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.

 

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

This is your friendly reminder that our Single Adults Advocacy Committee meets this Thursday, October 9 at 12-noon at  the Plymouth’s Simons Apartments at 2119 3rd Ave (downtown Seattle), 2nd floor conference room.

We are thrilled to be joined by Kelli Larsen, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Plymouth and a Design Team member for the 25 Cities Initiative, who will share what is under discussion related to our community’s involvement in the national 25 Cities Initiative, designed to reduce homelessness among veterans and people who are chronically homeless. This includes 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.

Prior to the meeting, please do the following:

  1. Review the Vulnerability Index & Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT) so that you can provide your important feedback;
  2. Brainstorm your ideas about ways to improve the system that serves single adults who are homeless;
  3. And think through the ways in which a single adults coordinated entry system will be similar and different from the coordinated systems for youth and families.

We hope to see you there!

Shree Vigil & Mercedes Elizalde
Single Adults Advocacy Committee Co-Chairs
Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness

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). 

Youth Housing Connection: Two dates to celebrate 1 Year for YHC!

Attention Youth and Young Adults Committee members and other interested parties:

Here are two opportunities this month to celebrate one year of great work by the Youth Housing Connection (YHC) and to offer valuable feedback about changes and next steps for their second year.

Wednesday, September 17

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Tukwila Community Center (12424 42nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98168)

OR

Wednesday, September 24

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

2100 Building (2100 24th Ave S, Seattle)

Join the Committee to End Homelessness and the YHC team for YHC at Year One: Learnings and Reorientation to review lessons learned, correct misconceptions, and review opportunities for community feedback and training.This event is open to all stakeholders, community members and service providers, but funders, agency leadership, supervisors and front line staff are especially encouraged to attend. We hope you will be able to make it!

Recap: Coalition’s General Membership Meeting — August 21, 2014

F.A.S.T. -- Stroke SignsAt last week’s General Membership meeting, Heather Barr (aka Everyone’s Favorite Public Health Nurse) with Health Care for the Homeless led us in a presentation and training to quickly, safely, and calmly recognize and respond to health emergencies at work. With lots of information and a relatively brief amount of time to share it, she graciously provided her PowerPoint (with links to videos!) to us for distribution. 

Heather also gave us an easy and helpful homework assignment: watch these 5 videos related to responding to common medical emergencies. Each will reinforce what we learned and also help you to visually identify different types of emergencies. And here they are:

Here’s the link to download her entire presentation: Medical Emergency Recognizing and Responding to Medical Emergencies in Settings.

Join us next month for a special Coalition discussion of the Seattle Housing Authority’s rent change proposal at the General Membership Meeting. Mark your calendars – September 18 from 9-11 a.m. at the E. Cherry YWCA (2820 E. Cherry Street, Seattle, WA 98144).

What you need to know about upcoming short-term cuts to Food Stamps.

Today’s post is brought to you by Sara Robbins, Benefits Attorney at Solid Ground and Coalition on Homelessness Board Member. 

At the federal level it’s called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Here in Washington we call it Basic Food. But many just know the program that helps people who are low income put food on the table through monthly benefits as ‘Food Stamps.’ Keeping the names straight can be hard enough, but there’s something on the horizon that is even more important to be aware of and straighten out…

There is going to be a short-term cut in Food Stamps for some households in November and December.  It is going to be confusing. Be sure to thoroughly read this publication from Washington Law Help that explains the cut.

In the meantime, here are ways you can proactively help folks receiving Basic Food:

  • Emphasize that the benefit loss is for two months only.  Recipients should contact the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) if they do not receive two benefit deposits in January 2015.
  • Ask whether the household has separate utility bills that they pay each month – that is, utilities are not included in their rent.  If so, urge them to contact DSHS immediately to provide this information so they will continue to qualify for higher benefits with NO months of reduced benefits.   
  • Encourage new applicants for Basic Food to let their caseworker know if they have separate utility payments each month.

Contact me (see below) if you have any questions, and please share this publication with any staff that are working with clients/guests! 

Sara Robbins, Benefits Attorney
Phone: 206.694.6741 Fax: 206.694.6777
www.solid-ground.org  www.solidgroundblog.com