the largest expansion in public transit access locally since the creation of the ORCA LIFT program. The Coalition worked alongside our community partners Transportation Choices Coalition, Seattle Transit Riders Union, Puget Sound Sage, OneAmerica and others for years to make this happen, we are thrilled to see this benefit coming to our community. Click here to learn more.

In response to a 2019-2020 budget request by King County Council, Metro worked to establish an income-based fare program for those who cannot afford the current reduced fare options. To create an equitable implementation plan, Metro collaborated with a stakeholder advisory group, prioritizing the mobility needs of priority populations, including people of color, low-income residents, limited or non-English speaking communities, and immigrants and refugees.

The Subsidized Annual Pass functions like an ORCA LIFT card that can be offered free of charge to qualifying riders. This pass provides pays for 100 percent of the cost to use:

  • King County Metro buses
  • Rapidride Bus Routes
  • Link Light Rail
  • Sounder Commuter Train
  • Seattle Streetcar
  • Seattle Monorail
  • Access Paratransit
  • Via To Transit
  • Sound Transit Express Bus
  • King County Water Taxi

This pass will be available to residents of King, Pierce and Snohomish County who are enrolled in one of the following State or Federal benefit programs:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/State Family Assistance (SFA)
  • Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)
  • Aged, Blind, or Disabled Cash Assistance (ABD)
  • Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Housing & Essential Needs (HEN)

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: This program is currently being administered by three organizations: The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Public Health Seattle – King County, and Catholic Community Services (CCS).  Eligible riders can apply for this pass over the phone or in person through one of these three agencies.

PHONE ENROLLMENT:
  • Call DSHS at 1-877-501-2233, Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.
  • Call the Public Health—Seattle & King County Community Health Access Program (CHAP) Line at 1-800-756-5437, Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm (closed between 12pm and 1pm)
  • Apply through Catholic Community Services by calling 206-960-1582 or by emailing Janet Hammer, CCS LIFT Program Manager at  JanetHa@ccsww.org
IN-PERSON ENROLLMENT LOCATIONS AND HOURS:

This information is subject to change. To review the most up to date enrollment information, please visit this website.

In addition, King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) and King County Metro (Metro) are making available up to $4 million in face value (up to $400,000 in allotment value) for the 2021 Human Services Bus Ticket Program (HSBTP). This RFP process is administered via ZoomGrants, an online tool. RFP is OPEN NOW through 11:59 p.m. on November 25, 2020. Click here to apply 

COVID-19 Update for Direct Service Providers

Thank you to the staff from Public Health Seattle – King County who joined us to review updated resources and best practices for homeless service providers. Click here to view a summary of resources. With cold weather approaching and COVID cases spiking, we want to make sure indoor service programs are equipped to keep their clients warm and safe. Environmental Health Services has published an updated severe weather planning guide for homeless service providers. Click here to review to most up to date severe weather planning information.

Ventilation Needs Survey for Homeless Service Providers: Environmental Health Services is willing and able to conduct a ventilation needs assessment for your program. They can help equip your program with air filters, air purifiers, HVAC upgrades and provide a list of recommendations to help you keep your clients warm and safe in the coming winter months. Click here to fill out a ventilation needs survey, and email leah.helms@kingcounty.gov for more information.

Marta Lema shared information related to cleaning best practices laid out in the sanitation and hygiene standards guide. When looking for cleaning chemicals for COVID-19, please consider the following factors:

  • The label should state the product is effective against Human Coronaviruses.
  • Clear rooms and open doors and windows. CDC recommends surfaces get disinfected once a day (and more for high touch surfaces depending on use).
  • Follow cleaning instructions for whatever chemical you’re using. Make note of the required “contact time” or “wet time” as well to ensure surfaces are actually getting disinfected.
  • Do not use disinfectants in kitchens, kitchenettes or areas where food is prepared, handled, or stored. Use products that state they are appropriate on “food-contact surfaces.”
  • If you have questions about new chemicals or disinfection technologies, please reach out to HEART for guidance/consultation.

Flu Vaccinations: The Healthcare for the Homeless Network wants you to know how to secure flu vaccinations for those you serve. A current and updated list of upcoming vaccination events can be found here. You can also request a flu vaccine visit to your program by emailing vaccineteam@kingcounty.gov.

Coalition Member Updates 

  • Hopelink Financial Empowerment Training Pt. III: The Coalition in partnership with Hopelink are offering a series of monthly mini-trainings to explore the Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) toolkit. We plan to take a closer look at topics such as how to discuss finances, setting financial goals, earning income while maintaining public benefit eligibility and dynamic budgeting. This series will create space for direct service providers to share experiences using the Toolkit with those they serve. Check out prior workshop sessions here, and register for part three in the series: Saving, on Wednesday December 2 at 11am. 
  • Friends of Youth Program Changes: In October 2020, The Landing Young Adult Shelter made the decision to transition to a 24/7 shelter model to better meet the needs of young adults experiencing homelessness in East King County. The program offers both day center and overnight services, which includes daytime drop-in (ages 16-24 from 9am to 4pm), evening drop-in (ages 16-24 from 4:30pm to 8pm) and shelter programming (ages 18-24 from 8:30pm to 8:30am). Maximum indoor capacity limited to 15 individuals. Young people can access basic needs and support services: food, showers, laundry, case management and behavioral health services For more information, contact Chris Craft at chris@friendsofyouth.org or Karina Wiggins at karina@friendsofyouth.org

Coalition Staff Updates

  • Coalition Voter Registration Summary: Coalition volunteers and staff have wrapped up a whirlwind voter registration program at direct service sites across King County. Trained Coalition volunteers spoke with members of the public at day centers, meal programs and overnight shelters to inform them of their voting rights and to offer help in registering to vote. Thanks to our volunteers and community partners, we were able to collectively reach 500 members of our community, directly register 55 people to vote, and provide educational materials, voter assistance, and bus tickets to an additional 200 people. We hope this is the beginning of an on-going conversation about engaging those you serve in meaningful civic engagement opportunities. For more information, contact Saleena Salango.
  • Emergency Assistance Programs in King County: The following is a partial list that will be added to. If your organization is accepting applications for Emergency Assistance and you want the details listed here, please email Jason Austin
    • Those in South King County interested in navigating the emergency assistance lottery program through King County are encouraged to reach out to St Stephen Housing Association or the Multi-Service Center
    • Lifelong has launched an emergency assistance program for HIV+ tenants facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Low-income renters who can provide they are behind on a rent or utility bill because of the pandemic must be referred by a medical case manager. In addition to financial assistance, landlord / utility company mediation and tenant rights resources are also available. Click here for more information. Interested qualified applicants are encouraged to contact Laura Jones at lauraj@lifelong.org
    • The King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project has launched a rental assistance program for low-income tenants with rent arrears. This fund is for those who owe at least one month of rent since March 2020 and can provide up to 6 months of fair-market rate rent. Immigration status is not a consideration for this program. Low-income renters who have not received other forms of rent assistance are encouraged to call 206-267-7069 to conduct a screening appointment.
    • Washington LawHelp now has a mobile-friendly app with a guided questionnaire to help residential tenants at risk of eviction find the information and legal help they need, county-by-county. Most evictions for not paying rent are not allowed right now, but your landlord may still be trying to evict you. Nothing to download, just visit their Facing Eviction? Get Help! page to use the app.

October 15, 2020 General Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Agenda

9:00 Welcome
9:10 Statewide Eviction Moratorium Update
9:20 Member Updates
9:40 November Ballet Overview
10:10 City of Seattle and other King County Advocacy Work
10:25 Coalition Staff Updates

Agenda Highlights

Statewide Eviction Moratorium Update

On Thursday October 8, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced that the temporary moratorium on evictions will be extended through the end of 2020, with no additional loopholes or exemptions. John Stovall with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance thanked us for the statewide advocacy push that made this possible and encouraged us to send a thank you message to the Governors office using this link. The Housing Alliance also wants to gather stories of people who have faced challenges keeping their housing because of COVID-19. If you or someone you know has a story to share, please consider filling out this form.

Health Through Housing Campaign

We have a big, exciting opportunity to create emergency homes for 2,000 people experiencing chronic homelessness in our community. On Tuesday October 13, the King County Council voted 8-1 in favor of the Health through Housing proposal. If you’re a King County resident, send a personalized thank you message to your King County Councilmember and Executive Dow Constantine urging them to focus this new one tenth of one cent sales tax revenue on housing people with the lowest incomes, who have disabilities and have been homeless for far too long. Thank you to those of you who took action, please send a follow-up note to ensure that Health through Housing is dedicated to supportive housing with behavioral health services for people at or below 30% AMI. We need to keep a strong focus on making true regional progress on chronic homelessness.

Coalition Member Updates 

  • Hopelink Financial Empowerment Training Pt. II: The Coalition in partnership with Hopelink are offering a series of monthly mini-trainings to explore the Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) toolkit. We plan to take a closer look at topics such as how to discuss finances, setting financial goals, earning income while maintaining public benefit eligibility and dynamic budgeting. This series will create space for direct service providers to share experiences using the Toolkit with those they serve. Check out prior workshop sessions here, and register for part two in the series: Setting Goals, on Wednesday October 28 at 11am
  • Mockingbird Society Speaker Series. This fall, The Mockingbird Society is excited to invite you to a three-part speaker series: Through the Lens of Lived Experience. Taking place on Oct. 1st, 15th, and Nov. 12th at 7:20pm on YouTube Live, the series features 15-20min conversations with transformative leaders. Their insights and stories will highlight why lived experience is so critical in the work to transform foster care and end youth homelessness. Click here to register for the entire speaker series, and you’ll get the connection details for each conversation 24 hours in advance.
  • Bellevue Lifespring Emergency Assistance Program: Families with children who live in Bellevue or send their children to the Bellevue School District may qualify for rent or move-in costs assistance through a new emergency assistance program. Click here for more information (Spanish version here).

November Ballot Overview: What You Need to Know Before November 3

  • Yes on Prop 1 King County: Whether serving its mission to care for the most vulnerable, or as the teaching hospital for future doctors, or as the state’s only Level 1 trauma and burn center – The Harborview Medical Center serves us all.  If King County Proposition 1 is approved, the 20-year bond will provide health and safety improvements at Harborview, including increasing critical health care capacity, updating and expanding modern infection control standards, and expanding capacity for behavioral health needs. Click here to learn more.
  • Yes on Transit Seattle, Prop 1 City of Seattle: While the pandemic has many of us at home, bus service remains a vital lifeline for seniors, people with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness and essential workers. City of Seattle Proposition 1 funds more than 150,000 prioritized transit service hours a year for the next six years that will have to be cut if this measure fails. Seattle Prop 1 also supports access programs for our low-income neighbors, including free passes for public high school students and programs for essential workers, seniors, and public housing residents. Our neighbors are counting on these affordability programs now more than ever. Click here to learn more, and help us get the word out by using this media toolkit.
  • Yes on R-90: Young people deserve quality sex education. State that have adopted comprehensive sex education curriculum have observed decreases in unplanned pregnancies and STI transmission rates. Comprehensive sex education gives LGBT+ youth the opportunity to see their identify reflected positively in school curriculum, and promotes racial equity within our school system. Information about anatomy, healthy relationships and consent is a protective factor against sexual assault and gender based violence. It is for these reasons and more that the State Legislature adopted this updated curriculum, which is now before voters for final approval. Click here to learn more. If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, or if you would like more information about sexual violence, call King County Sexual Assault Resource Center’s 24-hour Resource Line at 888.99.VOICE (888.998.6423) or visit https://www.kcsarc.org/gethelp
  • Yes on King County Charter Amendment 2: King County owns a significant amount of surplus property, you can see just how much by reviewing this mapping tool. The state legislature changed state law to enable these properties to be made available at a lower price for affordable housing. Old language in the County Charter is, however, inconsistent with the amended state law and requires sale at higher prices. King County Charter Amendment 2 if approved will allow the sale of certain surplus properties at a lower price when the property is to be used for affordable housing, eliminating one of the biggest cost drivers to building affordable homes. Click here to learn more.

Voter Registration and Voting Rights Refresher Training

We are thrilled to introduce Saleena Salango, our new Coalition Advocacy Coordinator who previewed an upcoming virtual training series for those interested in helping people experiencing homelessness register to vote. The Coalition engages in non-partisan voter registration and education work. We advocate to expand voting rights, strengthen democracy, and ensure that all members of our community actively participate at every level of government. These sessions are primarily for service providers who will help people who are or were homeless or unstably housed register to vote, know their voting rights, and vote. If you are an individual volunteer who has been part of previous Coalition voter registration activities, this will be a refresher, as well as a chance to learn crucial updates about voting during COVID-19 and election resources for November 3, 2020. For those who have not been part of previous Coalition voter registration activities who wish to volunteer with us, this training is required. Click here to register.

We are hosting this training on two dates. You only need to attend one training. 

  • Tuesday, 10/20 at 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, 10/22 at 12 – 1 p.m.

Visit the Coalition’s voter registration website for information and resources.

Coalition Staff Updates 

Flu Vaccinations: The Healthcare for the Homeless Network wants you to know how to secure flu vaccinations for those you serve. A current and updated list of upcoming vaccination events can be found here. You can also request a flu vaccine visit to your program by emailing vaccineteam@kingcounty.gov

Annual Subsidized Pass Pilot: Sound Transit and King County Metro are launching a pilot program to provide ORCA cards to low income King County residents. The Annual Subsidized Pass functions like an ORCA LIFT card that can be offered free of charge. This pass will be available to residents of King, Pierce and Snohomish County whose income is at or below 80 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit and who qualify for specific state and federal public benefit programs. This pilot will be administered by Catholic Community Services, Seattle / King County Public Health Department and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Click here for more information

Overdose Response Webinar, Wednesday October 21 from 2:30 – 4pm: The University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI)  is partnering with the King County Recovery Coalition, Washington Department of Health, Public Health-Seattle & King County, and a few WA State syringe exchange partners to host a webinar: Overdose Response During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Webinar topics will include: Why overdose risk may be higher during the pandemic, statewide data on overdose deaths and trends, recovery and relapse prevention, and overdose response and naloxone distribution. Experts from Washington State syringe exchange programs will discuss how the pandemic has affected the people they work with, and how their programs have adapted. Click here to register.

City of Seattle Immigrant Relief Fund: On Thursday, October 15, 2020, the City of Seattle will launch the $7.94 million Seattle COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund for Immigrants, its newest program to help vulnerable residents who have been both financially impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and purposely excluded by the federal government. Eligible individuals and families have until Thursday November 5, Click here to apply.

  • The application will only be available as an online form, and 20 organizations will be available to help applicants over the phone and in-language. The online application will be available in seven languages other than English: Amharic, Korean, Chinese (Simplified), Somali, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, and Vietnamese. 
  • The relief fund is open to immigrants who: Live in OR attend school in OR work within the Seattle city boundaries, AND meet income eligibility requirements, AND were ineligible for federal CARES Act Economic Impact Payments (also known as a “coronavirus stimulus check”). 
  • The review process is NOT first-come, first-served. To support those with the most need, the program is prioritizing applicants based on a set of vulnerability criteria. Each eligible adult applicant filing for themselves can receive a one-time payment of $1,000. Applicants with children are eligible to receive a one-time payment of up to $3,000. 

September 17, 2020 Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

We are grateful to each presenter for sharing their time and passion with us at our September 17 Membership meeting, and to all who shared questions and insight. Thank you to all those listed below for providing content for our meeting:

Below is a summary of some of the topics that we will discussed at our Thursday, September 17 Membership Meeting. This post will be updated as additional meeting materials are collected.

Register now for our next Membership Meeting on Thursday, October 15 starting at 9am.

Washington Dental Access Campaign

Statewide Poverty Action Network (SPAN) has launched its Washington Dental Access Campaign to bring dental therapy to communities in need. Dental therapists are primary oral health care providers that deliver routine preventive and restorative care to those who need it most. Dental therapists are critical to expanding access to dental care where it is most out of reach, providing timely, quality care to rural, low-income communities and communities of color, and to patients who have coverage through Apple Health or are uninsured. Click here to learn more

Dental therapists were recently authorized to work in select tribal communities. Community dental health advocates are pushing to extend this authorization statewide to bring much needed dental care to communities in need. Click here to support the campaign, and use this organizational sign on form to add your organization to the list of supporters. And click here to view a media toolkit you can use to get the word out to your community.

Community Nutrition Update 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has signed a waiver allowing for the extension of summer meal programs into the remainder of 2020. This means that schools and community-based organizations that sponsor summer meal programs may continue to do what they stated last spring: feed any child (age 0-18) for free, regardless of what school they attend, or whether they are enrolled in school at all. Meal programs do not have to verify a child’s name, school of origin or household income. USDA had already extended waivers that allow schools to provide multiple meals at one time and allow adults to pick up meals without their children present. Nutrition advocates applaud this decision and are pushing for the USDA to extend this rule change through the end of the 2020-21 school year. Click here to add your organization to a sign-on letter in support of this, and use this call script to tell your representative to prioritize child nutrition in the next COVID-19 relief package.

 BUT – None of these changes are a full substitute for enrolling school age children into meals programs.  Because schools are now able to offer free meals to all kids using the Summer Meals waivers, it will be a challenge for families to remember they need to do this. Make sure the families you serve and work with complete a 2020-21 school meal application with their local school district. Click here to find enrollment information for your district.

Financial Empowerment Series Preview

Following our July 30 Financial Empowerment Workshop, the Coalition on Homelessness and Hopelink are offering a series of monthly mini-trainings to further explore the Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) toolkit. We plan to take a closer look at each topic, with an eye towards creating space to share experiences using the Toolkit with those you serve. We will start this series by introducing the YMYG Toolkit and focus on how to discuss finances with clients. Register here for the first session on Wednesday, September 30 from 10:30 to 11:30am.

Upcoming Training Dates:

  • September 30, 2020: How to Discuss  Finances
  • October 28, 2020: Setting Goals
  • December 2, 2020: Saving
  • January 27, 2021: Tracking income & benefits

 Voting Rights in a Pandemic

The November election is two months away, a good time to remind people that you do not need a house to vote! We will be joined by Recovery Cafe to hear about their experience offering voter registration during this time, and hear from Civil Survival about efforts to enact voting right restoration legislation in Washington. Check out our remote voter registration materials here, then join us on Thursday to learn more. 

Civil Survival and the Washington Voting Rights Restoration Coalition are looking to collect stories and quotes from those who have been disenfranchised (deprived of the right to vote) due to felony convictions in an effort to ensure all voices are heard in the advocacy process. Currently, there are thousands of people in Washington state who are living and working in our communities but are unable to vote and participate in our democracy because of a felony conviction, even though they are no longer incarcerated. For more information, click here to fill out their survey or contact Roxana Gomez at rgomez@aclu-wa.org

Civil Survival also previewed a five-part webinar series on vacating your conviction record to celebrate National Expungement Week. Webinars run September 21 through September 25, click here to register.

Community Resources

Young Adult Eviction Prevention: The Y Social Impact Center is offering up to three months of rent assistance for young adults ages 18-24 who live in King County. Click here for more information, or email renthelp@seattleymca.org for more information. Start your application here

Child Nutrition and Back to School: You can review our back to school support information here, including a list of all King County McKinney-Vento Liaisons for the 2020-21 school year. A recording of our Helping Homeless Students info session, along with a copy of all materials discussed, have been uploaded to our website which can be viewed here.

Virtual Arts Programming: Path with Art is interested in bringing remote enrichment opportunities to homeless service programs in King County. Please complete this interest form for more information.

Transportation Advocacy

The Coalition on Homelessness is partnering with Transportation Choices Coalition and other mobility justice champions to host an Interactive Storytelling Workshop. Proposed cuts to transit service loom large as the COVID recession continues. We must keep transit rider stories front and center to maintain support for transit service to maintain this critical community lifeline. We hope you will join us Wednesday, September 30 at 9am, click here to register.

As part of our commitment to transit equity, we are joining with our community partners to call on Sound Transit to decriminalize their fare enforcement procedures. Failure to properly pay fare on Sound Transit services can result in Court-issued fines, debt collection and criminal charges. These policies trap marginalized communities in cycles of poverty and lead to unnecessary stress and harm, as well as costs to taxpayers. Fare non-payment should never be an entry to the criminal-legal system or lead to interactions with law enforcement. Sound Transit’s board will be considering some proposed reforms to the agency’s fare enforcement program, including adding an extra warning and lowering the amount of the fine. While these are positive steps, the proposals don’t go nearly far enough. Please take a moment to email the Sound Transit leadership and board using this action link, urging them to divorce fare enforcement entirely from policing and the court system.

Census 2020

The 2020 Census is underway, and under attack. The Federal Government is threatening to intentionally not include all residents in the final reported count, and the deadline for data collection has been arbitrarily shortened from October 31 to September 30. Both of these actions have been temporarily blocked by the courts, making it  more important than ever to help those you work with complete the Census as soon as possible.

For those without a traditional address, the census will be conducting Service Based Enumeration to survey people at locations such as overnight shelter programs and meal sites from September 22 to September 24. If you work for a program that provides services to people experiencing homelessness, and you have not been contacted by the Census Bureau, email Micaella Verro with United Way King County to get connected with Census operations staff. And check out these tips for helping the people you service complete the census form.

 The Census can be completed one of two ways:

  • Online: https://2020census.gov
  • Households would have had a Census ID mailed to them, but if someone does not have one because they don’t have a residential location or they no longer have the code, they can say that they don’t have a Census ID and still fill out the census
  • There will be a check box for “I do not have a street address” and then a question asking if someone was experiencing homelessness on April 1, 2020. After that people can provide a description of where they were staying, or a city.
  • Phone: 844-330-2020 – language support available in other languages – help someone find their language number to call by going to 2020census.gov and clicking How to Respond, or go to https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html

HUD Emergency Shelter Rule

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing modifications to the 2016 Equal Access Rule that would allow discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people seeking access to shelter through HUD-funded services. The proposed change would give local shelter providers the ability to deny services arbitrarily based on physical appearance, rather than how clients self-report their identity. This will have dire consequences for members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans and gender non-conforming people experiencing homelessness. We support the efforts of the Housing Saves Lives Coalition to push back against this proposed change. Click here to send a unique, personalized comment to HUD by Tuesday September 22.

August 20, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Defund the Navigation Team and City of Seattle Budget Advocacy 

The Seattle City Council voted to defund the entire Navigation Team as part of their 2020 budget rebalancing work, but Mayor Durkan vetoed the Council’s budget, so our work is not over. Check out this Op-Ed from REACH Co-Director Chloe Gale and our Executive Director Alison Eisinger explaining why the Navigation Team is wasteful, ineffective, and does not help to end homelessness. Negotiations over the 2021 city budget begin in a few weeks. Click here to sign up for advocacy alerts.

Defunding the Navigation Team is part of a border effort to re-balance the city budget towards more culturally appropriate community support services and affordable housing. This effort is being led by a coalition group called Decriminalize Seattle, which the Coalition on Homelessness is a member. You can learn more about their efforts at participatory budgeting  here. 

COVID-19 Toolkit for homeless service providers 

The King County Healthcare for the Homeless Network (HCHN) has updated its COVID-19 Outreach Provider Toolkit to aid homeless service staff in their work. Michael Young-Hall and Chante Stubbs with HCHN will be joining us Thursday to review the toolkit and discuss how best to utilize it at your program. 

Coalition Community Updates 

Census 2020: The 2020 Census is underway, and under attack. The Federal Government is threatening to intentionally not include all residents in the final reported count, and the deadline for data collection has been arbitrarily shortened from October 31 to September 30. When in Doubt, Count. It is more important than ever to help those you work with complete the Census by the end of September.

For those without a traditional address, the census will be conducting Service Based Enumeration to survey people at locations such as overnight shelter programs and meal sites from September 22 to September 24. If you work for a program that provides services to people experiencing homelessness, and you have not been contacted by the Census Bureau, we want to help. Thank you Micaella Verro with United Way King County for putting together this survey, please take two minutes to fill this out so we can help ensure your residents and guests get counted. And check out these tips for helping the people you service complete the census form.

 The Census can be completed one of two ways:

  • Online: https://2020census.gov
  • Households would have had a Census ID mailed to them, but if someone does not have one because they don’t have a residential location or they no longer have the code, they can say that they don’t have a Census ID and still fill out the census
  • There will be a check box for “I do not have a street address” and then a question asking if someone was experiencing homelessness on April 1, 2020. After that people can provide a description of where they were staying, or a city.
  • Phone: 844-330-2020 – language support available in other languages – help someone find their language number to call by going to 2020census.gov and clicking How to Respond, or go to https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html

HUD Emergency Shelter Rule: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing modifications to the 2016 Equal Access Rule that would allow discrimination against transgender people seeking access to shelter through HUD-funded services. The proposed change would give local shelter providers the ability to deny services arbitrarily based on physical appearance, rather than how clients self-report their identity. This will have dire consequences for members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans and gender non-conforming people experiencing homelessness. We support the efforts of the Housing Saves Lives Coalition to push back against this proposed change. Click here to send a unique, personalized comment to HUD by Tuesday September 22.

Community Resources Updates

  • Pandemic EBT Benefits: Thanks to statewide advocacy efforts, the application deadline has been extended to September 11 and the online application process has been streamlined. Click here for a training video and informational materials to help connect families you work with to this crucial food support.
  • Financial Empowerment Resources: On Thursday July 30, the Coalition presented a workshop in partnership with Hopelink around the Your Money / Your Goals toolkit to help homeless service providers equip those they serve to make informed financial decisions. Click here to view a recording of this free workshop. 
  • King County Metro Fare Collection: On August 14, King County Metro announced that fares will continue to be suspended through September. Service on Metro bus, Streetcar, Water Taxi, Access, Vanpool and Via will be fare-free through September. Metro has not yet made a decision on October fares. Fares are being collected on Sound Transit Express Bus & Link Light Rail. 
  • Real Talk in September: The Coalition previewed an upcoming event designed to create a more informal setting to gather and reflect on the collective work we are engaged with. We invite you to give us your ideas so we can create space to foster conversation relevant to your work. Our goal is to provide support to one another by getting real about the situation that we are in, and continuing to provide quality services and excellent well-informed advocacy.

Member Updates

  • Karina O’Malley shared her reflections on the virtual ribbon cutting of Kirkland Place for Women and Families. A permanent 27/7 emergency shelter program meant to replace a collection of winter only shelter options, Kirkland Place is a collaboration between New Bethlehem, The Sophia Way and Salt House. Click here to learn more and take a virtual tour of the facility.
  • Duy Tran with the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) told meeting attendees that openings are available in their Rapid Rehousing Program. DESC Rapid Rehousing offers time limited rental assistance between 3-12 months to eligible clients in King County. Clients can be referred through the CEA external fill process, which has recently been streamlined. To see if your client is eligible for a referral, please email DTran2@desc.org.

Helping Homeless Students

The last 30 minutes of our meeting was dedicated to a discussion of what homeless K-12 students and their families need to be successful in the new school year. Thank you to the family service providers and children’s advocates who joined us in small group discussions about available resources for homeless students, and what supports those you serve need during this challenging time.

For those of you who work with homeless school age children who could not attend our meeting, please take two minutes to complete this survey. Please complete this survey by Friday, August 28

The feedback from Thursday and the results from this survey will help inform the content of our upcoming Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101 workshop, which we will tentatively be hosting Thursday, September 3 from 9 to 11am. Click here to register.

Case Manager Training Series: Financial Empowerment: Additional Tools for Homeless Service Providers (Updated 02/26/2021)

The Coalition on Homelessness in partnership with Hopelink are offering a series of monthly mini-trainings to explore the Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) toolkit. We plan to take a closer look at topics such as how to discuss finances, setting financial goals, earning income while maintaining public benefit eligibility and dynamic budgeting. This series will create space for direct service providers to share experiences using the Toolkit with those they serve. 


Financial Empowerment Series: Getting Through the Month

February 26, 2021

Click Here to View Presentation Materials

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Event Summary: The most recent workshop in our Financial Empowerment Training Series explored using cashflow budgeting to ensure the people you serve have the funds that they need at the time they need it. Static budgeting can leave households without needed income when bills come due. Thank you to the housing case management staff at Hopelink for helping us work through common scenario questions. If you plan to review the above recorded training materials, we encourage you to first examine this scenario question.

Below are links to all the materials referenced in the workshop. We encourage you to refer to these as you watch the video and pause to explore each tool at your own pace. You can also read through all presentation materials here. If you have questions or wish to explore this content in more detail, please email your questions to Emily.


Financial Empowerment Series: Tracking Income and Benefits

January 27, 2021

Click here to view presentation materials

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Event Summary: The latest in our case manager training series explored how to help clients track multiple sources of income, such as earned income and public assistance programs. This training focused on how to help clients earn extra income while protecting their eligibility status for various state and federal assistance programs. We touched on how to track income and public benefits with an eye toward understanding garnishments and deductions, payment options, and how to increase net earnings.

Public Benefits Legal Assistance: Special thank you to Kate Means and Daniel Parker with Benefits Law Center for explaining how to help clients apply for SSI / SSDI and maintain their eligibility while seeking additional income. Benefits Law Center provides free and low-cost legal assistance to community members needing assistance with SSI / SSDI related issues. Check out their collection of self-help materials, and if you would like to refer someone you are working with call 206-686-7252 or submit your clients information using this online form.

Basic Needs Advocacy: Public assistance programs exist because working class coalitions asked and fought for them, making public benefit advocacy a key part of helping clients navigate these topics. Thank you to Lianna Kressin with Statewide Poverty Action Network for highlighting efforts to strengthen state assistance programs this legislative session. Check out the following resources to stay informed and get involved in their work:

Workshop Materials: Below are links to all the materials referenced in the workshop. We encourage you to refer to these as you watch the video and pause to explore each tool at your own pace. You can also read through all presentation materials here. If you have questions or wish to explore this content in more detail, please email your questions to Jason.

Join us on Wednesday February 24 at 11am for the next training in this series: Getting Through the Month. Click here to register.


Financial Empowerment Series: Saving

December 2, 2020

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Part three of our training series explored savings plans and how to navigate public benefit eligibility and tax filing while saving for future goals. Thank you to special guest Hannah Rosenberger with Solid Ground Public Benefits Assistance Program for explaining asset limits and how to save while maintaining eligibility for cash and food assistance programs. If you or someone you work needs legal guidance related to a public benefits issue, they can reach out to benefitslegalhelp@solid-ground.org or call 206-694-6742 for an intake.

Click here to review asset limits in detail.

Below are links to all the materials referenced in the workshop. We encourage you to refer to these as you watch the video and pause to explore each tool at your own pace. If you have questions or wish to explore this content in more detail, please email your questions to Jason.

Join us on Wednesday January 27 at 11am for the next training in this series: Tracking Income and Benefits. Click here to register.


Financial Empowerment Series: Setting Goals

October 28, 2020

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

We hosted the second installment in our Financial Empowerment Training Series on Wednesday, October 28. Part two explored tools to help your clients set goals, breaking down their financial objectives into achievable tasks. A huge thank you to Emily Goodright, Joy Horbochuk, Anna Austing and Jacinta Matthews from Hopelink for reviewing these tools with us.

Below are links to all the materials referenced in the workshop. We encourage you to refer to these as you watch the video and pause to explore each tool at your own pace. If you have questions or wish to explore this content in more detail, please email your questions to Jason.

Annual Subsidized Pass Pilot: Sound Transit and King County Metro are launching a pilot program to provide ORCA cards to low income King County residents. The Annual Subsidized Pass functions like an ORCA LIFT card that can be offered free of charge. This pass will be available to residents of King, Pierce and Snohomish County whose income is at or below 80 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit and who qualify for specific state and federal public benefit programs. This pilot will be administered by Catholic Community Services, Seattle / King County Public Health Department and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Click here for more information. 

For additional information on stimulus checks, check out this training video. The CFPB is also offering virtual drop-in office hours so you can ask an expert your questions, every Wednesday at 11:30 until November 18. Click here to attend, or dial in using +1 571-348-5774, Conference ID: 503 140 753# 

Join us on Wednesday December 2 at 11am for Part Three in this Series: Saving.

  • No training in November due to holidays
  • December 2, 2020: Saving
  • January 27, 2021: Tracking income& benefits

Financial Empowerment Series: How to Discuss Finances

September 30, 2020

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

We hosted the first installment in our Financial Empowerment Training Series on Wednesday, September 30. Presented in partnership with Hopelink, this one-hour workshop provided an introduction to the Your Money / Your Goals toolkit and how to apply its principles to homeless service work. A huge thank you to Emily Goodright, Joy Horbochuk and Anna Austing from Hopelink for reviewing the toolkit and sharing insights on how to have client-centered, culturally appropriate conversations about finances with those you serve.

Below are links to all the tools referenced in the workshop. We encourage you to refer to these as you watch the video and pause to explore each tool at your own pace. If you have questions or wish to explore this content in more detail, please email your questions to Jason.

Join us on Wednesday October 28 at 11am for Part Two in this Series: Setting Goals.

  • October 28, 2020: Setting Goals
  • No training in November due to holidays
  • December 2, 2020: Saving
  • January 27, 2021: Tracking income& benefits

Financial Empowerment Workshop

July 30, 2020

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.
Click Here to Review the PowerPoint Slides Used in the Above Video

We hosted the latest in our Case Manager Training Series titled Financial Empowerment: Tools for Homeless Service Providers. Presented in partnership with Hopelink, this two-hour workshop gave an overview of the Your Money / Your Goals toolkit and how to apply its principles to homeless service work. A huge thank you to Donna O’Connor, Emily Goodright, and Joy Horbochuk from Hopelink for reviewing the toolkit and sharing their insights on how they have been using these tools in their case management work.

Below is an outline of the training with links to all the tools referenced in the workshop. We encourage you to refer to this outline as you watch the video and pause the video to explore each tool at your own pace. If you have questions or wish to explore this content in more detail, please email your questions to Jason.

Opening Activity

Module 3 : Tracking income & benefits

Module 4 and 5: Paying Bills and Getting Through the Month

Module 7: Understanding Credit Reports and Scores

Additional Tools and Community Resources

July 16, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting

Recording of July 16, 2020 Coalition Member Meeting

Statewide Eviction Moratorium

  • The temporary statewide moratorium on evictions is set to expire August 1, which if not extended will put thousands in our community at risk of homelessness.Thank you Edmund Witter for explaining the eviction moratorium and sharing tips for service providers with clients involved in the eviction process, you can find a copy of his presentation here. And thank you Michele Thomas for sharing advocacy efforts underway to protect renters.

JumpStart Seattle Advocacy Update

  • Coalition Executive Director Alison Eisinger helped us celebrate the passage of JumpStart Seattle tax legislation and discussed the active conversation around the JumpStart Spending plan (which will be voted on very soon.. This legislation will “raise over $214 million per year in progressive revenue to respond to the immediate COVID crisis and focus on Seattle’s long-term economic revitalization and resiliency by investing in affordable housing and essential city services.”

Seattle Budget Advocacy

  • Alison also talked about the City Council’s current work on the 2020 balancing budget and previewed the fall budget process (click here for a schedule of upcoming meetings). The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness has signed on to the Decriminalize Seattle priorities to defund the SPD by at least 50%, reallocate those funds to community led health and safety systems, and release protesters arrested during this uprising without charges.
    • Defund SPD teach-in recording: Learn more about efforts to defund SPD and reinvest in community-based and led responses to build health and safety.

Voter registration and voting during COVID-19

  • Click here for a blog post with the slides that Hillary shared and information covered about how to help people register online, via paper form, and in person at Vote Centers. Share this with people you work with, and email vote@homelessinfo.org if you plan to help folks register to vote – we truly hope you will!

Financial Empowerment Workshop: Tools for Homeless Service Providers

Thursday, July 30 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m: Click here to register.

Thank you to Donna O’Connor, Stephanie Page and Emily Goodright for previewing this upcoming free training opportunity. This training will be centered around the Your Money Your Goals toolkit, and will include topics such as how to navigate a consumer credit report, guidance on earning income while receiving public assistance, introduction to the idea of cash flow and tips on accessible banking services.

Coalition Community Resource Updates:

2020 Census is continuing now through October 31, those without a traditional home address will be counted through Service Based Enumeration from September 22 to September 24, click here for more information.  When in Doubt, Count. You don’t need to wait until September to help your clients fill out the Census. The form can be completed one of two ways:

  • Onlinehttps://2020census.gov
  • Households would have had a Census ID mailed to them, but if someone does not have one because they don’t have a residential location or they no longer have the code, they can say that they don’t have a Census ID and still fill out the census
  • There will be a check box for “I do not have a street address” and then a question asking if someone was experiencing homelessness on April 1, 2020. After that people can provide a description of where they were staying, or a city.
  • Phone: 844-330-2020 – language support available in other languages – help someone find their language number to call by going to 2020census.gov and clicking How to Respond, or go to https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html

Pandemic EBT program for families with children who qualify for reduce price school meals can be applied for now through August 31. Check out this recorded training video and associated materials for more information.

Seattle Public Library Restrooms: Thanks to advocacy from Coalition members and allies, Seattle Public Libraries have partially re-opened their restroom facilities for public use.  At five locations (Downtown, Ballard, Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill and University District). Restrooms at these branches are open 10 am to 6 pm every day. Thank you to our members and partners who join us to reinforce the urgent need to open public buildings so that people have access to bathrooms, sinks with soap and running water, and clean drinking water during the pandemic.

City of Seattle Mobile Shower Trailers: Another new hygiene related service is the mobile shower trailer; this is a service provided by the City of Seattle that is currently being staffed by the Millionaire Club. There are two locations to know about:

  • One is a semi-permanent shower installation located by the King Street station at 303 S Jackson St. This is available for use from 10am to 4pm Monday through Friday
  • The second is a mobile trailer that is currently set to serve at two locations: Seattle Center at 305 Harrison St operates Tuesday through Saturday, then this moves to the University Heights Center on Sunday and Monday, also open between 10am to 4pm.
  • Neither of these have a formal intake process, they are open and available to anyone who needs them. Sign-up for showers begins at 8am in the morning, and clients can spend as long as 45 minutes in the facility. They do not offer on-site laundry services. These locations may change going forward, click here to check current details of operation.

King County Access Paratransit: King County Metro Transit has announced that its Access Paratransit service is now a temporary option for riders with disabilities who can no longer reach their essential destinations through traditional service, even for riders who are not currently certified for Access

Coalition Member Updates

Summertime Childcare Assistance: Alex Barbaria with Child Care Resources asked to share an update on childcare assistance. Child Care Resources can help families navigate the often confusing childcare systems in King County. Check out this flyer for more details on how to apply (Spanish version here)

Mockingbird Society Annual Summit: Thank you to Bekah Manikowski and Orion Olson from The Mockingbird Society for previewing their upcoming Youth Leadership Summit and the housing related priorities that will be discussed this year.

Healthcare for the Homeless Network: Thank you to Michael Hall-Young for sharing some updated guidance on face coverings and social distancing. You can find a wealth of resources for homeless service providers by checking out the Healthcare for the Homeless website. If you have any thoughts/feedback on the materials, email Michael.

Farewell and Thank You to Hillary: Our meeting ended on a bittersweet note as we bid farewell to longtime Coalition staff member Hillary Coleman. After six years of building community and advocating for justice, Hillary is moving on to graduate school at UW Evans School of Public Policy and Governance to purse a Master of Public Administration. We invite you to add a note of appreciation to this virtual Kudoboard as a way of saying thank you for all the incredible work she has given our community.

We hope to see you on Thursday August 20 at 9 a.m. for our August membership meeting, click here to register.