Event Announcement: The New York Experience with Rent Regulations (10/15)

Posted with permission from the Tenants Union of Washington State and Timothy Collins

The New York Experience with Rent Regulations
Timothy L. Collins – former Exec. Director, New York City Rent Guidelines Board

timothyOctober 15, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Tenants Union of Washington State, 5425 B Rainier Ave, Seattle, WA 98118

The Tenants Union of Washington State has invited Timothy L. Collins to talk about how rent regulations have worked in New York City.

Mr. Collins was Executive Director and Counsel of the New York City Rent Guidelines Board for seven years, managing a research and administrative staff for a board that sets rents for one million housing units in New York City. He has an unmatched grasp of the on-the-ground realities – economic, political, social and legal – of New York City and state rental housing and efforts to keep it affordable.

Mr. Collins also served as Assistant Attorney General of New York State in the Real Estate Finance Bureau, and as Assistant Counsel in the New York City Office of Rent and Housing Maintenance. He is currently a partner in the law firm of Collins, Dobkin and Miller LLP in New York City, and teaches constitutional history at Pace University there.

Mr. Collins will address both the controversies around rent regulation and the question of home rule for cities on housing issues.

For more details, see Mr. Collins paper: “Rent Regulation in New York: Myths and Facts” – http://www.seattle.gov/council/licata/attachments/Rent-Regulation-in-New-York-Myths-and-Facts.pdf

For more information: Tenants Union of Washington State, 206-722-6848, tenantsunion.org. Peter Costantini, jpetercostantini@comcast.net, 206-290-0219.

Homeless and Formerly Homeless Youth Advocacy Summit — Oct 5-6, 2015

A message brought to you by our Youth and Young Adults Committee Co-Chairs, Michael and Emily:

Friends! Mark your calendars as the 10th Annual Youth Advocacy Summit – brought to you by the Coalition’s Youth and Young Adults Committee –  will be taking place on October 5 and 6, 2015! 

2015 Youth Advocacy Summit FlyerJoin us at the next YYA Committee meeting to help solidify the planning of the Summit this Tuesday, September 8 from 10AM-11AM at the Capitol Hill Library Branch (425 Harvard Ave E., Seattle, 98102). We will have color Summit flyers available for you to bring back to your agencies! Please be sure to send a representative from your agency to attend. 

Agenda for the YYA Committee Meeting

  • Agency/Program Updates
  • Peer Leaders & Peer Leader Training
    • Thursday, October 11AM-4PM at HEYO Youth Space (1161 11th Ave in Capitol Hill)
    • Role of Peer Leaders
    • Agency Recruitment
  • Youth Participant Recruitment & Transportation
    • ​Who is doing recruitment from each agency
    • What agencies are sending staff?
    • What agencies can help arrange transportation (eg: car pools, bus tickets, etc.)
    • Other recruitment strategies?
  • Food and Other In-Kind Donations
    • ​What business relationships do we already have that we can utilize?
    • What resources do our agencies already have that can be donated?
    • Who can spend some time sending out some letters to secure donations?
  • Other Roles & Responsibilities
    • ​Day of staff / volunteer support

Start spreading the word about the Summit . . . 
Please help in spreading the word by forwarding this email along to interested youth and young adults and community stakeholders and by posting flyers in your respective youth serving agencies! Adult-identified staff members from youth servicing agencies are welcome to join in supporting the event as well—if you are interested in participating, please reach out!

  • Who: All former or current homeless or unstably housed youth and young adults (ages 13-26) are invited to attend.
  • What: SKCCH Youth Advocacy Summit, a two day advocacy summit providing opportunities for young people to have their voice be heard by city and County elected officials about issues  most important to them!
  • When: Monday, October 5 and Tuesday, October 6 from 830AM-3PM
  • Where: Seattle City Hall
  • Stipends are available for all participants who attend both days of the Youth Summit!
  • To register: email or call Michael Barnes at 206.957.1665, michaelb[at]lifelong[dot]org

More about the Youth Advocacy Summit . . . 
The two day Youth Summit is an opportunity for homeless and at-risk youth and young adults to talk about issues that are most important to them, and to learn and practice advocacy skills. Youth participants learn about how Seattle and King County governments set policies and budgets, identify issues that they care about that are affected by city and County funding priorities, and meet with elected officials to bring youth voice to bear on their decision making.

Recap: General Meeting on Examining Criminal Backgrounds and Housing – July 16 ,2015

This month’s meeting was another brought to you jointly by the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Coalition on Homelessness. We brought together a great team of folks to help us examine criminal backgrounds and housing. The room was packed with over 60 representatives from member organizations and more. Among those in the room were API Chaya, Pike Market Senior Center, Housing Justice Project, The Mockingbird Society, King County 2-1-1, Washington Family Counseling Serice, WSCADV, Theraputic Health Services, Organization for Prostitution Survivors, Valley Cities, Consejo, Urban Rest Stop – LIHI, Wellspring, YWCA, YMCA, King County Public Defense, REACH/LEAD, King County Housing Authority, Year Up, Jewish Family Services, Seattle Housing Authority, Housing Development Consortium, Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness, City of Seattle Human Services Department, Victim Support Team, Capitol Hill Housing, Multi-Service Center, City of Seattle Office of Housing, Columbia Legal Services, Carolyn Downs Clinic, Compass Housing Alliance, City of Kirkland, Bellwether Housing, Columbia Care, and the King County Department of Public Defense. Thank you all for joining in a great conversation!

On the agenda . . .


Examining Criminal Backgrounds and Housing

As an introduction to this much larger topic, we enlisted the help of local researchers, practitioners, and experts to guide us through the basics of what we know and what we are doing within our community regarding criminal backgrounds and housing, both market rate and subsidized.

I. What We Know, Part 1: Research. Madeline Neighly of Columbia Legal Services’s Institutions Project and Margaret King of Downtown Emergency Service Center walked us through two important pieces of research, and future policy changes, such as bringing Ban the Box, which has worked with employment, to the housing sector.

II. Background: What has been happening, and why is the Office of Housing involved? Maureen Kostyack of the Seattle Office of Housing led us through a helpful presentation, covering four topics: 1) mass incarceration and racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system; 2) Fair Housing: disparate impact or disparate treatment?; and 3) criminal background screening reports: a fair assessment of risk?; and 4) increasing access to housing — ongoing efforts in Seattle. See below to download both Maureen’s presentation and also Office of Housing’s guideline for selecting a tenant screening agency. 

III. What We Know, Part 2: The charges that make becoming house harder.  Peter Qualliotine, Martha Linehan, and Debra Boyer of The Organization of Prostitution Survivors (OPS) spoke about the impact of charges related to prostitution and sex work. For example, landlords don’t want to rent to people with these charges because they are fearful the tenant will continue to work out of their unit. OPS and other groups have worked hard to advocate for changes at the local level: increase the penalty on buyers, make referrals to services for women instead of charging them, and never charge a juvenile with prostitution. Peter spoke about the need to also change social norms around prostitution. There very clearly exists a hierarchy and judgement towards those who engage in sex work. OPS is available to lead staff training on these issues.

  • To set up a staff training or to learn more, contact Peter at OPS: peter@seattleops.org, 206.988.5463 x 804

IV. An open discussion about Reducing Barriers. Questions ran the gamut, and made clear the need for a future Case Manager Training, which the Coalition’s gearing up to take on. Topic of interest included: are landlords requests for higher deposits congruent with fair housing; what leverage exists to get landlords on board; what’s flexible and what’s (il)legal; how can one clean up their record, or assist others in doing so; how would the Office of Civil Rights investigate certain cases/issues?

Last, we heard from representatives of three housing organizations that worked with the Office of Housing to loosen eligibility requirements and blanket exclusions, as well as insert individualized assessments. Jennifer Westerman & Sarah Barnes of the Seattle Housing Authority, Rachael Simpson of Bellwether Housing, and Tristan Heart of Capitol Hill Housing each spoke about their process, the changes, and what they’ve learned so far. Jennifer encouraged providers to remind applicants to not screen themselves out because rules and processes have changed for the better. Tristan offered that, while anecdotal, Capitol Hill Housing hasn’t seen an increase in eviction nor violence at properties, affirming that one’s criminal record isn’t a good indicator of whether they will be a good tenant.

V. Additional Resources. Jason Austin with King County 2-1-1 announced that 2-1-1 produces ex-offender and sex offender reentry packets, containing helpful information and resources. Both can be found and downloaded from their website. Clients are welcome to call 2-1-1 and ask for this information to be mailed to them, particularly if they are currently incarcerated.


 

Thank you for a great meeting! We’ll be back with more information, especially about a related Case Manager Training.

Please note: the Coalition will not host an August General Membership meeting, but do continue to attend population committee meetings in August. Visit our website for meeting dates and times. 

*NEW* Shelter capacity for Women this summer – help spread the word!

We have exciting new shelter capacity (limited time – through August 17 for now) for women in Seattle, and we need everyone’s help to get the word out to service providers and the community at large.  This shelter is a partnership between the Salvation Army and Catholic Community Services, and referrals are through the Women’s Referral Center (Angeline’s).

The shelter is open every night, from 8.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m., at the Randolph Carter Center (23rd and Yesler). Late check in until 10.30 p.m. is O.K.  Van transportation is available.

Find details about this NEW Summer Women’s Shelter here! (pdf for download)

Thank you for helping to spread the word!

Recap: General Meeting and Street Drugs 101 Case Manager Training – June 18,2015

Taking Action at the General Meeting
TAKING ACTION at the General Meeting — making calls to our lawmakers!

What a meeting!  Among the friendly faces were representatives from SHARE, YWCA, Plymouth Housing Group, Housing Development Consortium, Child Care Resources, Compass Housing Alliance, Housing Justice Project, Hopelink, REACH/Evergreen Treatment Services, North Helpline, Catholic Community Services, Recovery Cafe, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, Jewish Family Services, Aridell Mitchell Home (Goodwill Development Association), Washington Family Counseling Service, ROOTS, YouthCare, El Centro de la Raza, Multi-Service Center, Year Up, and 2-1-1.

Following the General Meeting, representatives from even more organizations and community members joined us for our Street Drugs 101 + Naloxone + Related Laws training.

Both were informative meetings – Here’s a brief recap . . . 
[Psssst! Don’t miss out in the future — add our General Meeting dates to your calendar.]


June 18, 2015 General Membership Meeting Report-back

Smoking Ban update – On Thursday, May 28, the Board of Park Commissioners voted unanimously (8-0) to pass a smoking ban in Seattle Parks. This ban will take effect 30 days after the vote, likely beginning in July. While this is still a disappointing outcome, it’s important to remember the impact of our collective action. By speaking up with many community members and organizations, we were able to influence the removal of the $27 citation, ensure a “Right to Dispute” be made available, and see to it that there is oversight of enforcement. An emphasis of education is also a feature of this policy. Read the Seattle Parks and Recreation’s release about the new smoking ban. 

Now, we all have continued work to do to ensure that what is “in writing” is put into action, and that whatever plays out is brought to light. This means we need you, your colleagues, your friends and family, and, certainly, the people you serve who are (likely) most impacted by this policy to keep us informed about how the implementation and enactment of this policy plays out! Remember: the relationships we’ve formed with folks at Seattle Parks is part of the reason our advocacy is effective. When you speak up, people listen! Keep us informed by calling 206.204.8350 or by emailing us at speakup@homelessinfo.org. 

Coalition Updates —
The voter registration deadline for the August 4th primary is Monday, July 6! 
Help people you work with register to vote and make sure that your/their registration is current (download our flyer below). While it may not be a presidential election year, this year’s elections are very important because half of the King County Council and all nine of the Seattle City Council are up for reelection! These are the people who most directly affect our daily lives in Seattle and King County and since Seattle is re-districting, it’s a big year and important for everyone who is eligible to vote. Use our Homeless Voters’ Information guide to guide the process – the information about registering applicable, though the dates are for the last election. Visit our blog for more details and tips.

Download: FLYER about Registering to Vote in time for the Primary Election (print 2-sided on the long edge, then cut in half)

Project Cool for Back-to-School is well underway!

  • Volunteer Days will be Monday, July 13 – Sunday, July 19 with additional shifts on Monday and Tuesday, July 20 & 21 for backpack pickup and inventory of remaining supplies. Sign-up today through homelessinfo.org!
  • Interested in hosting a back-to-school supply drive? Contact hillary@homelessinfo.org!
  • Share the love and spread the word about Project Cool! The Pastor Darla DeFrance at the Church of Hope, where the Project Cool magic happens, posted information to Columbia City groups and a number of people signed up to volunteer!  Do you have an e-list or group that would love to hear about Project Cool? Feel free to loop them into the Project Cool magic!

Best Starts for Kids — We support this proposal as it will help ensure that children are healthy, safe, housed, and ready to learn. Click here to learn more about Best Starts for Kids (factsheet). King County Councilmembers need to vote yes to put the levy, as is, on the November Ballot. They need to hear from you NOW! TAKE ACTION: KC Alliance for Human Services call to action: http://kingcountyalliance.com/mobilize-the-time-is-right-now/

Legislative Special Session #2: The Good/Bad/Ugly/Take — Folks, there is a real possibility of a state government shutdown. Why? Because there’s an important hold out — for a fairer budget that prioritizes housing and basic needs. Here are some call-outs:

  • At least $80 million for HTF, $100 million for affordable housing
  • HB 2263 will allow local communities to raise the funds necessary to help create more affordable homes and maintain valuable mental health services.
  • Restore cuts to families receiving TANF benefits. I urge you to make sure that the final budget restores at least 9% of the 15% cut from TANF grants, and fully funds State Food Assistance.
  • Support our 2-1-1/ WA Telephone Assistance Program / Community Voicemail systems. Please make sure $1M in funding for 2-1-1 is included in the final budget.

Just as we did at the meeting, we encourage you to TAKE ACTION and contact your lawmakers, the Governor, and Sen. Andy Hill to share your support. Use (and spread!) this TAKE ACTION FLYER to send this important message to the folks who impact these last days of the 2nd Special Session the most. (To print: print two to one page by using “printer properties”.)


 

June 18, 2015 Street Drugs 101 + Naloxone + Related Laws Training

Presenter Kris Nyrop teaches a packed room about trends in Street Drugs
Presenter Kris Nyrop teaches us about trends in Street Drugs

Presenters Kris Nyrop (Defenders Association) and Mark Cooke (ACLU) led us through some pretty murky and at times complicated territory. Here are some highlights:

  • The United States leads the world in opiate use. We may just be 5% of the world’s population, but we responsible for over 90% of all opiate consumption.
  • Trends (over time) in drug use are very cyclic, and we’re currently in the midst of an amazingly high period of opiate overdose.
  • There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment. Drugs don’t effect everyone in the same way, though there are behavioral trends for certain types of drugs.
  • Naloxone (Narcan) will stop an opioid overdose in its tracks for 30-90 minutes, which gives enough time to keep someone breathing and to be transported to the ER. Naloxone is NOT addictive – it only serves one purpose: to stop overdose. It’s literally saving people’s lives and allowing them the option to work towards recovery. To get information, training, policy implementation materials, etc, about Naloxone. visit our locally-based friends and experts at StopOverdose.org. Are you a University District local? Contact Joe Tinsley at the Needle Exchange (joe.tinsley@kingcounty.gov; 206-477-8275)
  • Good Samaritan Law and Naloxone Bill — A person acting in good faith may receive a Naloxone prescription, possess, and administer Naloxone. Anyone who seeks medical assistance for themselves or on someone’s behalf cannot then be arrested for being under the influence of or having small amounts of illegal substances on their person. However, they can be arrested if they have outstanding warrants, or if they have what appears to be (or is) a commercial operation of producing or selling drugs (for example: lots of plastic baggies, scales, substances). There is grey area because neither the Good Samaritan Law or the Naloxone law have yet to come up in a court case; boundaries have not (yet) been tested.

Missed the meeting? Here’s a copy of Kris’s Street Drugs 101 presentation for you to download and share.

An important part of the training was the group discussion of how organizations have integrated – partially or fully – Naloxone into their work place. The range of experience was great, and still many staff said their organizations had yet to tackle Naloxone use/training, or had much to improve upon. For example, one organization said staff were trained but few knew where the Naloxone kit was actually kept.
Questions to bring back to your organization include:

  1. Do we have a Naloxone Policy? If not, let’s set that up!
  2. Are staff regularly trained? If not, let’s set that up!
  3. Can staff possess Naloxone, even if it’s their own personal prescription?
  4. Do all staff, interns, volunteers, program participants know who has Naloxone training? Have we communicated this clearly in other, visible ways (e.g., signs)?
  5. Have we trained all staff, interns, volunteers, program participants on Naloxone use?
  6. Does everyone know where the Naloxone is located? Is there always a person in the room who has access to it throughout hours of operation?
  7. Are the people who have access to Naloxone the people that program participants go to in case of an emergency?
  8. Have we made it clear that Naloxone is accessible at our site? How can we create an environment that says, “You can come to us for help! We’ve got your back.”

 

 

Recap: Coalition’s Youth & Young Adults Committee Meeting — June 9, 2015

Hepatitis Education Project LogoOn Tuesday the Youth & Young Adults Committee received training on Hepatitis (HCV) from Chelsea Amato with the Hepatitis Education Project. Besides delivering an incredibly informative training, Chelsea’s given us access to her entire presentation plus additional resources. Best of all, the good folks at Hepatitis Education project are always open to do workshops and testing for agency staff and/or our youth participants — do not hesitate to reach out and continue these conversations back at your respective agencies.

*Hepatitis Education Project hosts an evening Monthly Meet-Up (support group) every 1st Thursday of the month. If you’d like to receive email updates about the Meet-Up and any other events, be sure to contact Chelsea (chamato@hepeducation.org;  206-732-0311). She and her colleagues are happy to answer questions, take your referrals, provide testing and training at your agencies.

To reach Chelsea and the Hepatitis Education Project Crew:
Chelsea L. Amato, BSW
HEP Advocate and Educator
911 Western Ave.  #302  ● Seattle, WA 98104 ● 206-732-0311 ● 206-732-0312 (fax)
www.hepeducation.org ● www.hcvinprison.org ● Find us on Facebook!


Join us next month on July 14 for a training on Naloxone, and to dig into 2015 Homeless Youth Advocacy Summit preparations. See you then!

Recap: Coalition’s General Membership Meeting — May 21, 2015

General Membership MeetingYou packed the room at our May 21 General Membership Meeting. Among the friendly faces were folks from Farestart, Sound Mental Health, Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, Harborview, City of Redmond, Housing Development Consortium, Hopelink, 2-1-1, Solid Ground, Seattle Community Law Center, Compass Housing Alliance, ROOTS, Catholic Community Services – Aloha Inn, Jewish Family Services, YearUp, Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness, Real Change, Global to Local, City of Seattle Human Services Department, Seattle Parks Department, resident of Pioneer Square, UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry, 45th Street Youth Clinic (Neighborcare), Low Income Housing Institute, REACH, UW Law School, YWCA Landlord Liaison Project. This broad representation from our member organizations and community as a whole helped facilitate important, timely dialogue with Seattle Human Services Department Director and Deputy Director as well as Acting Parks Superintendent.

Here’s a brief recap . . . 
[Psssst! Don’t miss out in the future — add our General Meeting dates to your calendar.]

I. Discussion with Director Catherine Lester & Deputy Directors Heidi Albritton
Catherine stared by sharing her background, starting at age 4, to help us understand her motivations, perspective, and reasons why she does what she does. She has five over-arching focuses/goals for HSD:

  1. Results. Generate results that are measurable, and that increase equity and decrease disparity. Measures vary, and need to be properly applied (e.g., quality vs performance vs outcome).
  2. Public Stewardship. HSD has had audit findings each year for the last four years. This isn’t good for many reasons, two of which are: 1) calls the question about whether HSD can do the job, and 2) risks money that flows to providers.
  3. Preferred Employer. Create a working environment that is positive and productive. This absolutely includes ensuring that providers have better, positive experiences working with HSD staff.
  4. Innovation.(Let’s continue to honor innovations that already exist.) Spoke specifically towards “regionalism.” While this means different things to different people, Catherine wants to get a clear working definition that places Seattle as a part of a whole, and recognize that many other cities look to Seattle for their next steps. What we do matters to more than just Seattle because Seattle is a Regional City.
  5. Prepare for Future Differently. Capacity gaps both within our provider network and within provider agencies exist and those must be addressed to move forward effectively. Capacity gaps include, but are not limited to: data and evaluation, fiscal, employee.

II. City of Seattle’s Homelessness Investments and HSD plans going forward
[Link to Homelessness Investment Analysis]

  • Aimed to be City of Seattle-specific context setting to benefit Mayor Murray’s understanding of his department. The City of Seattle has ~$40 million annual investment in homelessness programs, and yet we still witness, each year, an uptick of people in need. Here’s what’s on the table to address:
    • Service Models: intervention, prevention
    • Funder issues: “I wish these funders would get their stuff together” is a common, known sentiment among providers.
    • Efficiency in how HSD contracts: 550 contracts with 200 unique organizations is not healthy nor sustainable. Must get a handle on this.
    • Data and Evaluation Capacity: HSD needs to allow organizations to make use of the data they submit, and HSD needs to make visible how data is used
  • Other mentionable points of discussion: 1) evaluate and, when appropriate, scale pilots, and 2) system readiness and capacity, both within HSD system and in our community (of providers)
  • Highlights from open Q&A: Pilot time frame; existing metrics that concern HSD; gaps in provider network; Safe Harbors (tabled this discussion); Outcomes, especially for shelters; coordinated entry systems; Partnership among HSD and providers re: planning; Quality of service – trainings for people from a variety of different backgrounds (i.e. someone with a record might not have the education we typically say is required for a job, but has the experience – provide training in such situations to make sure people’s potentials are being reached & experience is brought in).

III. Being Homeless in Public: Implications of the proposed Seattle Parks Smoking Ban 

  • Facilitation convo w/ remarks from Acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams and Susanne Rockwell
  • Overwhelming response regarding impacts of the proposed Seattle Parks smoking ban. In response, Parks will:
    1. Eliminate citation ($27)
    2. Create citizen advisory committee (approx. 5 people), whose purpose is to monitor enforcement data more regularly (e.g., every 90 days)
    3. Create a quasi-appeals process (e.g., “right to dispute”)
    4. Partner with Seattle/King County Public Health to connect folks with education about smoking and cessation programs.
  • Superintendent Williams stressed that the smoking ban will not result in the banning people from parks, which is in line with, and reinforces, changes to Parks policy in 2012. One could, after many warnings and couple with more egregious behaviors, be arrested; however, said person would never be banned from the park. Williams mentioned that he doesn’t think they will see people being arrested after 2 warnings because they will feel peer pressure to not smoke. Also mentioned Parks needs to educate about where people can smoke (sidewalks/public domain).
  • Principle surrounding the ban of smoking is similar to the ban on public consumption of alcohol and amplified sound.
  • Final vote will happen at May 28 Parks Commissioner meeting. Public comment will not be heard at this meeting, but all are welcome to attend (and submit written comment!). This vote is a recommendation to the Mayor to pass or not pass ban – then a letter is sent to the City Clerk and there is a 30 day pause on implementation.
  • Highlights from open Q&A: Exclusions Vape Pens and E-Cigs; Existing 25-foot rule; Discussion of Seattle Police Department enforcement and training; How citations would work; Success in other cities? Boulder, Colorado did this and it’s not going well; If we see a disproportionate effect on people who are homeless and unstable housed, then what’s next to fix?

IV. Good/Bad/Ugly/Take Action Updates: Olympia and (Seattle) Linkage Fee
Legislative Updates . . . Robin Zukoski, Columbia Legal Services

  • There is a different dynamic in Olympia this year, and that’s a good thing. True, we still have much advocacy work to do to build stronger programs over the coming years, and to ensure that the final compromise budget is a stronger one.
  • HEN/ABD – no proposed cuts this year, and that’s a win (even if it doesn’t quite feel that way). However, you need to contact your legislators and Department of Commerce to tell them the importance of HEN and the ways in which it needs to be strengthened in order to serve more people and serve all people better. And be sure to stay tuned because there’s concern that Legislators may try to fund other programs by gutting HEN/ABD. We’ll be sure to alert you as soon as Robin sends us the word to take action.
  • TANF is not faring well, and needs our advocacy to ensure that final budget compromise increases supports for TANF and the families and children who benefit.
  • WTAP/Community Voicemail, 2-1-1 Funding: good advocacy campaigns are in motion. Continue to send Legislators your cards, letters, and love notes about the importance of this program. They simply don’t understand it’s value and that people depend upon it.
  • Homeless Students Stability Act is still in play this special session. Everyone agrees on the concept, but many disagree on the money component. Stay tuned for a TAKE ACTION alert.
  • Housing Trust Fund: $80M is our target number at this point, but it’s not a done deal. Stay tuned for a TAKE ACTION alert.
  • This was a GREAT year for Youth-specific issues. See Coalition’s blog posts about the big wins.

Linkage Fee Updates . . . Kayla Schott-Bresler, Housing Development Consortium

  • Learn more and sign the petition at growingtogetherseattle.org.
    1. “Seattle is growing rapidly. Despite our work towards building a great city, the benefits of major growth and investment are not shared by everyone. We must act soon to keep modest-wage workers and their families from being forced to move away from our vibrant city because housing costs are too high.”
    2. “An affordable housing linkage fee is a tool that can help Seattle remain a place for people of all incomes to prosper in place. A linkage fee is a per square foot fee on new development to mitigate the increased demand for affordable housing caused by that development. It’s time to follow in the footsteps of cities across the country and adopt a strong affordable housing linkage fee program.”

V. Coalition Updates w/ Staff

  • Project Cool 2015- it’s here – get involved to support students who are homeless! For more info, contact Hillary@homelessinfo.org
  • ORCA LIFT – What’s working? What isn’t? What improvements do you recommend? What ideas do you have to get more people signed up? What would make the sign-up process easier? We’re working on all of these issues, and will be submitting the Coalition’s recommendations to Metro and the City of Seattle shortly. Stay tuned!
  • Report back from the 25th Annual Conference on Ending Homelessness – We want to hear from you about your three favorite workshops! Send rebecca@homelessinfo.org your response.

 

Join us next month for our joint General Membership (open meeting) and Case Manager Training (RSVP required). Topic: Street Drugs 101 + Good Samaritan Laws + Naloxone. Mark your calendars – June 18 from 9.00-12.30 a.m. at the E. Cherry YWCA (2820 E. Cherry Street, Seattle, WA 98144). 

Opening doors to the Conference on Ending Homelessness: the Coalition’s Scholarships for people who are homeless!

The air was warm and the sun was already out the morning we rolled into the Yakima Convention Center parking lot for the first day of the 2014 Conference on Ending Homelessness. Tracey with his sweet service pup, Jennifer, and I got out of my car and gave a big stretch after the two and a half hour drive from Seattle to Yakima, Washington, a beautiful drive indeed. On our drive over the mountains, we bonded over this being each of our first attending the statewide conference, and also found common ground over interest in workshops. Maybe it was the blood flowing back freely to our limbs, but we each felt a buzz and energy as we walked across the warm cement parking lot into a sea of fellow advocates and champions of housing and homelessness from around the state of Washington. We’d exchanged contact information, made check-in plans, and off we went into this new, exciting experience!

2014 Scholarship Recipient Susan speaking at 2015 Gong Ringing in Olympia
2014 Scholarship Recipient Susan speaking at 2015 Gong Ringing in Olympia

Staff from organizations who are plugged into the Coalition told Tracey, Jennifer, and Susan – our 2014 scholarship Recipients – about the conference and the Coalition’s full scholarships for people who are currently homeless. Last year, ten people applied for our two scholarships. Luckily, we were able to stretch the Coalition’s Scholarship Fund to provide two full and one partial scholarships.

 

Neatly packed into those three sentences are some important messages that I’d like to tease out:

  • People who are homeless must be involved in the conversations and work to end homelessness — that includes conferences such as this one!
  • It’s important to ensure access to opportunities like the Conference on Ending Homelessness, and in doing so, address the many barriers that prevent people from being able to participate. That’s exactly why we provide a FULL scholarship: travel, accommodations, meals, registration, supplies, and person-to-person support (as much or as little is desired).
  • Our member organizations do incredible work day in and day out to support not just their organization’s mission and the mission of the Coalition, but also the people they serve. They spread the word about the Coalition’s Scholarships and support their clients, residents, and guests by helping them apply and prepare for the conference!
  • The interest and need for these scholarships is obvious, and greater than the Coalition can currently meet.
  • Membership dues and YOUR financial support allow us to continue and grow to meet the need. Donate today to create opportunities for people who are homeless to participate in the Conference on Ending Homelessness! (Want streeeeettttcchhh your gift even farther? Maker your donation on Tuesday, May 6 during #GiveBig!)

rally on capitol building steps

After the conference, as I drove to the local Greyhound bus stop, we spoke about our experiences at the conference: our favorite presenters, the best workshop, the people we met, and how nice it was to have a big, soft bed with  ultra clean sheets.  Will you remember to send me those membership papers? I want to join the Coalition! I loved this – I learned so much, and got some business cards. That guy said he wants to help me. I hope I remember to get off the bus in Seattle — I’m so  tired!  Yes, sleepy we all were after two days of constant interaction and learning, but Tracey, Susan, and Jennifer had an energized spirit about them — they were inspired and felt a connection to the people in the room, all aiming to achieve the same mission: to see an end to homelessness in our communities.

Everything about this conference and those who attend inspires and energizes me. That is why I am excited to report that we recently put out our initial call for applicants for the 2015 Conference on Ending Homelessness, this year in Tacoma, WA! (And we already received our first applicant – hooray!) Those who apply know that this particular opportunity is important and all too rare. Whether by conference or one of the Coalition’s many other advocacy actions, together we will work collaboratively to ensure safety and survival for people who are homeless, and to end the crisis of homelessness in our region.

Join us.

 

Announcement: Dental Home Day on Wed, May 20, 2015

The following is an announcement from Wendy Cone Dore, Outreach and Marketing Manager with the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry. 


 

The University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry, in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and Sunstar, is hosting a very special event, “Dental Home Day” on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Appointments are required, but there will be a limited number of walk-up slots available on the day of service.

On this day, all children are invited to come for a day of free dental services.

We hope you will help us spread the word with the children and families you serve. We have room that day for 150 children to receive services, and registration will be first come-first served.

Services available that day include exams, fluoride application, teeth cleaning, sealants, fillings, crowns…..the full range of dental services for children 6 mos. through age 18 (and through age 20 if the child has special needs.)

In addition, any services needed for the child will be covered for a full year after Dental Home Day.

For this day, we will have a variety of fun activities for the children, their siblings and friends, as well as the dental services — ‘characters’, a storytime, games, oral health education and more. The Mariner Moose will be joining us!

The Center for Pediatric Dentistry is located at Magnuson Park — with free, easy parking and on a bus line. If a child is enrolled in Apple Health/Medicaid, we will also be able to help arrange transportation if needed and interpretation in 120 languages.

Please help us fill the chairs by encouraging the families your serve to bring their children for this day of service.

REGISTRATION/APPOINTMENTS OPEN MARCH 23 AND WILL BE FILLED ON A FIRST-COME/FIRST SERVED BASIS.
TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS, PLEASE CALL: 206-543-5800 AND ASK FOR DENTAL HOME DAY APPOINTMENTS.

Thank you for your help – together we will help keep kids healthy!

If you have any questions, please let me know. We look forward to providing this special day of service.

Wendy Cone Dore
Outreach and Marketing Manager
University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry
6222 NE 74th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 543-6703
wdore@uw.edu
www.thecenterforpediatricdentistry.com

Reflections on a rousing 2015 Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day!

2015 advocacy express advertizing photo On February 17, 2015, 650 of our closest friends and allies from all across the state of Washington gathered in Olympia at Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day to speak up for affordable housing and an end to homelessness.

Driven by an enthusiastic and cheerful bus driver, we headed to Olympia at 7:15 a.m. with 30 Coalition members and friends –  service providers, clients, residents, guests, and others. For some, it was their first time to Olympia and an introduction to advocacy in action. Others were veterans of HHAD. Everyone on the Advocacy Express bus was rearin’ and ready to make a difference, and that they did!

The Coalition’s Advocacy Express bus rolled up right on time to the morning activities, and found inspiration from the first of many speakers that day. Housing Alliance staff, State legislators, and superstar Real Change vendor Pam Russell all spoke how POWERFUL we housing advocates are when we speak up and act together. It’s because of our collective action and advocacy that the Document Recording Fee bill came back from the dead last session, remember!

Our rally at the Capitol steps was a sight to be seen (and heard!). We were inspired by the voices around us. People who have experienced homelessness personally, service providers, representatives from advocacy organizations, students, community members, and people from all walks of life from all over the state were represented as we chanted from the steps through the buildings of the Capitol:

“When they say ‘cutback’ we say fightback!”
“Get up, get down, there’s a housing crisis in this town.”

We were a sea of 650 people wearing red scarves, red shirts, red hats, and many people wore our One Night Count ‘3772’ and Student Homelessness ‘32,494’ buttons. Even as folks dispersed into their legislative district groups, we were unified and unmistakable throughout the halls of the Capitol. Each button and scarf quietly communicated a strong message of solidarity and the importance of these issues.

In addition to the work we do to recruit and transport folks to HHAD, we at the Coalition have the distinct pleasure of also delivering over 1,100 One Night Count advocacy postcards to legislators who represent parts of King County. Hillary and I had great conversations with many Legislative Assistants, some Legislators, and plenty of the helpful staff at the Capitol.

There’s enough energy, passion,and community at HHAD to recharge and reignite our commitment and resolve to take action and make change. Thank you to each and every person who participated! HHAD is but one day a year – and a great day at that – and the other 364 days are just as important. Whatever the method, make sure your legislators hear from you, and hear from you often. Every call, email, letter, and in-person visit throughout the year is what builds and sustains the momentum we need to make positive change in our communities and across our state for people who are homeless and unstably housed.

HHAD 2015 Bus ride home

Thanks for all you do to speak up!

– Hillary and Rebecca