November 19, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting

Recording of Coalition Membership Meeting, 11/19/2020. Video starts 8 minutes in, please rewind to beginning

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.

October 15, 2020 General Membership Meeting

Recording of the Coalition General Membership Meeting, 10/15/2020.

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

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 Series: Additional Tools for Homeless Service Providers (Updated 11/09/2020)

Click here to Register for Financial Empowerment Training Series Pt III: Saving. Coming up on Wednesday, December 2 at 11am

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 Pt II: Setting Goals

Note: This video starts 11 minutes in, please rewind to beginning

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. 

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 Training Series Pt I: How to Discuss Finances

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.

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 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

July 30 2020 Financial Empowerment Workshop

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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