Thank you to all who were able to join us at our December General Membership meeting for the 2016 legislative preview! Those present included folks from Solid Ground, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, Child Care Resources, Chief Seattle Club, OPEIU Local 8, All Home, Jewish Family Services, Center for One Health Research, City of Seattle Office of Housing, United Way of King County, Catholic Housing Services, Columbia Legal Services, King County Health Care for the Homeless Network, YouthCare, Real Change, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Seattle University, University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry, Tenants Union, Seattle Public Library, Compass Housing Alliance, YouthCare, Hopelink, and the University District Conversation on Homelessness.
Wow – we enjoyed an exciting conversation with this awesome group!
Here’s a brief recap of the meeting…
Special thanks to Representative Mia Gregerson (LD 33), Madeline Cavazos (Legislative Aide to Representative Joan McBride, LD 48), Curtis Knapp (Legislative Aide to Representative Brady Walkinshaw, LD 43), Nigel Herbig (Legislative Aide to Representative Jessyn Farrell, LD 46), Michael Althauser (Columbia Legal Services), Liz Trautman (YouthCare), Alex Bergstrom (Columbia Legal Services), Hana Alicic (Tenants Union), and Abi Velasco (Washington Low Income Housing Alliance), who joined us to share their perspectives on key legislative priorities for the upcoming 2016 legislative session!
This year’s legislative session is set to be short (just 60 days), and we plan to advocate strongly throughout the session for the legislative priorities that are key to making sure that the needs of all those in our community are met. We appreciated hearing the perspectives of our elected representatives and advocacy partners at our General Membership meeting! Some of the legislative priorities to be ready to advocate for include:
- Certificate of Restoration of Opportunities Act (CROP)
- Homeless Youth Healthcare Act and Homeless Students Stability and Opportunity Gap Act
- Fair Tenant Screening Act
- Truth in Evictions Reporting Act
- Outlaw Source of Income Discrimination
We also received some great advocacy tips from our guests:
- Show up early in Olympia – the schedules of our elected officials fill up fast, so be sure to show up early to have your voice heard!
- Get to know your representatives and what kind of information they gain the most from. Some electeds like to hear personal stories, while others prefer data.
- Personalize your conversations with elected officials by learning about their past work, committee work, and areas of interest!
Keep an eye on the Coalition’s Facebook page to learn about upcoming advocacy opportunities at the local and state level!
At the meeting, we also had an opportunity to share some big THANK YOUs to some of our community allies. Nick Licata, outgoing Seattle City Councilmember, and his incredible staff team were recognized with our Dancing Giraffe award. Thank you, Nick, for all of your work towards the Coalition’s mission throughout your time in office, and especially towards the end of your final term on the Seattle City Council – you’ve been everything but a sitting duck!
Another big thank you to Alex Becker of Real Change. Thank you, Alex, for your hard work and strong partnership towards ensuring safety, housing, and justice for our neighbors who are homeless in King County. We are excited to see where your next steps take you in making change in your community!
Coalition updates from the meeting:
- County-provided shelter space is expanding in Seattle thanks to your actions to encourage Seattle and King County Councilmembers to expand and open new spaces. Read more about the expansion here and find details on our blog.
- The 2016 One Night Count is quickly approaching, and will take place overnight Thursday, January 28 – Friday, January 29, 2016. If you’ve participated in the past and haven’t yet heard from your team captain, reach out to them to get involved this year! If you’re new to the Count and want more info, check out the Coalition’s ONC website or email Rebecca Roy, Community Projects Manager at the Coalition (rebecca[at]homelessinfo[dot]org) to learn how you can support the Count.
- The 2015 Project Cool Report has been released. If you haven’t received it by mail or email, check it out on our website!
Member updates from the meeting:
- The Center for Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Washington completes 20,000 visits every year, 80% of these covered by Medicaid. The Center may be at risk of significant downsizing and a move back to campus and out of other, more accessible communities. Get ready to TAKE ACTION for the need to continue the full funding this program!
- Child Care Resources is seeking input on how to be a best possible resource to their community, and needs your input! Email Sarah at pelosi[at]childcare[dot]org to take a short survey to offer your voice to the conversation.
- The Public Defenders Association is seeking input on creating a public health-centered response to injection drug use in public spaces. Contact Patricia Sully at patricia[dot]sully[at]defender[dot]org to join the conversation, or join our upcoming Single Adults Advocacy Committee meeting (1/14 from 12-1:30 at the Compass on Dexter) to learn more!
- The University of Washington Center for One Health Research is seeking to better understand how to create direct service resources for people who are homeless and have pets. They are seeking to gather stories and other data from people that this would impact. Contact Gemina Garland-Lewis at gemina[at]uw[dot]edu to participate or connect clients to this work.
- Seattle Public Library will be hosting conversations surrounding homelessness and housing beginning January 30, 2016. Contact Hayden Bass at hayden[dot]bass[at]spl[dot]org for more details.