Helping Homeless Students: McKinney Vento 101 Info & Resource Session for Homeless Service Providers

Thank you to everyone who attended our Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101 Information and Resource Session on Thursday September 3. A huge thank you to Kayla Blau, Mehret Tekle-Awarun, Samie Iverson, Oliver Alexander-Adams, Karen Pillar, Sharonne Navas and Jessyca Murphy for sharing their knowledge and passion with us. We appreciate the lively conversation had in the chat box and out loud during the workshop.

You can review some of the tools and resources discussed at the information session below. If you have questions or wish to provide additional materials to this collection, please email your questions to Jason.

Recording of Helping Homeless Students Info & Resource Recording  Password: Students101!

Read about Education Rights for Homeless and Unstably Housed Students, which includes our updated 2020-2021 King County McKinney Vento Liaison list.


Building Changes

Click here to view Building Changes’ PowerPoint presentation.
  • Mehret Tekle-Awarun and Samie Iverson shared information about Schoolhouse Washington, a project of Building Changes. In partnership with the Raikes Foundation, they have created the Washington State Student and Youth Homelessness COVID-19 Response Fund to augment existing public dollars that will be used to support students, youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Building Changes will distribute funds to help organizations, schools, and local tribes meet needs that may otherwise be difficult to fulfill or sustain without additional assistance. 
  • Student Needs Survey: To identify homeless students most immediate needs, Schoolhouse Washington also surveyed McKinney-Vento liaisons across the state who work directly with highly mobile students and their families. In return, they received responses from liaisons in 74 school districts across 32 counties who collectively serve nearly 17,000 students experiencing homelessness in Washington State. Click here to review the findings of their study.
  • The top five needs identified by survey respondents were: food, mobile hotspots/internet access, devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, computers, phones), hygiene supplies, and rental assistance. Narrative responses shed light on what school districts are doing to try to meet basic needs, increase educational access, and stay connected with students and their families. Some promising practices have emerged, such as the formation of new and creative community partnerships. However, just as illuminating are issues and student populations that did not show up in survey responses, such as equity, English language learners, students living with disabilities, and survivors of domestic violence.
  • Read the summary of their findings here.

TeamChild

  • Their mission is to uphold the rights of youth involved, or at risk of being involved, in the juvenile justice system to help them secure the education, healthcare, housing and other supports they need to achieve positive outcomes in their life. If you would like to request  assistance, please complete this referral form or call toll free (877) 295-2714
  • Karen Pillar, staff attorney with TeamChild helped us review legal rights afforded to homeless school age children, including questions related to attendance and tips for navigating the school district conflict resolution process. They have produced an Education in the Wake of COVID-19 Know Your Rights Manual for more information on this topic.

Equity In Education Coalition

  • The Equity in Education Coalition (EEC) is a statewide civil rights organization focused on revolutionizing education so that a child’s race and zip code aren’t the predicating factors in defining their success. They envision a future where the opportunity gap is eliminated in Washington State – a future where every child of color in Washington achieves success from birth through their careers. To achieve this vision, EEC continues to build a movement of power within communities of color to advocate for an education system that promotes equity. Click here to learn more about their work.
  • EEC is hosting a mask fundraiser to support their work to undo institutionalized racism in the education system, click here to learn more.
  • Sharrone Navas shared information about the Washington’s Address Confidentiality Program (ACP),  a records protection and mail forwarding service. Passed by legislature in 1991, ACP is used as part of an overall safety plan to prevent perpetrators from locating participants throughout public records such as driver licenses, voter registries and marriage records. Washington’s Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) has helped protect survivors of crime for more than 25 years. The program is available to Washington residents who are targets of stalking, domestic violence, trafficking or sexual assault. In 2011, the ACP expanded to include criminal justice employees who have been threatened or harassed because of their work. Currently, the ACP serves more than 4,500 Washingtonians. Washington’s ACP was the first program of its kind in the nation. Today some 35 other states have established similar programs.

Path with Art

  • A Seattle based nonprofit dedicated to healing transformation through art and art therapy. Their mission is to connect with those carrying various form of trauma and harness the power of creative engagement as a bridge to community and a path to stability. Check out some of their free remote offerings here.
  • Path with Art is interested in partnering with family service providers to bringing remote enrichment opportunities to families with children experiencing homelessness in King County. If your program is interested, please complete this survey or email Jessyca Murphy.  

Coalition on Homelessness Updates

  • Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT): A one-time food voucher 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. Application deadline Friday September 11, for more information please review these training materials.
  • 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. 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. Please take two minutes to fill this survey so we can help ensure your residents and guests get counted.
  • Monthly Meeting Reminder: In addition to hosting workshops for service providers, The Coalition on Homelessness also hosts monthly membership meetings on the third Thursday of every month from 9am to 11am via Zoom. These meetings are a space to learn about topics relevant to staff working directly with clients, residents, tenants, and guests experiencing homelessness, discuss current homeless services and housing issues, speak up and take part in advocacy, and network with colleagues and allies from around King County. Our next meeting is on Thursday, September 17 at 9am, click here to register.

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.

Website links for kids and learning during COVID-19 – updated 5/22/2020

Thanks to one of our Coalition members for compiling the start of this list! We’ll add more as we hear about other resources – if you have ideas to add, please email projectcool[at]homelessinfo.org

Free computer resources for kids

Cirque de Solielhttps://www.cirquedusoleil.com/cirqueconnect – watch a different hour long show on-line, see behind the scenes and more!

Google Arts & Culturehttps://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en
Google is offering free virtual tours of more than 1,200 museums across the globe.

ABCmouse.comwww.abcmouse.com
ABCmouse is offering their lessons in different subjects like math, science and art for free thanks to UNICEF. All you have to do is go to ABCmouse.com/redeem and type in the code “AOFLUNICEF”

Readworks.orghttps://www.readworks.org/
If you’re looking to really zoom in on reading comprehension, Readworks is going to be a great fit for you, providing content from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. Readworks is a nonprofit, donation-based service, and the suggested donation is $25, though you can access the content for free.

123 Homeschool4mehttps://www.123homeschool4me.com/home-school-free-printables/
Resources are organized by subject and grade. Helpful education activities to keep kids learning and printable worksheets when you need them to sit and get some work done.

Arcademics – https://www.arcademics.com/
Multiplayer educational games for KG-8, from free math games to language games. Combines the excitement of video games with educational content to produce a high rate of learning.

Bedtime Math – http://bedtimemath.org/bedtime-math-for-families/
Bedtime Math provides free apps, books and printable activity pages. The platform is targeted toward children age 2 through elementary school.

BeeLine Reader – http://www.beelinereader.com/education
Improves the reading ability of students of all ages and skill levels. Free access to the BeeLine Reader Browser Plugin for Chrome through September 2020. Email education@BeeLineReader.com for a free account!

BlocksCAD – https://www.blockscad3d.com/distance_learning
BlocksCAD builds math and computer science skills by using specialized 3-D CAD (computer-aided drafting) software. A block-based coding platform allows students to create and manipulate 3-D objects while using geometry and computational thinking skills.

BrainPOP – https://www.brainpop.com
BrainPOP invites students to discover, play and create, enriching and deepening their understanding of topics across the curriculum. Children are encouraged to make movies out of images, build maps and develop their block-based coding skills. BrianPOP Jr. targets children from 0 to 3 whereas BrainPOP focuses on K-12 grade children.

Club Oasis – http://social.oasismatters.com/
Club Oasis is a free online STEM club for children and parents. Join the DYI STEM labs, live classes, coding lessons and live pop-ups. Activities are targeted toward elementary schools students and older.

Coolmath4kids – https://www.coolmath4kids.com/
Kindergarten to sixth grade. Kids can work on addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions through online math games, quizzes, manipulatives and more. For kids 13 and up, visit their sister site at coolmath.com.

Desmoshttps://teacher.desmos.com/
Desmos is a learning community that provides students with incredible online tools to help them visualize math problems and creating interactive tutorials where students can “do” and collaborate in real time. Turn math into a game and play it in a team with kids from all over the world.

Dictionary.com – https://www.dictionary.com/
Build your vocabulary daily and learn about trending words! Hop online to see the word of the day and test your knowledge by the end of the week. There are several ways to build your vocabulary on Dictionary.com; improve your language skills with word games, see what words are trending in the news, learn about the English language, and simply browse the dictionary by focusing on one letter at a time.

Discovery K-12 – http://discoveryk12.com/dk12/
Discovery K-12 is a great addition to kids’ pre-K to 12th-grade curriculum. Free lessons and activities are available in seven directives: language arts, reading, math, science, history/social studies, performing arts and physical education.

Dreamscape – https://www.squigglepark.com/dreamscape/
This free game allows kids to have fun while engaging them in reading activities and challenging their skills. Dreamscape understands that kids learn in several ways, one of which is through games which aim to foster the growth of early literacy skills. This includes print knowledge, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonetics, high-frequency words and spelling. These games are for children in grades 2-8.

DuckDuckMoose – http://www.duckduckmoose.com/
If you’re looking for some apps for the tablet, we recommend DuckDuckMoose for the preschool to kindergarten set. Graphics and interface are engaging and easily accessible for children. From puzzles, maps, to fun music apps where you can learn notes and rhythm, kids gravitate enthusiastically to this sister site of Khan Academy.

Duolingo – https://www.duolingo.com/
This free app site is perfect for your bilingual child to work on a series of practice exercises. From Arabic to Portuguese, kids will not fall behind with these fun and educational lessons.

Everyday Earth – https://www.everyday-earth.com/
Have you ever wondered how water changes Earth’s landscape or how are rocks formed? Take a walk with an Oklahoma Park Ranger on a video mission and learn the answers to these and many other questions related to nature and wildlife.

Everyday Learning – https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/everyday-learning/
A PBS Learning Media resource that is perfect for pre-K kids. Topics from math, science to art provide early childhood resources to strengthen kids’ interest and sense of discovery.

Khan Academy – https://www.khanacademy.org/
Khan Academy is a free resource for students, parents and teachers. From exercises, quizzes, tests and instructional videos, students can practice and master educational skills. This resource is available in 40 languages and offers instruction from kindergarten to early college math, grammar, science, history, AP courses, SAT prep and more.

Little Twisters Yoga & Emotional Wellness – https://littletwistersyoga.com/
For kids ages 2 and up this resource with tips on how to engage kids through yoga. Fun printable lessons like Space Shape Yoga and Kids Yoga Cards are free for all during the COVID-19 school closure and quarantine.

Mathcelebrity.com – Need help with your math homework? The next time you get stuck on a math problem and want to learn step by step how to solve it, use Math Celebrity. Plug the problem in and see how to solve it. Get the answer and see where you went wrong.

Math Scorehttp://www.mathscore.com/
KG – seventh grade. It contains all of the major components of a learning system, such as assessments, math topics, lessons and score tracking for parents and teachers who want to assess the child’s progress. With MathScore Freemium, you can use the platform for free and only choose to pay when a student is ready for the premium content.

Metkids – https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/metkids/
Kids ages 5 and up. Give kids a dose of art and culture. Kids can learn about a particular period or collection and explore art via the “Time Machine,” starting as early as 8000-2000 BC to present time with fun facts and videos.

Minecraft Education Edition – https://education.minecraft.net/
Perfect for Minecraft fanatics, this Minecraft Education Edition focuses on coding, math, problem-solving all via the Minecraft way. Kids will love this education version while parents will love that it is free!

NaNoWriMo – https://www.nanowrimo.org/
This site is for the young writer who is itching to write a novel … in 30 days. Common Core-aligned lesson plans from prewriting to publishing help kids to develop and fine-tune their writing skills. For students who are up for using their imagination to create another world or simply tell their story. From lower elementary to high school.

PBS Kids – https://pbskids.org/
For toddlers up to pre-K students. Kids can also hop on their favorite shows such as Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train, where games are designed to enrich their education.

ProjectGutenberg – https://www.gutenberg.org/
A free library of over 60,000 free eBooks that include a children’s literature category where kids can download or read online classics like “Little Women” and “Peter Pan.”

Scholastic – https://www.scholastic.com/home/
Students can visit the Scholastic website for a wealth of educational activities from grades pre-K and up.

Scholastic Learn at Home https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
They are offering their lessons for free. You can choose activities within from grade levels between PreK and 6+. These include e-books kids can read along with, and educational videos under their “Watch and learn Library.”

Sesame Street – https://www.sesamestreet.org/
With a mission to help kids meet critical early development needs. One of the best resources for the pre-K and kindergarten set, as well as kids with special needs. You’ll find video, games and art projects online.

Science Friday – https://www.sciencefriday.com/
For elementary to high school students with lessons that engage through stories and podcasts. Segments in categories like Physics & Chemistry, Earth Science, Brain and Biology, and more will provide kids with a new way of seeing science.

Storylineonline.net – https://www.storylineonline.net/
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Story Online features cool videos were celebrities such as Sarah Silverman and Chris O’Dowd read books that entertain, providing you a bit of time to get some work done.

Wonderopolois.com – http://wonderopolis.org/
On this cool site, kids can learn about a 2,000-plus wonders of the world. Questions come from the site’s users and cover a wide range of topics such as Why Do Whales Breach? Kids are full of wonder, and this site has many of the answers.

https://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/events-programs/curiosity-at-home/ (this is interesting, has videos to watch)

http://samblog.seattleartmuseum.org/category/stay-home-with-sam,video,sams-collection,object-of-the-week,exhibtions,behind-the-scenes

https://www.seattletimes.com/life/at-home-with-kids-because-of-coronavirus-closures-here-are-23-fun-activities-using-stuff-you-already-have

https://www.seattleaquarium.org/live-cams

https://scratch.mit.edu

From Seattle Public Library:

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

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

Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

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

Pioneer Human Services  

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

Multi-Service Center

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

Foundational Community Supports Supported Employment

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

WELD Works

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

TRAC Associates Career Development Program  

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

Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy Renewal and Expansion: Advocacy Needed!

For over a decade, the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy (formerly known as the Vets and Human Services Levy) has funded critical healthcare, supports, and housing for our neighbors who need them most, along with domestic violence, public health, and other services.

Executive Constantine recently transmitted a strong proposal to King County Council, expanding the levy to be 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Now we need to urge King County Council members to BUILD ON and INCREASE that proposal, and place it on the November 7, 2017 ballot. People like YOU can help make this happen!

Take Liz Werley-Prieto as an example. Liz is the Project Manager of shelter programs at DESC who spoke at the conference on June 1st. Liz eloquently addressed how the importance of funding the levy is born out through the interactions between service providers and those they serve. Read Liz’s testimony then take action using this link and information below

Read Liz’s testimony here from May 31, 2017 at King County Council:

My name is Liz and I work as the Project Manager of DESC’s shelter program, located right across the street. Since January first, the shelter program registered more than 800 homeless clients seeking shelter who had not interacted with DESC’s services before. Almost without exception, the primary need expressed by these individuals was a place to live, and as service providers we have had to set the expectation again and again that getting a home will almost certainly be a long and difficult process, or that it might not happen at all.

Being homeless has an impact on the mental and physical health of a population already disproportionately affected by disabling conditions. For those of us working in social services, the urgency of having funding at or above the level proposed by Dow Constantine for the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy is born out every day in our interactions with those we serve.

For a much larger proportion of those who live and work in King County, the need for this levy is evident in other ways. The number of people living outside is ever-growing which contributes to the creation of makeshift encampments and leads individuals to meet their needs in ways that are financially and socially costly.

Research published in 2016 found a 44% reduction in days spent hospitalized among housed individuals as compared to the homeless, and an inpatient hospital stay in Washington State costs about $2,900 per day. The levy at hand attempts to serve veterans, older people, and others, such as the homeless, in a way that anticipates their housing and behavioral health needs rather than paying for emergency interventions when they are inevitably required. It does not increase spending on these supports, it has in fact saved $7 million since 2012 by reducing emergency medical and criminal justice involvement.

The $54 per year for the average homeowner that the levy would cost at the proposed level is money that will lead to a higher quality of life for all residents of King County, and most dramatically for individuals impacted by severe mental illness or complicated medical conditions. I urge you to support the levy at least the twelve cents per thousand dollars rate being proposed.

Now we ask that you TAKE ACTION:

Introducing Maggie Malone, the Coalition’s Summer Intern

Hi all,

My name is Maggie Malone, current summer intern at the Coalition on Homelessness, primarily working with Project Cool. I am extremely excited to be a part of the team and hope I can use the knowledge I gain through this experience to better support and advocate for people who are homeless in King County.

I am currently entering my Sophomore year at Gonzaga University, where I intend to earn a bachelors degree in Human Physiology. I like music, travelling, hanging out with friends, running, and playing with my dog. I am originally from Seattle and it is very important to me that I take care of my home.

IMG_0312

I first heard of the Coalition through a family friend who volunteers for Project Cool each year with his coworkers. Project Cool especially sparked my interest because I saw it as a hands-on opportunity to give homeless students the preparedness and confidence to be able to get an education, which I wanted to be a part of. There is so much more to Project Cool than filling up backpacks. The form of advocacy that Project Cool exhibits, allows education to flourish and expands the horizon of support systems. I wanted to join the Coalition because it provides the chance to support a vulnerable population and enlighten others on how they can participate.

This summer, I will be coordinating Project Cool donation drop-off/pick-up sites, managing volunteer events, and providing general support for the Coalition’s database, website, social media, and fundraisers.

 

If you would like to get involved with Project Cool, here is what you can do:

  • Register to volunteer. Backpack filling days are July 14-21.
  • Host a school supply drive or fundraiser. Email us at projectcool@homelessinfo.org for tips and suggestions, or take a look at our 2017 Wish List
  • Donate to Project Cool securely online.
  • Tell your friends!

 

Move-In Cost Assistance for Homeless individuals and families through CCS Hunthausen Fund

Our friends at Catholic Community Services want to make sure that case managers across our region know about this funding opportunity! Click here for a flyer and read on for details.

Catholic Community Services has funding available for King County, Snohomish County, and Pierce County residents for move-in cost assistance through The Hunthausen Fund. This funding is referral-based; Case Managers will complete the application with potential recipients and send it to us for review. If the individual meets all of the outlined requirements and the application is complete, payment will be made directly to the landlord for First Month/Last Month/Deposit (as funding permits). This source is specifically for individuals and families moving from homelessness into public or private permanent housing. Unfortunately, we cannot assist with move-in for transitional housing at this time.

If you’d like to get more information, please review the Program Overview or contact Victoria Anderson (425) 679-0340 or James Tolbert (253) 850-2505 with any additional questions you may have. Please also feel free to tell members of other agencies, as this funding is available to all service providers’ clients, so long as the individual meets the program requirements. Thank you, and we look forward to working with you to get your clients housed!

Work to Ban Source of Income Discrimination!

Right now House Bill (HB) 1633 and Senate Bill (SB) 5407 are making their way through committees in the House & Senate, if passed, these bills will ban source of income discrimination in the state of Washington!

These bills will prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to an applicant and from evicting tenants based on the source of income of an otherwise eligible applicant or tenant. This will protect people who use social security, child support, SSI, Section 8, & HEN to pay their rent. Hear from Section 8 Tenants who faced discrimination based on their source of income in the video below and click here to read more about this victory in Renton.

HB 1633 had public hearing in the House Committee on February 7th and it is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on February 16th!

Your legislators need to hear from you TODAY and every day until we pass these bills! Here’s how to take action:

Click here to use the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance bill tracker to track the progress of bills that affect housing & homelessness!

 

Powerful Comments at City Council

On Friday October 14th the Human Services & Public Health Committee of the Seattle City Council met to discuss Council Bill 118794, an Ordinance to Protect Public Health and Safety and Reduce Harms Experienced by Unsheltered Residents of our City. There was public comment at the end of the meeting which included powerful statements and stories from Coalition members and concerned citizens. Below are clips of a few of these comments.

Julie, a mother from Magnolia had heard misinformation about the ordinance from her neighbors. Upon researching the ordinance she’s in favor of it. She asks that we remember that some of the unsheltered are families with small children, stating that:

 “Some of my children’s classmates are living in encampments. My heart burns with shame when I think about how we have failed them. And it angers me when I hear parents from our school talking about organizing a protest at the local park for fear that their property values will fall. What message are we sending to those children, to their courageous parents who are doing everything they can to get their children to school on time every day.”

Cecelia Linsley, a parent from South Seattle spoke about choosing to raise her children, Chiara and Thea, to be people who pay attention and help those around them, saying that

“It is a privilege to raise children in Seattle if you have the resources. It would be really easy to carry on with our lives ignoring the fact that not everyone around us…is privileged, but that’s not how I want to raise my children….We’re going to keep using our public parks and other public spaces even if people are camping there. We are going to keep noticing and talking to the people around us – even when they don’t look or live like us. And you can trust that we’re going to keep paying attention to how our elected leaders are responding to this crisis.”

Sheryl Manawa is a woman currently experiencing homelessness in Seattle. She shared a powerful poem she wrote on the bus on the way to the Council meeting:

“Where do you want me to go?
What do you want me to do?
You want me to be you.
You want me to be clean,
respectable,
dignified,
housed,
working,
independent.
You want me to be you.

But something happened,
something went wrong,
I was you once,
We all were or mostly.
But something happened.
For some a job was lost
For some drugs
For some an accident
or muscular dystrophy
or schizophrenia, PTSD, or Depression
Or just bad choices.
And things went wrong.

We lost our homes,
our jobs.
But also our friends,
our family,
and finally as we stand
in the street
with our children
staring all around,
we lose our dignity.

Should we now die?
Have you checked the rosters?
The shelters are full.
Have you tried to work with your house on your back?

How do I get to be you?
I’m dirty.
That’s how you see me.
I’m lazy.
Again what you see.

Me,
I have to build a house every night,
find food,
eat it from the can,
make a bed,
and bathe in a gas station.

This is not lazy.
This is an attempt to be you.

Then you close your eyes.
Where do you want me to go?”

Volunteer Days are over for 2016, but you can help make back-to-school cool throughout the year!

These are Katherine’s reflections on Project Cool 2016:

Last Wednesday, a volunteer placed the final Project Cool backpack into a case manager’s van and I began to reflect on this year’s Project Cool Volunteer Days. As we transition to the next phase of Project Cool, I am able to appreciate Project’s Cool full year cycle and the breadth of people and communities the program touches. We have enjoyed each Project Cool volunteer day, and I feel lucky to have organized, packed and inventoried supplies alongside such fantastic volunteers! As we look forward to the next few months and connecting to community members through supply drives (want to host one where you work or play? Contact Hillary – hillary[at]homelessinfo[dot]org), we know that 1,417 colorful backpacks will enter the first days of school swung over the shoulders of students ranging from Pre-K to 12th grade.

Having only joined the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness a few weeks ago, I entered my first volunteer day with enthusiasm, excitement, and a bit of nervous anticipation of the amount of work to be accomplished in just a week. I could not wait to see the weeks of donation and volunteer coordination I had supported, as well as the year-long effort Hillary and Julia contributed to Project Cool, come to bloom! My expectations were surpassed and my qualms eased by the awesome volunteers that arrived with enthusiasm for each shift.

I feel hopeful for the future of the children that Project Cool serves after discussing many volunteers’ commitment to ending homelessness. Over the past week I learned more fully how raising a child can require mobilization from an entire community. Participants demonstrated how volunteering quickly builds community amongst initial strangers. Participants bonded over their passion for service to form productive, fun work teams. For many of these supporters, Project Cool has become a cherished tradition. Some volunteers even shared their experiences supporting Project Cool for up to 9 years (thank you, Hunskor family!).

Project Cool volunteers illuminated many reasons that can inspire someone to donate their time and resources. A few volunteers shared their own backgrounds experiencing Packed Backpacks for Salvation Armyhomelessness and understood firsthand the difference a Project Cool backpack can make. One mother shared with volunteers that her own children had received free school supplies while growing up and so she wanted to support other parents preparing their children for the school year.

Between rulers and notebooks, dental kits and crayons, inspiration and hope was also packed into each Project Cool backpack, and you can help fill bags for next summer’s Project Cool Days starting today! Here are five easy ways to get involved throughout the year, starting this summer and fall:

  1. Host a supply drive:
    Organizing supply drives are fun and have lots of room for creativity! You know your community best and how to most effectively to elicit donations — whether it is placing a box at your local community center or going door to door. Here is a helpful brochure on what to donate: Project Cool Supply Drive Flyer (with Wish List).
  2. Donate to Project Cool:
    Monetary donations are important and appreciated! All contributions make a significant difference in packing backpacks with the best quality school and dental supplies for students experiencing homelessness. You can donate today on our secure website and dedicate your donation to the work of Project Cool.
  3. Ask your dentist for dental donations:
    Heading to the dentist before the school year starts? Consider bringing in this Dentist Letter that asks for toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss donations.
  4. ‘Like’ Project Cool on Facebook to stay updated on Project Cool throughout the year, and invite friends and family to do the same. The more people that are connected to our social media, the easier it is to spread the word about awesome Coalition happenings!
  5. Volunteer next summer: This year’s Project Cool Volunteer Days are coming to a close but consider volunteering next summer! Stay tuned about when volunteer signups are available by receiving our Friends of Project Cool e-mails.

What’s next for the Coalition’s work in supporting homeless students? As part of our year-round advocacy, we host an annual Helping Homeless Students training for case managers, school employees, advocates, and community members to learn about homeless students’ educational rights. This training is coming up on Wednesday, August 24 at 9 a.m. at Highline High School. Registration is required, so sign up today.