September 17, 2020 Membership Meeting

Recording of Coalition’s September 17 Membership Meeting.

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

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.

Financial Empowerment: Tools for Homeless Service Providers

**Following this workshop, the Coalition 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 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. Please visit our Training and Professional Development page for details and future series dates, the first being on Wednesday, September 30 at 10 a.m.**

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

Hosted on 07/30/2020

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.

Pandemic EBT Benefits – Updated August 11 2020

Recorded on July 1, 2020 at the South King County Forum on Homelessness

Click here for a copy of the PowerPoint used in the above presentation

8/11/2020 Update: Thanks to advocacy efforts across the state, the USDA has approved DSHS to extend the application deadline to Friday, September 11, 2020. Approved EBT cards must be sent no later than September 30, encourage those you work with to apply today.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT) is a one-time award available to families with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the school they attend. Families with children eligible for free and reduced price meals may be able to receive as much as $399 per child in this benefit. This benefit does not consider immigration status and is not subject to the Public Charge Rule. This means that P-EBT is one of the few benefits available to undocumented communities excluded from much of the COVID relief funds so far. Click here to review the program in more detail.

With schools closed for the summer and deadlines fast approaching, we are concerned that struggling families may miss out on this crucial support.

To Apply:

ONLINE: Households enrolled in free or reduced-price meals apply for P-EBT through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Eligible household can apply online at www.washingtonconnection.org. Click here for Step-by-Step Instructions on applying online.

OVER THE PHONE: 1-877-501-2233. Due to state budget cuts, DSHS will be taking furlough days every Monday through the end of July. Families can still apply online, however those requiring phone assistance will have to reach out Tuesday through Friday between 8am and 5pm.

June 18, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended our June Membership Meeting!

Sign up for Coalition emails to make sure you receive updates and notice of upcoming meetings. Highlights and resources shared on the call are below.

Recording of June 18 Coalition on Homelessness Membership Meeting

Acknowledgement and Reflection

Juneteenth Week 2020 is a week long celebration hosted by the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Black Lives Matter – Seattle/King County, Tabor 100 and the FW Black Collective.

Our purpose is to honor and remember a special milestone in black history: June 19, 1865. On this day, African Americans forced into slavery in the United States were officially and legally free (ish).

Pandemic EBT Benefits

  • The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT) is a one-time award available to families with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the school they attend. Families with children eligible for free and reduced price meals may be able to receive as much as $399 per child in this benefit. This benefit does not consider immigration status and is not subject to the Public Charge Rule. This means that P-EBT is one of the few benefits available to undocumented communities excluded from much of the COVID relief funds so far. Click here to review the program in more detail
  • Households already enrolled in free or reduced price meals can apply for P-EBT through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) starting June 28. Eligible household can apply online at www.washingtonconnection.org or by calling 1-877-501-2233. For those not enrolled in free or reduced price meals who may be newly eligible, the application deadline is Tuesday June 30, click here for application materials

Census 2020 Updates

Help folks you work with complete the Census. The deadline is now October 31, but we encourage people to fill out the Census as soon as possible.

People can complete the Census in three 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
  • Mail in paper forms – for households who didn’t respond by mid-April, people should have received a paper form in the mail. Other than that, unless your organization is working with the Census Bureau directly to have paper forms, it is best to help people fill out the census online or via the phone.
    • In-person non-response follow-up to households who have not completed the Census is currently scheduled for August 11 – October 31.

City/State/Federal Budget Advocacy

  • Federal Action
    • Take Action Link https://nlihc.secure.force.com/actions/TakeActionNew?actionId=AR00928
    • The House of Representatives passed the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act” on May 15, which includes NLIHC’s top priorities to ensure housing stability during and after the coronavirus pandemic for people experiencing homelessness and our lowest-income neighbors.
  • State Budget Forecast and upcoming advocacy
    • Email your Washington state lawmakers: Urge them to prevent cuts to critical affordable housing, homelessness, and public benefit programs by raising progressive revenue.  Washington faces a budget shortfall of at least $7 billion over the next three years. State lawmakers must balance the budget based on these projections, but they must not repeat the mistakes of the past by cutting core services. Insist that they raise revenue through progressive measures, and protect programs that support health, safety, and housing. 
    • Take Action Link: https://housingalliance.salsalabs.org/nobudgetcuts/index.html 
  • Defunding the Police
  • City of Seattle 2020 Budget Balancing Package and Progressive Revenue Proposals
  • Get ready to SPEAK UP during the week of June 22 


Update from Healthcare for the Homeless Network

COVID-19 Proactive Testing is coming to homeless service sites, and FAST Team + STRIKE Team => HEART Team

Coalition Updates

  • Hiring  Reminder: We are hiring our new Operations Director and Advocacy Coordinator for our small and mighty organization, every staff member plays a vital role. Help us find our next two staff members! The priority deadline for applications is Sunday, June 21.   
  • Accessible Banking Resources: Seattle Credit Union is offering accessible banking services to those experiencing homelessness. Check out this fact sheet for details. The Coalition wants to help our members connect their clients to banking services and gain financial literacy. We are putting together a panel of financial literacy experts for a future meeting. If your program offers financial literacy resources, or if you have good connections to other programs that do, please email Jason

Guest Musical Performance by J.R. Rhodes.

Discounted Telephone Service Programs Updates due to COVID-19 – updated 7/15/2020

UPDATED 07/15/2020: List of Lifeline Supported Providers: Click here to see if you qualify for a Lifeline phone, then contact one of the below approved area providers for next steps. Thank you to Michael-Hall Young and his team at the Healthcare for the Homeless Network for sharing this information.

  • Access Wireless – apply online or via mail, takes about 7-9 business days to process applications if apply online
  • Assurance – apply online or via mail, takes about 5-7 business days to process applications if you apply online
  • TerraCom Wireless – Apply via phone, takes about 3-5 business days to get phones out to clients. cell phone service only.
  • enTouch – Apply via website/mail, clients must provide phones – bring unlocked phone (no guarantee to work), get phone from trusted partner, or purchase for ~$50 from enTouch, takes 5 days to approve application & 7-10 days to ship SIM card
  • Safelink – Apply online or by phone, clients must provide unlocked phone, takes about 7-10 days to process applications (if apply online)

Low Cost Telephone Access: As social service agencies close their offices and transition to remote case management to meet Public health recommendations, access to affordable phones is more important than ever. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), in conjunction with Lifeline have adopted some changes to make it easier for people to access discounted telephone service. The Coalition will update this as we gather additional information, if you have anything to add please email Jason

Lifeline: A federal program that provides discounted phone and internet service to qualifying low income households. To qualify, a household must be at or below 135% Federal Poverty Limit or be enrolled in a program such as SNAP, SSI or Medicaid. Lifeline is awarded by household not individual, and a household can qualify if they have a dependent minor child who qualifies for one of the afore mentioned programs.

Changes Related to COVID-19: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued temporary emergency guidance making it easier for qualifying households to access this benefit. The order waives recertification and reverification requirement for the Lifeline program for 60 days. This means  clients who have been approved in the past do not need to report income again in order to be re-approved for a phone, and clients who are currently receiving services are not at risk of having their service disconnected due to failure to report their information. This order went into effect on March 17 and is in effect until Tuesday August 31. Click here to fill out an online application.

To Add Minutes: The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) can add minutes to a Lifeline phone free of charge. DSHS has streamlined this process to make it easier than ever before. Clients no longer need to request a PIN code in the mail to add minutes. Lifeline customers can simply call 1-877-501-2233, request additional minutes to their phone and follow instructions to refill minutes automatically.

Taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other – a few ideas from the Coalition

Physical distancing does not preclude social connection. From Zoom birthday parties to online yoga classes, people across the world have come up with creative ways for us to stay enriched and entertained while staying home and healthy. The Coalition believes that it is important to take time to re-energize and that joy and humor are essential tools in the fight against coronavirus. We have compiled a short list of fun ideas to share with you all. We would love to add your suggestions to this list, email Jason your ideas.

Cultivating Resilience in the Time of Coronavirus Webinar series every Friday from 1-2:30 p.m. Starting on May 8, ending on May 29.

The Seattle Community Policy Commission offers you a free resource designed to share tools for collectively navigating this emergency. They’ve partnered with Diana Mena of Esperanza Counseling and Consulting to lead a weekly webinar series called Cultivating Resilience in the Time of Coronavirus. This four-week webinar series will focus on cultivating awareness, crisis and the nervous system, a holistic overview of trauma, and cultivating trauma informed responses and resilience.
Register for Cultivating Resilience in the Time of Coronavirus here!
Webinars will be every Friday from 1pm-2:30pm – starting on May 8th and ending May 29th. These will include a one-hour presentation and a thirty-minute facilitated conversation where people will be able to share their thoughts, concerns, and questions.
Feel free to share this invitation. We encourage you, your staff, and anyone else you think may benefit from this series to participate. Registration is required, and you can do so by clicking here. While you are welcome to attend all four session, you are not required to. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to email us at Roxana.Garcia@Seattle.gov.

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State Public Benefit Program Changes due to COVID-19 – Updated 7/20/2020

UPDATED 4/29/2020, NEW PUBLIC BENEFITS INFORMATION:             

Department of Social and Health Services has issued additional guidance around accessing food and cash assistance. Click here to read a summary of changes from Solid Ground and see below for more information.

At our April 16 General Membership Meeting, we heard a presentation from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and Solid Ground on temporary changes being made to increase access to food and cash assistance through the state. A copy of that presentation can be found here, along with a one page summary of changes here.

Thank you to the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and Solid Ground for providing information on these changes. This information is current as of Tuesday April 21. Guidance may be further modified as the situation develops, so please check back here regularly as we will be updating this information.

Please note: Due to state budget cuts, DSHS will on on furlough every Monday through July and one Monday per month from August to November. Clients needing in-person or over the phone assistance are encouraged to reach out between 8am to 5pm, Tuesday through Friday.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

  • Program General Information: TANF is a monthly cash assistance program for families with children that can be accessed for a maximum of 60 months and requires that participants show proof that they have been looking for work or enrolled in school.
  • COVID Changes:
    • The work and school requirement has been suspended, and families that have reached their 60-month time limit can apply for an extension.
    • Any family that has a certification period for benefits ending in April or May will automatically have their benefits extended an additional six months, and mid-certification review requirements have been waived for the months of April and May as well. This change also applies to those receiving Age, Blind and Disabled (ABD) or Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) benefits.
    • The state still requires that TANF recipients follow the terms of their Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP), including attending any required legal or medical appointments. The terms of an IRP can be changed if a client can show sufficient proof of burden. If a client is concerned about meeting the terms of their IRP, they should request a modification by calling 1-877-501-2233 or by contacting their local Community Service Offices.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • Program General Information: SNAP provides a monthly award for food assistance. Individuals qualify by being low income and either caring for a minor child or having a recognized disability. Those who are low income without a recognized disability or caring for a minor child must show proof that they have been searching for work, school or volunteer opportunities as part of the ABAWD requirement (Able Bodied Adults Without Dependent Children)
  • COVID Changes:
    • The ABAWD requirement has been temporarily waived. Those who were previously denied benefits due to this are encouraged to re-apply.
    • Households enrolled in SNAP should also expect to see additional funds for the months of April and May as part of the federal stimulus package. Inform concerned clients that these additional funds are not an overpayment. 

 Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

  • Program General Information: LIHEAP is a program that provides a once per year grant to qualifying households to offset home heating costs. LIHEAP funding is flexible to accommodate almost any heating fuel source used by a home, and can be applied to rental costs in some circumstances.
  • COVID Changes:
    • Households who have previously qualified for LIHEAP may be awarded an additional $500 grant if they can prove they have been adversely affected by COVID-19. See this handout for more information.

 Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP)

Proof of income is required to qualify for these programs.

  • People can submit proof of income through an attached PDF when applying online at the Washington Connection portal. Although service hours have been reduced, Community Service Offices still have some limited in-person services available. If the easiest way to submit income verification is in-person, you can drop materials off at CSO drop box location.
  • For more information or to begin an application by phone, please call 1-877-980-9220. First time applicants will be required to call in to verify information.

Employment Assistance Programs: Information and Coalition Update from January 16 Zoom Call

Although The Coalition cancelled our January Membership Meeting in recognition of the extra strain severe weather conditions put on people experiencing homelessness and on service providers, and the real difficulties of winter travel in our large county, we did host a ZOOM call to update members on the 2020 Legislative Session priorities, click HERE to visit our State Legislative Advocacy page see many ways you can take action! We had a great panel of staff from Employment Services Programs who were going to present at the meeting, and we will be rescheduling these presenters for a future Coalition meeting. In the meantime, we wanted to share programmatic and contact information for these employment and job readiness training programs so that your programs and clients can access these important resources. Please contact the programs below directly if you or your clients have any questions about their services.

Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

  • The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) serves people with disabilities between the ages of 16 to 80, and helps with gaining, maintaining and advancing in employment.
  • Eligible clients must have a permanent disability (intellectual, mental and/or physical in nature) and barriers to employment. In order to refer, client must make contact themselves for intake unless they need assistance to call, and in that case, a case manager can set up the appointment if they let the front desk staff know the customer cannot make the initial contact.
  • To request an intake, call 253-372-5900, or reach out to your local Work Source office for a referral. Please contact Allesandria Goard for more in-depth information on the services and nuances of the DVR program.

Pioneer Human Services  

  • Roadmap to Success is a job-readiness program for formerly justice involved individuals who are seeking full time employment
  • To be eligible for the Roadmap to Success program, clients must have a criminal background and they must want to go to work and be able to do so. Roadmap to Success is a 3-week class where students go through cognitive behavioral training, targeted resume and cover letter creation, job development and vocational assessments, hard and soft skills of interviewing, and support in connecting to employment.
  • You can submit your application here. For more information contact Rudy or reach out to pioneertraining@p-h-s.com  

Multi-Service Center

  • Career Ready is a 10-week aerospace manufacturing training for adults 18 and older who are receiving SNAP food benefits. This ensures tuition paid in full through the BFET program
  • Anyone living in the South King County area, who is low income and seeking a new industry to enter is encouraged to apply.
  • Those interested should contact Julie Sanchez, 206-549-6236 or email at Julies@mschelps.org   

Foundational Community Supports Supported Employment

  • Foundational Community Supports (FCS) is a program offering benefits for supportive housing and supported employment for Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries with complex needs. Amerigroup Washington, Inc. will work with housing and employment providers to help clients find and maintain jobs; acquire stable, independent housing; and gain the necessary skills to be successful.
  • The Supported Employment program provides one-to-one person centered supports to find and maintain paid employment. The FCS SE program can help in looking for the right job, getting ready for the interview, and improve job success by teaching helpful routines and working with their employer to ensure they get the aids and supports they need to be successful
  • To see if you client is eligible for services through Foundational Community Supports, you can submit a FCS Supported Employment Assessment Form (English). Spanish language form here.
  • All referrals should be submitted directly through Amerigroup. To apply, contact Amerigroup at FCSTPA@Amerigroup.com, call 1-844-451-2828 (TTY 711) or fax 1-844-470-8859. Amerigroup can be reached Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM at the phone number provided.
  • For more information about Supported Employment services please email Krystal Baumann or call 360-522-2363 

WELD Works

  • WELD Works serves as a transitional labor program to connect people with employment opportunities in construction, clean-up, and general labor services.
  • Serving King and Snohomish Counties, the program’s model facilitates transitions from temporary to permanent employment as a part of successful reentry. WELD Works is a division of Weld Seattle, whose mission is to equip system impacted individuals with housing, employment and resources conducive to recovery and successful reintegration. To apply:
  • Those interested in applying are encouraged to fill out this referral form, or contact Jay Pershing at (206) 972-8033 or email works@weldseattle.org

TRAC Associates Career Development Program  

  • TRAC Associates provides comprehensive vocational assistance services to job seekers regardless of employment background.
  • Their team of employment navigators and mental health councilors have locations across King County to connect applicants to a variety of job skills training programs and have relationships with employers across a variety of industries.
  • For more information contact Carrie Lewis at 206-466-7432