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.

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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!

Take Action! Support the Proposed Bellevue Shelter!

The City of Bellevue and King County are working in partnership with Congregations for the Homeless and Imagine Housing to create a permanent men’s shelter which would include 100 emergency beds, a day center and cafeteria, as well as 50 units of permanent housing. We fully support the proposed shelter, but not all community members do. Read this Seattle Times article for more information about the proposed shelter and discussions it has sparked. We encourage you to express your support to the City of Bellevue and King County!

Monday, Nov. 28th at 6pm at Bellevue City Hall (450 110th Ave NE, Bellevue): The Bellevue City Council will receive an update on the proposed shelter and permanent supportive housing project at an extended study session. The meeting will begin with a 30-minute period for oral comments to the council. We encourage you to show up to this meeting and publicly express your support!

If you can’t show up on the 28th, send advocacy postcards to the Bellevue City Council and King County Council (note that you need to put it in an envelope to send, it’s too big to be mailed on it’s own)! (Click here for a pdf of the postcard). Or email your comments directly to the Bellevue City Council at eastsidemensshelter@bellevuewa.gov or to key King County Councilmembers Claudia Balducci (claudia.balducci@kingcounty.gov) and Reagan Dunn (reagan.dunn@kingcounty.gov).

For more information on the shelter including facts on homelessness in Bellevue, community outreach efforts and FAQs, visit the city’s webpage here.

Recap: General Meeting on the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Task Force Recommendations – October 20th, 2016

The Coalition’s October general meeting occurred on Thursday, October 20th. In attendance were folks from the Transit Riders Union, Washington State Department of Health, King County Public Health Department Health Care for the Homeless, the Low Income Housing Institute, First Place, City of Seattle, Plymouth Housing Group, REACH, King County Metro, Crisis Clinic, The Salvation Army, Jewish Family Services, Seattle Public Library, Child Care Resources, the Housing Development Consortium, Seattle Department of Transportation, El Centro de la Raza, St. James Cathedral, and the Church of Harm Reduction.  Thanks to everyone who attended! 

Here is a brief recap of the meeting:


I: Voting Updates and Resources:

II: Heroin and Prescription Opiate Task Force Recommendations:
[Link to the full report on the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force recommendations.] 

We were joined by Patricia Sully of the Public Defender AssociationVocal-WA and Chloe Gale of REACH, for a discussion of the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Task Force recommendations. The recommendations by the task force fall into three categories: Primary Prevention, Treatment Expansion & Enhancement, and User Health & Overdose Prevention. Patricia and Chloe focused primarily on the User Health & Overdose Prevention recommendations and the Treatment Expansion recommendations.

The two recommendations in the Health and Overdose Prevention section were to expand the distribution of naloxone and to establish at least two Community Health Engagement Locations/Supervised Consumption Sites. Naloxone is a drug that blocks the effects of opiates, thereby reversing opiate overdose. Click here for more information about naloxone and here for information on how to recognise an overdose. Supervised consumption sites are public health facilities that offer a safe, hygienic place where people can use their own drugs under medical supervision. These sites reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis-C by providing sterile equipment and safe disposal for used needles, prevent deaths caused by overdose, decrease public drug use and drug-equipment litter, and provide access to health and social services. The task force specifically recommended consumption sites as opposed to injection sites because broader guidelines allow drug users to move away from injection to safer methods of drug consumption. For more information on supervised consumption sites visit the Yes to SCS facebook page. Click here for information on the effects of supervised consumption sites in other cities

The Treatment Expansion and Enhancement recommendations are to increase access to buprenorphine and remove barriers to treatment. Buprenorphine is a medication that can be prescribed to treat opioid addiction, unlike similar medications each dosage does not have to be administered by a medical professional which makes it more accessible. Click here for more information on buprenorphine. Recommendations for reducing barriers to treatment included developing on demand treatment for all types of substance use disorder treatment services and removing certain restrictions that opioid treatment programs have. 

III: Coalition Updates:

  • Budget Process: We are asking that the City of Seattle City Council fully fund human services and  prioritize harm reduction and housing first. Here are some sample messages to email to all 9 Seattle City Councilmembers today
    • Establish an $11M fund to offset the cost of implementing Seattle’s minimum wage without cutting services
    • Restore State of Emergency funding for CCS’ Lazarus Day Center, serving homeless women and men over 50
    • Restore State of Emergency funding for skilled psychiatric outreach to people with mental illness who are homeless through DESC’s HOST program
    • Bring People Inside NOW: Implement the city’s Emergency Preparedness plan, and create 1000 more homes for people who are homeless or extremely low income
  • We thank Coalition members like Stephanie Endres, who are writing open letters and otherwise engaging in community dialogue about homelessness. Find her open letter to White Center folks about the proposed shelter here.
  • Take action: show up to council meetings; email and call your Seattle City Council and King County Council members about increasing human services and stopping sweeps; talk to your friends and neighbors; dispel misinformation about homeless people, sweeps, and what is happening politically around these issues! It is nearing the one year anniversary of the declaration of the State of Emergency (November 2nd), and there are 28 community centers in King County that are empty overnight. We need to hold the city accountable to use all available resources to bring people inside!

IV: Transit Updates:

Save the Date:

Important Voting Dates: 

  • Wednesday, October 26: Ballots received by 10/26: If you or a guest/client/participant has not received their voting ballot, call King County Elections: 206-296-VOTE (8683) Visit blog.homelesinfo.org for signs to post & more information.
  • Monday, October 31: In-person voter registration deadline for NEW Washington State Voters (never registered before) – more information here.
  • Tuesday, November 8: Election Day – Ballots must be in ballot drop-box by 8pm, or postmarked by 5pm on November 8!

Upcoming Events:

  • Saturday, October 29 11am – 12:30pm: Create Change – Using Art to Address Homelessness for Youth & Families – Seattle Public Library Event: Central Library, 1000 4th Ave. Facebook event here.
  • Tuesday, November 1, 5:00 to 8:30 pm: Día de los Muertos Exhibit Opening Event at El Centro De La Raza. More information here.
  • Thursday, November 17, 9:00 to 11:00 AM: General Membership Meeting at E. Cherry YWCA, 2820 E. Cherry St.

Voting Tips: November 8, 2016 General Election: How to turn in your Ballot & make sure your vote is counted

The Coalition on Homelessness needs YOUR help to make sure that everyone in our community knows how to vote in the November 8th, 2016 General Election.  This year Coalition volunteers and Member Organizations helped register voters at the rate of 1/day – that’s 365 homeless and unstably housed people (123 in June, 242 in the Fall) that are some of those who will be receiving ballots for the General Election! We want to make sure that each person who we registered, and anyone else you work with, know how, when, and where to turn in ballots, as well as what to do if they haven’t received their ballot. PLUS, we want to make sure that everyone votes YES on Seattle Prop. 1 for Mass Transit Now! !

Please share this information and call King County Elections (206) 296-VOTE (8683) if you have any voting related questions.


IMPORTANT ELECTIONS DATES:

  • Tuesday, October 25: Ballots are mailed to registered voters 20 days prior to the election (on Wednesday, October 19).  If you have not received your ballot by Tuesday, October 25, call King County Elections (206) 296-8683. SPREAD THE WORD – put up a sign in your building (write in ballot drop box – there are lots of new ones – closest to you) to alert folks to call King County Elections if they haven’t received their ballot, and to let them know where to drop off ballots near your location. Print these flyers to share information with people you work with!
  • Monday, October 31: In-person voter registration deadline for people not currently registered in WA State.  Your new registration must be received in-person at either the Renton office:  919 SW Grady Way, Renton, WA 98057-2906, or Seattle office: 500 4th Avenue, Room 440, Seattle, WA 98104.
  • Tuesday, November 8:  Election Day! Ballots must be dropped at ballot drop box (by 8pm) or postmarked by November 8, 2016 (if mailing, pay close attention to mailbox pick-up time.

Materials to post & share with people you work with:

Need to read more about your candidates and issues? 

  • King County Elections Voter Guide: You can use the online guide, or paper guide that was sent out. If you or the people you work with need a paper guide, call Elections,  (206) 296-8683, to request one.

HOW TO TURN IN YOUR BALLOT – including new BALLOT DROP BOXES: 

Ballots can either be mailed in (with first-class stamp, postmarked by Tuesday, November 8), or dropped off at a Ballot Drop Box by 8 p.m on Tuesday, November 8. Drop boxes are open 24 hours/day.

There are 43 ballot drop box locations around King County, many are new, help spread the word! Please Click here for a comprehensive map and list of ballot drop boxes around King County.  That page on the elections website will give you a map with markers you can click on for each drop box, below the map is a list of all the locations.

ACCESSIBLE VOTING LOCATIONS: 

If you need special equipment to vote, or you have not received a replacement ballot by election day, you may request a provisional ballot in person at one of these locations. Visit King County Elections for more information and hours.

Seattle Union Station
401 S. Jackson
Seattle, WA 98104

Bellevue City Hall
450 110th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

Renton – King County Elections
919 SW Grady Way
Renton, WA 98057

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.

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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

Severe Weather Shelter 2016: October 13 – October 18 information

Major rain and windstorms expected to hit Western Washington October 13 – 16, 2016  Two strong Pacific storm systems are expected to affect the area.
Please circulate and share this information with your clients, guests, and people you know who are staying outside and want to find temporary shelter inside from the high winds and major rain. Severe weather shelters tend to be opened in King County when the temperature is below 32*, this weekend the following shelters will be open due to the rain and wind storms.

If these resources don’t work, encourage people to call 211 for other possible options. Click here for more shelter information from 211.

This post will be frequently updated with the most recent information. If you know of new or updated information please contact hillary[at]homelessinfo[dot]org. _________________________________________________________________________

SEVERE WEATHER SHELTERS – Updated 10/17/2016 at 10am
Please share information about severe weather shelters with your clients and the community.  Check back for frequent updates about openings.

SEATTLE:

King County Administration Building Shelter & 420 4th Ave Shelter – expanded capacity (50 additional spots in Admin Building)

  • Location:  500 & 420 4th Avenue Downtown Seattle (Between Jefferson and James)  Line up for the shelter in front of the loading dock garage door at the corner of 4th and Jefferson.
  • Dates open (with expanded capacity): Thursday, 10/13 – Tuesday, 10/18, (Both Admin Shelter & 420 4th Ave open regularly every other night with 50 beds each)
  • Time: 7pm to 6am
  • Capacity: 100 beds in Admin, 50 beds at 420 4th Ave
  • Population: men (pets welcome at 420 shelter)

Seattle City Hall Shelter

  • Location: 600 4th Ave
  • Dates open (with expanded capacity): Thursday, 10/13 – Tuesday, 10/18, (Open regularly with 75 beds every other night)
  • Time: 7pm to 6am
  • Capacity: 81 beds
  • Population: men & women

Seattle Severe Weather Shelter  – PRINT & POST THIS FLYER

  • LocationSeattle Center Fisher Pavilion, near 2nd & Thomas St. South of Key Arena
  • Dates & Time: Closed
  • Capacity: 100 beds
  • Population: Co-Ed Shelter: 18+, no children 
  • Contact for information: (206) 684-0231

EASTSIDE:
Eastside Women’s Winter Shelter – PRINT & POST THIS FLYER
*Note: This shelter is a winter shelter for Women opening for the first night on Saturday, 10/15 and remaining open through much of winter. 

  • Location: Lakeside Christian Church, 701 1st Street, Kirkland, WA 98033
  • Dates open: Saturday night 10/15 – 1/2/2017
  • Time: 8:30pm – 7am, 7 days/week
  • Population: Single Adult Women 
  • Note: Includes Dinner & Breakfast
  • Contact for information: Cynthia: (425) 463-6285 x 106

Eastside Family Winter Shelter – PRINT & POST THIS FLYER
*Note: This shelter is a winter shelter for families opening for the first night on Saturday, 10/15 and remaining open through much of winter. 

  • Location: Redmond United Methodist Church, 16540 NE 80th St, Redmond, WA 98052
  • Dates open: Saturday night 10/15 – open all winter
  • Time: 8:30pm – 7am, 7 days/week
  • Population: Families
  • Note: Includes Dinner & Breakfast
  • Contact for information: Cynthia: (206) 437-7448

SNOQUALMIE:
Valley Renewal Center Shelter (Expanding day center to be 24 hour shelter)

  • Location: 38625 SE River St, Snoqualmie, WA, 98065
  • Dates open: Closed
  • Time: 24-hour overnight, Dinner and Breakfast Served
  • Eligibility: Must have a Snoqualmie Valley Connection, Sex offender check, no background check
  • Population: Single Men; Single Parent Families Headed by Fathers or Mothers; Single Women; Two Parent Families
  • Contact for information: (425) 505 – 0038