Single Adults Advocacy Committee: Report back from 25 Cities Initiative + Coordinated Entry for Single Adults

The most recent Single Adults Advocacy Committee meeting on Thursday, October 9 was focused on our community’s involvement in the national 25 Cities Initiative, designed to reduce homelessness among veterans and people who are chronically homeless. With that included how ’25 Cities’ relates to coordinated entry for single adults, and how we can be good informants and advocates as these policies, programs, and budgets are developed. Kelli Larsen, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Plymouth and a Design Team member for the 25 Cities Initiative, led us in conversation. 

Here’s a brief report of what was discussed…

The 25 Cities Initiative is in the twenty-five cities where Veteran Homelessness is highest. Goal is to end homelessness, and, locally, we know that a single solution – just increase housing, or just coordinate the stock we have – is not enough. Within this goal is a focus on creating and implementing a single adults coordinated entry, much like has happened with families (Family Housing Connection) and youth (Youth Housing Connection). This is not an easy, straightforward or simple task: the single adults population is much, much larger and still very diverse. Officially, the four principles guiding this complex coordinated entry process are: (1) assess, (2) assist, (3), match, and (4) place. More loosely, leads on this project want to ensure that the system they create and implement is simple, meets real needs, and has true benefits (that eclipse any inherent negatives).

An example of the complexity is that it is not possible to screen thousands of single adults who are homeless, and perform regular check-ins. Our community has learned (and is still learning a lot) from the successes, complications, and frustrations associated with YHC and FHC. Plus, we want to be sure to coordinate the coordination that already exists. SAAC explored important elements of a coordinated entry system for single adults, as well as discussed positives and negatives of various components.

The assessment tool of choice at the national level is the VI-SPDAT, which Kelli shared with the group. In conjunction with our local community’s involvement with the 25 Cities Initiative, this tool was tested within a handful of agencies. SAAC talked bout the positives and negatives of the tool, areas for improvement (e.g., wording, language, tone, etc.), and what is missing. Some complicating factors are that this test does not appear to be adaptable, it doesn’t plug into our HMIS system, and the process for Case Managers to upload information had many glitches. Some SAAC members had administered the test, and shared their experience and feedback as well as compared it to the VAT. As a result of this conversation, Kelli will be sharing our valuable feedback about the VI-SPDAT with the ’25 Cities’ federal partners, as they are exploring ways to improve the tool with its designer, OrgCode.

Other points of discussion centered around willingness and ability of certain folks who are homeless to easily complete the process, or gather necessary documentation to move into housing (when available). Also brought up were concerns over how an assessment could discern situational-related issues, length of homelessness, and changes over time with clients that would affect their ‘score.’ Many discussed the need for – and current examples of – continuation and coordination of care for single adults – now popularly termed “case conferencing and navigation.” In addition, the need for translation was reviewed.


Here are the advocacy opportunities we heard about… 

NOV 4 ELECTION, AND VOTE YES ON PROP 1 FOR SEATTLE TRANSIT
Speak out and call on community members to add bus service by voting YES for Seattle Transit! You should have already received your ballot — please call 206.296.VOTE to get a replacement ballot. Remember: every day until 
November 4th is election day because we vote by mail!  Encourage those around you to vote, vote early, and vote YES for Seattle Transit – Prop 1. 

SHOW SUPPORT FOR A SOUND TRANSIT LOW INCOME FARE
What’s better than one low income fare? Two that work together to keep our community members moving. We are thrilled to announce that Sound Transit is requesting YOUR input for their proposed low income fare program, which will be modeled after the low income Metro fare we worked so hard to win.

Click here to take Sound Transit’s low income fare proposal survey, and be sure to add YOUR comments about how this fare would help you, your colleagues, and the clients and guests you serve. The deadline for submission is a mere 10 days away (10/23) – don’t wait to share your support!

Here’s an opportunity to speak out and show your support in-person: Sound Transit Public Hearing - Thurs., Oct. 23 from Noon – 1 p.m. @ Union Station: 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle

SHOW UP FOR CITY OF SEATTLE AND KING COUNTY BUDGET HEARINGS
The Seattle City Council and the King County Council is in the process of meeting to set budget priorities and begin making adjustments to the Mayor’s and Executive’s budgets.  We need to REPRESENT at these public budget hearings. Invite residents, guests, clients, co-workers, and community members to stand alongside human services workers and advocates as we press our budget recommendations.

Not sure what’s at stake in the budget process? Check out our Budget Advocacy postcards to get on-point messaging! We encourage all those folks to fill out and deliver or send in the Coalition’s City and County Budget Advocacy Postcards (in the ‘What’s Hot’ box on the homepage).

Seattle City Council Budget Committee Hearing
Thursday, October 23 at 5:30 p.m.

King County Council Budget Committee Hearings
Thursday, October 23, at 6:30 p.m. (Kent)
Wednesday, October 29, 6:30 p.m. (Seattle)

More information is available in the Coalition’s earlier blog post.

 

Families with Children Committee: Back-to-school reports and the future of joint FWC-FHI meetings

Our Families with Children (FWC) Committee gathered in September to discuss the future of its new quarterly joint meeting with the Committee to End Homelessness’ Family Homelessness Initiative. They also reported back on the start of the new school year for the students who are homeless that they serve. Here are some brief notes from the discussion:

HOW DID START OF SCHOOL GO FOR MCKINNEY-VENTO STUDENTS?
Please be sure to e-mail rebecca[at]homelessinfo[dot]org
with your back-to-school experience(s).

  • Backlog of enrollment paperwork
    • In Seattle, had students who didn’t go the first 2 days of school because of this.
    • Others said the first two days of school had VERY fast turn-around re: paperwork, but slowed significantly after that.
  • Transportation
    • Reports of buses  being 1.5 hours late – A. Moon (Mary’s Place)
    • Reports of taxis being 2 hours late – A.Moon (Mary’s Place)
    • Case Manager said she went above and beyond to verify and confirm – multiple times – that the orders were correct. And still, these delays happened. She even had a taxi with incorrect orders and wouldn’t take the student to the correct school!
    • In West Seattle, it took one week to get a bus to pick up a student.
    • Safety concerns of younger students being assigned ORCA cards instead of a taxi or bus
    • No one reported ORCA card issues (e.g., then not being loaded)
    • Multiple people reported having concerns and questions around the 1-mile rule  (i.e., no transportation, must walk). Case Manager said that 2-mile rule for homeless families who live in Queen Anne is quite difficult. There is a much greater impact of this rule for families who are homeless
  • Proactive and flexible engagement from Liaison
    • Liaison w/ Lowel (school) came to provider to talk through McK-V and connect with families. SUPER HELPFUL
  • In class/Teacher issues
    • Parent said middle-school aged son was marked down in class because he didn’t have correct school supplies. The teacher didn’t know he was McK-V student. KS worked with Child Care Resources to get supplies, and to report to principal and work with teacher. School doesn’t seem to understand that they’re ‘on the hook’ to do better. And Jr. high and HS is very challenging because there are so many more teachers.
    • Parent shared that her other child is being pulled out of SpEd by the school. This doesn’t make sense since her child is visually impaired.
  • Agency Supports
    • Sacred Heart said things went really well. They met with families earlier than normal, and that was a big help.

CEH/FHI DISCUSSION -  future conversations, points of learning

  • Strategies
  • Shared results
  • Topics:
    • DIVERSION
    • SYSTEMS REALIGNMENT: changing of housing stock, realignment
    • DATA – there’s such a focus on quantitative, but where’s qualitative. And how do we ensure that happens? Idea for FWC to organize around this as combined we have huge amounts of rich experience w/I organizations and families served.
    • re: RRH: feels like there are high expectations, and there’s a reality of the affordability of housing. Not easy, not quick process. Landlords aren’t exactly on-tap.
    • LANDLORD ENGAGEMENT: Concerns about TANF families who have gotten housing in rental market. While no case manager wants to stop homeless families from becoming housed, we want to do everything to make sure that they aren’t “rapidly unhoused.”
    • ACCESSIBILITY OF UNITS
    • REFERRAL PROCESS: many involved in the Pilot said they have empty units, and are loosing money. Families are being referred that don’t actually qualify.
    • “BARRIER REMOVAL WITHIN SYSTEM”
    • RRH – after the pilot is over: what modifications do we suggest, and how can we work to follow up. Discussion about how and when evaluation is conducted.
    • EVALUATION: want to truly understand what this means, when it happens, what’s involved, who does it, etc.
    • OUTCOMES: “who’s the keeper of transparency in that system”
    • DEFINITION OF SUCCESS: what is the definition, who defines it, is it open to suggestion, and in what ways does it differ from our organizations’ definition of success?
  • Meeting structure: this is what the group wants to hear more about at each joint meeting, and especially the upcoming joint meeting. [ we spoke about the RRH pilot evaluation process as an example]
    • Who makes decisions
    • Who’s involved in the committees, subcommittees, participating agencies, etc.
    • Who is the audience of each of the FHI, CEH, FWC mtgs?
    • Who has influence? And to what degree?
    • Families who have voice – how does FHI reach out to them, and where can others input?
    • Clarity – generally speaking
    • Focused guiding questions are very helpful, but don’t need handouts early.
    • Comment: “Will what we say have an impact?”
    • Funders: taking a backseat would be helpful, and make sure that they are clear on focus of meeting.
    • Request for built-in structural parameters of what’s being facilitated, and who is facilitating.

In lieu of the regularly-scheduled November FWC meeting, please mark your calendars and plan to attend the November 6 community meeting on Family Coordinated Entry.

The consultants contracted to review our community’s coordinated entry for families – Katharine Gale and Kate Bristol (Focus Strategies) – will review their findings, present information on other  system models, and facilitate dialogue around key challenges. This is an open meeting for all, not just organizations who participated in the Pilot project. Your presense, comments, and feedback are important — join us!

Community Meeting on Family Coordinated Entry
Thursday, November 6, 2014 from 9 am – 12-noon
Tukwila Community Center, Banquet Room
12424 42nd Ave S., Tukwila, WA 98168
For questions and to RSVP, please contact michelle[dot]valdez[at]cehkc[dot]org

Join us as we dig into the Seattle Housing Authority’s new Stepping Forward proposal

sha logoMany people have contacted us about the Seattle Housing Authority’s (SHA) new Stepping Forward proposal, which involves changing the rent structure for SHA properties and voucher programs for tenants who are not elderly or disabled: rents would no longer be tied to the household’s income. There is important context for this proposal, and SHA has been a key partner in prioritizing people who are homeless for available subsidized housing. Many good questions and concerns are being raised, including by members of the Coalition, and by Seattle’s Mayor. 

Join us for an important opportunity to learn about and discuss this proposal at our September 18 General Membership meeting.  We expect the conversation to continue at our October meetings, too. We will welcome staff from SHA who will present the proposal in detail, and answer questions.  We anticipate a robust and respectful discussion. 

Please prepare for this conversation by reading the Seattle Housing Authority’s proposal, their Frequently Asked Questions about Stepping Forward guide, and the Tenant’s Union’s factsheet. And please talk with your colleagues and the people you serve about SHA’s past, present, and future role in our community’s response to homelessness and the affordable housing crisis.

Additionally, SHA invites your comments, concerns, and feedback on this proposal via steppingforward@seattlehousing.org or at a public meeting (schedule below).

Date & Time Location
Sept. 16, 6 p.m. Meadowbrook Comm. Cntr., 10517 – 35th Ave NE
Sept. 17, 6 p.m. Yesler Community Cntr., 917 E Yesler Way
Sept. 22, 6 p.m. Rainier Community Cntr., 4600 38th Ave S
Sept. 23, 6 p.m. NewHolly Gathering Hall, 7054 – 32nd Ave S
Sept. 29, 6 p.m. High Point Comm. Cntr., 6920 34th Ave SW

And remember, there’s no better place to gather accurate and timely information and take part in deep discussion than at our General Membership Meetings. We’re looking forward to seeing you on Thursday the 18th! Same place and time: 9-11 a.m. at the E. Cherry YWCA (2820 E. Cherry St, Seattle, 98144). 

Resources from our “Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101″ workshop

Link

Help and support signpostWe had such a great turnout at our “Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101” workshop on August 26, 2014, and we hope you found the topic just as engaging and informative as we do. As promised, here is a list of resources our wonderful presenter, Katara Jordan from Columbia Legal Services, put together to navigate common hurdles that prevent homeless students and their families from accessing the valuable services they need to get to and stay in school.

Basic Education Rights and Opportunities in Public Schools

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/publications/manual_basic_education_rights.pdf

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/publications/manual_basic_education_rights_spanish.pdf

How to be an Education Advocate

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/publications/manual_education_advocate.pdf

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/publications/manual_education_advocate_spanish.pdf

Protecting the Educational Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Schools

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/publications/manual_students_with_disabilities.pdf

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/publications/manual_students_with_disabilities_spanish.pdf

Ombudsman’s services

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/publications/2a_english.pdf

Other general information including the above handouts:

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/publications/default.asp

Serving Students Experiencing Homelessness under Title I

http://center.serve.org/nche/downloads/briefs/titlei.pdf

What Service Providers Should Know

http://center.serve.org/nche/downloads/briefs/service_providers.pdf

Washington HomelessYouth.org Project

http://homelessyouth.org/washington

 

Youth and Young Adults Committee Recap from August 12, 2014 Meeting — Take Action!

Thanks to all who came to the Youth and Young Adults Committee’s (YYAC) August meeting! Folks from Teen Feed, YouthCare, Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR), End the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC), New Horizons, Seattle Youth Ministries (SYM), Youth Housing Connection, Auburn Youth Resources, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, and ROOTS joined to discuss and plan the upcoming Youth Advocacy Summit, a project of the YYAC. Be sure to mark your calendar for the Summit: September 22-23, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Seattle City Hall’s Bertha Knight Landes room.

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About the Youth Advocacy Summit … The Youth Summit was designed to be a meaningful entry into civic engagement for young people who have already experienced disenfranchisement.  The Coalition and YYAC work to make sure that the people who are directly affected by public policies are part of dialogue, debate, and decision-making.  The Youth Summit is an exciting and important way to:

  • Engage young people in expressing their opinions, identifying priorities, and speaking up powerfully
  • Inform local decision-makers who often don’t hear from youth or people who are homeless or struggling to stay housed
  • Support active and informed participation in democracy to make sure that Everyone Counts!

TAKE ACTION! As members of Coalition’s Youth & Young Adults Committee, your role is to work with youth participants to shape the summit, and to connect it to on-going advocacy and public education about Seattle and King  County budget processes. As staff, we need your help to recruit and train peer leaders to help with facilitation, and support young people in communicating effectively about their issues to local elected officials and government staff.

Additionally, we need your help to secure food donations and contributions for the two-day event. Contact (Rebecca) at rebecca@homelessinfo.org for more information. Have a place in mind? We’re created this letter template for your use: 2014 Food Donation Solicitation Letter_YouthSummit.

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We were also joined by representatives from YUIR/EPIC, who shared important information about the No New Youth Jail campaign. As brief history, an initiative passed in 2012 to create a youth jail in the Central District of Seattle. YUIR believes that this isn’t the right path for our community, for youth, or for folks of color who are disproportionately represented among those in jail. YUIR’s motto is ‘Prevention, not Detention.’  Their next action is a silent protest on Sept. 2 at 12-noon at the King County Council Building — plan to attend and please do share their No New Youth Jail_ Silent Protest flyer. To get more information, contact James Williams: 253.883.9548; jamesatdu@hotmail.com.

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We heard from TeenFeed about the launch of their new Youth Access to Care (YAC) program, which provides support for homeless and street-involved youth and young adults as they access healthcare resources. 2014 Youth Access to Care program flyer

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Hatlo shared information about Queer Youth Network’s upcoming meeting. Check out this flyer for information about what QYN is, when they meet, and how to get involved: 2014 Queen Flyer_Meeting Dates.

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Please join us at our next meeting – the last before the Youth Summit – on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Capitol Hill Library.

Register today — ‘Helping Homeless Students’ workshop

We are excited to announce that registration is now open for
Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101 workshop
Tuesday, August 26, 9.00 – 11.15 a.m.
Highline College in Des Moines, WA
FREE, but pre-registration required!

The Coalition’s “Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101″ workshop is designed for school staff, nurses, and case managers to provide an overview of educational rights and common issues for homeless students. Presented by Katara Jordan, attorney with Columbia Legal Services, this workshop will introduce the federal McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act, which promotes educational stability, school access, support for academic success, and child-centered decision-making for homeless youth, children, and families.

2013-14 Helping Homeless Students GuideIn addition to providing a better understanding of the law, we intend this workshop to serve as a timely, informative, and collaborative platform between school staff and community-based case managers to work together effectively to support homeless students and their families. We’ll cover the basics, and address common thorny issues related to enrollment and transportation; working with unaccompanied youth; and participation in after-school activities. Together we’ll problem-solve and share ideas and strategies for back-to-school and throughout the school year.

By the time you leave the training, you should have both a solid understanding of the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act, and valuable sources of information and professional resources to turn to within your local community, your school district, in Washington, and nationally to aid in your work to reach homeless youth at schools.

We are excited to bring staff from Coalition member agencies together with local public school staff to learn about the educational rights of homeless students, and how to support them at the start of the new school year.

Please help us spread the word, and register today!

Note: Registration priority will be given to Coalition members and staff at local public schools.