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.