2019 April 18 Membership Meeting Summary and CEA conversation materials

Emailing legislators asking them to #BudgetForHousing

Thank you to sixty-three people who joined us on April 18 for our lively meeting, including a walk through the Coordinated Entry For All process and the opportunity to give feedback on what is and isn’t working about Interim Dynamic Prioritization. Coalition staff were pleased to share news that we are hiring for our new Administrative Coordinator position, and invite people to participate in Project Cool (for information about getting backpacks for students who are experiencing homelessness, email Hillary). We sent Hallie, our Member Services Coordinator, off to her new job in Olympia with hearty thanks and well wishes. And, you got LOUD for Housing by contacting your lawmakers in Olympia asking them to #BudgetForHousing! We know that about 40 people used the email action alert during the meeting, and others made calls – thank you!

Materials/Handouts from meeting:

Coordinated Entry for All (CEA) Deep Dive

Joanna Bomba-Grebb from Coordinated Entry For All prepared a chart of how the CEA process, from assessment to housing, currently works. Thanks to staff from member agencies, including Solid Ground and DESC, for attending the meeting to share their perspectives about how each piece of the process actually works day to day on the ground. Our discussion on the process and continuous improvement was still continuing when the meeting ended at 11, so we decided that we will set aside some time at our Thursday, June 20 Membership meeting (9 am -11 am at Southside Commons in Columbia City) to continue the dialogue and allow more time for questions and suggestions, as well as to hear follow up from the critiques articulated by service providers serving single adults and youth and young adults (links to  these letters to All Home Coordinating Board about CEA below). Some highlights from our conversation: 

  • Coalition members asked questions about Diversion, and Joanna clarified that someone is eligible for Diversion if they are literally homeless (staying in a shelter, outside place not meant for human habitation) or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence without a safe housing option, or a youth with two weeks or less before they need to leave their current residence.
  • People who are currently housed but at risk for losing that housing should access prevention resources. Prevention resources can be accessed by calling 211, and not by going to a Regional Access Point or talking to a housing assessor.
  • Staff at social service organizations who wish to have access to centralized Diversion funds available through Africatown International must take a Diversion training – more information and registration can be found online: http://allhomekc.org/diversion/#training.
  • Questions about Diversion should be directed to Zachary DeWolf at All Home.
  • Questions about Prevention should be directed to Kimberly Dodds at King County.

Questions from the meeting related to CEA:

  • Transitional Housing: Concerns were raised about families leaving Transitional Housing not having anywhere to go and not being eligible for Diversion funds to help with move-in assistance. Joanna answered that if a family enters a Transitional Housing Program and it becomes clear they will not be able to successfully move into market rate housing, the staff should request a mobility transfer to Permanent Supportive Housing if that level of support is appropriate – more information about mobility transfers is available here. If you have questions about mobility transfers, email CEA.
    • Note: Discussion at our meeting highlighted the fact that many families in Transitional Housing Programs have nowhere to transition to due to the lack of affordable housing, but are not necessarily in need of permanent supportive housing. This discussion highlighted the possibility that it is necessary for move-in or diversion-like funds to be available for families leaving Transitional Housing.
  • Safe Havens were brought up as a possible housing resources for some individuals. Safe Havens in our Continuum of Care are Harbor House with Community Psychiatric Center and Kerner Scott with DESC.

CEA Updates: Joanna let us know that these developments are currently in development at CEA and will be in use soon:

  • An Acuity Review Team (ART) will soon be convening to look at assessments that have been flagged as inaccurate. Individualized Resource Tools will be in use beginning this summer.
    • Description from Joanna: It is still being stood up and is being comprised of Behavioral and Medical health professionals helping to review the vulnerability of households that are flagged as not having their vulnerability reflected accurately through the Housing Triage Tools completed. That group will be looking at all other information available. More information on that function will be added to the CEA website as it is established and available!
  • Individualized Resource Tools are being developed.
    • Explanation from Joanna: The best place to get a sense for what is being developed with the CE Access and Engagement workgroup is slide 24 of these “Dynamic Prioritization” slides from HUD. We are using an Equity Impact Review model process (see example here) to build, test and launch the Individualized Resource Tool with an eye to ongoing learning/continuous improvement. More information on that function will be added to the CEA website as it is established and available!

Feedback from Coalition members about CEA:

  • The name Coordinated Entry For All implies this is something everyone should access, but since  now most people are being served through Diversion it is misleading.
    • Note from Joanna: Diversion is being stood up system-wide across our community and is very much part of the overall coordinated entry system that exists and is expanding. The launch of the Individualized Resource Tool will help to connect the system components. Again, see the Dynamic Prioritization presentation from HUD.
  • Since Interim Dynamic Prioritization, it has been challenging for Rapid Re-Housing programs to receive referrals. This seems to involve the following elements:
    • Because there is no longer banding, and because Interim Dynamic Prioritization is working to identify the most vulnerable families in our community, CEA is now referring very vulnerable families to all housing options and not just Permanent Supportive Housing. Staff may have difficulty following up with families who are highly vulnerable, and/or families may determine that alternatives such as Rapid Rehousing are not good options for them. Who is assessing the implications of this approach? There also may be difficulty in contacting families that are this vulnerable because they do not have working phones or have difficulty making appointments.
    • This continues to be elevated to funders of RRH as RRH resources in the continuum have been difficult to refer to through the Case Conferencing method.
  • Concern that some community-based assessors are not experienced enough at working with high-needs or special populations. There is a need for more assessors to be based at community organizations, so they  know the clients they are working with, or for outside assessors to be highly trained social workers who have experience working with this population.
  • One experienced staff member at a family service provider remarked that although she is very familiar with CEA, and tracks the multiple changes, it was clear how many people at this meeting were hearing information for the first time. She suggested that CEA provide monthly two-hour orientations on CEA for new staff as well as to provide updates on ongoing developments.
  • Multiple people voiced concerns that the VI-SDPDAT tool does not accurately reflect client vulnerability and creates racial disparities. This eventually lead to Interim Dynamic Prioritization, which has helped to address this issue, but concerns remain, since VI-SPDAT is still a large part of the scoring. Youth service providers and adult service providers each wrote letters to the All Home Coordinating Board requesting specific actions to address this important structural problem. You can read the letters here:

Legislative Session Updates shared at 4/18 meeting

Here’s a summary of some of our top priorities that have passed or need attention! As of 4/25 we still need people to speak up and take action with this link: http://bit.ly/budgetforhousing

  • HB 1406/Robinson – allows local communities to retain a portion of the state’s sales tax to invest directly into affordable homes (this is not a new tax, but allowing local jurisdictions to keep some) – This bill/priority is alive, but needs our support! It needs to be funded in the Senate budget.
  • SB 5600/Kuderer (companion to HB 1453/Macri) – reforms evictions & gives tenants more time to pay late rent (from current 3 days to 14 days) – Passed both the House & the Senate! Needs concurrence (back in the Senate to make sure that they agree with amendments the House made), then to the Governor’s office. 
    • Update 4/25 – this has been concurred and will soon be to the Governor’s office!
  • HB 1440/Robinson – Requires 60 day notice of rent increase (currently 30), and no increase of rent during a lease – Passed both the House & Senate and will be signed by the Governor next Tuesday! 
  • HB 1603/Senn – reverses harsh sanctions and time limit policies on TANF. Most notably, it eliminated DSHS’s ability to permanently disqualify families from TANF for repeated noncompliance sanctions, and adds a new time limit extension for homeless families (including those in transitional and supportive housing). 
    • Action: Use this link to thank lawmakers for their efforts in supporting families on TANF
  • Voting bills:
    • SB 5207/Dhingra – requires DOC to notify anybody being released of their right to restore their vote! Signed into law by the Governor and goes into effect 7/28/2019. We’ll share more updates at our May meeting and Voter Registration trainings. 
    • SB 5063/Nguyen – pre-paid postage for all election ballots. Passed in the House & Senate, will soon go to the Governor. 
    • SB 5079/McCoy – Native American Voting Rights Action. Signed into law by the Governor!
  • Budget Items: 
    • Housing Trust Fund – funded at $175M in Senate, just $150M in House. 
    • HEN – funded at $15M in Senate, just $12.7M in House. 
    • $69 million needed to fund HB 1406
    • Action: Email your lawmakers asking them to use the Senate allocations and maximize funding for affordable housing and HEN, as well as support progressive revenue. 

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:

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!

 

Sound Transit Proposition 1: Mass Transit Now!

The November 8th election is rapidly approaching and we at the Coalition are excited about one measure that you’ll find at the end of your ballot. Sound Transit (A Regional Transit Authority) Proposition No. 1 will be the very last thing on the ballot and we encourage you to vote yes! 

In the past the Coalition has worked on other transit issues, including the ORCA LIFT fare and the Move Seattle transit measure. We care about affordable transit because it allows low-income individuals to access opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t, it helps people survive and increases their ability to thrive in our community. mtn_economic_commuters1200x627

Here are reasons why the Coalition is excited about Proposition 1:

  • Proposition 1 invests more than $20 million in affordable housing, and requires 80% of surplus land to be prioritized for building affordable housing.
  • Mass transit built as part of this proposition will serve more than 36,000 current units of subsidized housing.  As more affordable housing is built along the line, more people will be served by transit.
  • It will increase access to jobs and education for low-income, working and middle class families by providing an affordable transportation option with shorter commute times.
  • It will provide reliable public transportation for seniors and people with disabilities which will allow for more independence.
  • Mass transit will reduce air and carbon pollution, which disproportionately impacts people of color.

mtn_economic_incomebracket1200x627-1

Voting yes on Sound Transit Proposition 1 will increase equity in our community by increasing opportunities for low-income and middle class individuals. This is the most cost effective way to expand transit and help people get where they need to go!

For more information on Proposition 1 visit masstransitnow.com and for updates on the campaign find them on facebook.

If you’re passionate about this issue and would like to volunteer with the Mass Transit Now! campaign you can sign up to doorbell, call voters, go to community events, do data entry or other important work here!

We’re on board, are you? im-on-board

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.

Recap: Families with Children Meeting – KidsPlus Training and Coordinated Entry for All – June 22, 2016

Big thanks to all who were able to join us for last month’s Families with Children committee meeting. As always, it was great to see a room full of familiar and new faces!

We were joined by Mary Dunbar from Kids Plus (Public Health – Seattle & King County), who offered a training on working with guests to address their mental health needs. Danielle Winslow (All Home) provided timely Coordinated Entry for All updates with the group. Highlights and resources from these two folks are below:

  • A list of mental health services available for children can be found here.
    • The YMCA also operates the Children’s Crisis Outreach Response System (CCORS), which offers urgent crisis outreach as well as short-term stabilization resources to children and youth in King County, as well as their families.
    • King County Mental Health’s wraparound services offer additional supports to children to help stabilize them in the community. More information and application processes for this program can be found on the King County website.
  • Adults and folks of all ages can access mental health services at the locations listed on this document.
    • The Crisis Clinic is an excellent resource for folks to call if in need of immediate crisis help, and they also provide information about suicide warning signs and crisis intervention strategies.
    • King County Crisis and Commitment Services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide initial outreach services to folks not already accessing outpatient care in King County as well as evaluation of people with mental disorders for possible involuntary detention in psychiatric facilities according to the mental illness law in the State of Washington.
    • Throughout King County and the state of Washington, low-cost and free clinics are available for folks to access mental and physical healthcare needs. Mary suggests looking into Consejo, Cornerstone, and Project Access Northwest as resources to learn more about mental health services for clients who don’t have insurance.

Danielle joined the committee to update the group on the latest updates to Coordinated Entry for All in King County. The latest handout for stakeholders in the community can be found here, and below are some additional updates:

  • Coordinated Entry for All now has a Systems Manager. Sara Hoffman (sara[dot]hoffman[at]kingcounty[dot]gov) can be contacted with any questions
  • With the implementation of Coordinated Entry for All and a shift away from Family Housing Connection and Youth Housing Connection comes a new website! Check it out here. (For now, folks can still access the FHC and YHC websites, but these will soon be re-directed)
  • All but the Eastside Regional Access Points for Coordinated Entry for All throughout King County have been selected by All Home (Veterans and Young Adults have additional access points):
    • North King County – Solid Ground, Meridian Center
    • Seattle – Catholic Community Services w/ YouthCare and Somali Youth and Family Club
    • Kent – YWCA
    • Federal Way – Multi-Service Center
  • Each of these Regional Access Points (RAPs) is in a different stage, but all will be ready by the end of July

2016 Community Resource Exchange: Wed. April 6 at CenturyLink Field

The 2016 Community Resource Exchange will be held Wednesday, April 6th at CenturyLink Field.  Please register HERE as a service provider. Download, post, and share the 2016 Community Resource Exchange Outreach Poster.

This is a day where barriers are reduced to haircuts, dental checks, free shoes, a hot meal, transportation, and so much more! Click here for more info about the exchange, run by United Way of King County, or email exchange [at] uwkc [dot] org.

The Coalition on Homelessness will be hosting a Voter Registration table!  Email Hillary if you’re interested in more information about our voter registration work for people who are unstably housed, or if you’d like to volunteer.

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