Event: Film Screening and Discussion to Address Problems Related to Injecting Drugs in Public Places and Opportunities for Preventing Overdose Deaths

Join us for a public screening of Everywhere But Safe: Public Injecting in New York. To be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and public health experts.Panelists will discuss drug user health and the role of safe injection sites and other interventions in improving public health and community safety. Read more about the event in this Press Release.

WHEN: November 13th, Doors 6pm – Screening 7pm
WHERE: Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
TICKETS: FREE – Suggested Price: $5
INFO: www.townhallseattle.org
Facebook Event

The event is co-sponsored by the Public Defender Association, VOCAL-WA, ACLU of Washington, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington, Hepatitis Education Project, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, People’s Harm Reduction Alliance, Urban Survivors’ Union, Real Change, and the Capitol Hill Community Council. Speaking at the event will be filmmakers Matt Curtis, MPH and Taeko Frost, MPH, as well Eric Seitz a street outreach public health nurse; Chloe Gale, MSW (REACH); Caleb Banta-Green, PhD (Senior Research Scientist at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute as well as an Affiliate Associate Professor at the School of Public Health, University of Washington); Vivek Chaudhary (long time officer of the Urban Survivors Union, Seattle’s longest standing drug user union); and Shilo Murphy (co-founder and executive director of the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance). The event is open to the public and panelists will be available to speak to the media both before and after.

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Julia’s reflection on the 2015 Homeless and Formerly Homeless Youth Advocacy Summit

Six weeks into my internship with the Coalition on Homelessness, and my experiences have been above and beyond any of my expectations a month ago. Two weeks ago, I was excited to be a part of the 10th Annual Homeless and Formerly Homeless Youth Advocacy Summit (October 5-6, 2015). While doing advocacy work in Minnesota, I learned that I would constantly learn and grow by witnessing folks advocate around issues that impact their lives, and my time at the Youth Advocacy Summit proved to be no exception to this rule!

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Having just supported the Coalition’s 2015 Voter Registration drive, one of the highlights of the Summit for me was witnessing young people choosing to participate in advocacy by exercising their right to vote. Over the course of the Summit, I was particularly excited to watch people think in a different, new way about voting. On the first day of the Summit, one participant was pretty vocal in their choice to not register to vote, feeling that their vote wasn’t enough to make change. Through conversations with other Summit participants, discussions about our elected officials in city and county government, and time to reflect, this participant changed their mind and decided to register! They are ready to have their voice heard in the upcoming election, and will do so through their vote as well as their conversations with Councilmembers during and beyond the Youth Advocacy Summit.

Participants at the Youth Advocacy Summit took on no small task! I was impressed by these advocates’ commitment over two very full days (three days for Peer Leaders!) of discussing some of the hard work that needs to be done in this community. Advocates worked on and presented one of four issues throughout the Summit:

1 – Need for an increase in the numbers of available permanent and affordable housing units
2 – Issues specifically impacting People of Color and LGBTQ youth
3 – Need for increased access to low-barrier, supportive resources
4 – Street safety and public space use.

22286526835_09d42f0467_oAdvocates met with King County Executive Dow Constantine; King County Councilmembers Larry Gossett, Dave Upthegrove, Kathy Lambert, Joe McDermott, and Rod Dembowski; Seattle Mayor Ed Murray; Seattle City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant, Nick Licata, Tim Burgess, and Mike O’Brien; and senior staff from the Seattle Human Services Department to discuss their topics.

On the second day of the Summit, I was able to sit in on the meeting between the advocacy group focusing on issues impacting People of Color and LGBTQ youth and Councilmember Kshama 22124339060_7c780765bc_zSawant. Councilmember Sawant was clearly invested in the conversation, and engaged with participants through asking questions and sharing her observations. Our meeting with Councilmember Sawant was incredibly driving; at the end of our meeting she stated that the work being done that day in the office was the groundwork to making change. She asked participants to continue to speak up, and made it clear that she supports their efforts to work towards a community where all are safe and treated equitably. Councilmember Sawant reminded myself and the people that I was with that change may not happen quickly, but that it is made possible through the long efforts of folks like those meeting with her in that moment.

After the Youth Advocacy Summit, I went to my first City Council budget hearing. As a newcomer to the city, I find myself constantly learning from the locals who have experienced firsthand the impact of the City of Seattle’s budget. Several advocates from the Youth Advocacy Summit were present to speak up, as well as representatives from all over the city who care about creating a budget that adequately responds to the state of emergency in this city. Seeing folks testify for a budget that actually responds to the state of emergency, instead of taking the usual stance of “business as usual”, has helped me to understand the impact that this budget will have on the city. More than anything, these testimonies serve as a reminder to me that people need to continue to speak up! The next, and final, public budget hearing will take place TONIGHT, October 20th, at 5:30 PM (sign-in begins at 5:00!), and we need you to show up to speak up for Human Services and housing and homelessness issues. Join us, wear red to declare the state of emergency, and be ready to tell City Council that “we are in a state of emergency; we must have an equal response”.

Event Announcement: The New York Experience with Rent Regulations (10/15)

Posted with permission from the Tenants Union of Washington State and Timothy Collins

The New York Experience with Rent Regulations
Timothy L. Collins – former Exec. Director, New York City Rent Guidelines Board

timothyOctober 15, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Tenants Union of Washington State, 5425 B Rainier Ave, Seattle, WA 98118

The Tenants Union of Washington State has invited Timothy L. Collins to talk about how rent regulations have worked in New York City.

Mr. Collins was Executive Director and Counsel of the New York City Rent Guidelines Board for seven years, managing a research and administrative staff for a board that sets rents for one million housing units in New York City. He has an unmatched grasp of the on-the-ground realities – economic, political, social and legal – of New York City and state rental housing and efforts to keep it affordable.

Mr. Collins also served as Assistant Attorney General of New York State in the Real Estate Finance Bureau, and as Assistant Counsel in the New York City Office of Rent and Housing Maintenance. He is currently a partner in the law firm of Collins, Dobkin and Miller LLP in New York City, and teaches constitutional history at Pace University there.

Mr. Collins will address both the controversies around rent regulation and the question of home rule for cities on housing issues.

For more details, see Mr. Collins paper: “Rent Regulation in New York: Myths and Facts” – http://www.seattle.gov/council/licata/attachments/Rent-Regulation-in-New-York-Myths-and-Facts.pdf

For more information: Tenants Union of Washington State, 206-722-6848, tenantsunion.org. Peter Costantini, jpetercostantini@comcast.net, 206-290-0219.

Voting in the Tues. November 3, 2015 General Election: Ballot drop-box locations & Important Dates

The Coalition on Homelessness needs YOUR help to make sure that everyone in our community knows how to vote in the November 3, 2015 General Election.  This year the Coalition and Member Organizations, thanks to great staff and volunteers, helped 188 homeless and unstably housed people register to vote, and we want to make sure that each of them, 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. Please share this information and call King County Elections (206) 296-VOTE (8683) if you have any voting related questions.

Another opportunity to TAKE ACTION: Join Coalition members on Tuesday, October 20 at the Seattle City Council Budget Hearing (Seattle City Hall: 600 4th Ave, Seattle, 98104) to tell your elected officials why it is necessary to fully fund Human Services.  Check out this Action Alert from the Seattle Human Services Coalition for more information. We need your help to fill the room in support of human services.  


IMPORTANT ELECTIONS DATES:

  • Tuesday, October 20 Ballots are mailed to registered voters 20 days prior to the election.  If you have not received your ballot by Tuesday, October 20, call King County Elections (206) 296-8683. SPREAD THE WORD – put up a sign in your building 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.
  • Monday, Oct 26 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, Nov 3  Election Day! Ballots must be dropped at ballot drop box (by 8pm) or postmarked by Nov 3, 2015.

Need to read more about your candidates and issues? 


HOW TO TURN IN YOUR BALLOT: 

Ballots can either be mailed in (with first-class stamp, postmarked by Tuesday, November 3), or dropped off at a Ballot Drop Box (24 hours/day – see below) or Ballot Drop-Off Van (daytime hours 10/31, 11/2-11/3 – see below). You can also download a word document of this information.

24-HOUR BALLOT DROP BOX LOCATIONS: 
Available 24 hours a day between October 15 and 8:00pm on Election Day, November 3

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BALLOT DROP-OFF VAN LOCATIONS: 
Available October 31 & November 2 from 10am to 5pm and on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2015 from 10am to 8pm

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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

Homeless and Formerly Homeless Youth Advocacy Summit — Oct 5-6, 2015

A message brought to you by our Youth and Young Adults Committee Co-Chairs, Michael and Emily:

Friends! Mark your calendars as the 10th Annual Youth Advocacy Summit – brought to you by the Coalition’s Youth and Young Adults Committee –  will be taking place on October 5 and 6, 2015! 

2015 Youth Advocacy Summit FlyerJoin us at the next YYA Committee meeting to help solidify the planning of the Summit this Tuesday, September 8 from 10AM-11AM at the Capitol Hill Library Branch (425 Harvard Ave E., Seattle, 98102). We will have color Summit flyers available for you to bring back to your agencies! Please be sure to send a representative from your agency to attend. 

Agenda for the YYA Committee Meeting

  • Agency/Program Updates
  • Peer Leaders & Peer Leader Training
    • Thursday, October 11AM-4PM at HEYO Youth Space (1161 11th Ave in Capitol Hill)
    • Role of Peer Leaders
    • Agency Recruitment
  • Youth Participant Recruitment & Transportation
    • ​Who is doing recruitment from each agency
    • What agencies are sending staff?
    • What agencies can help arrange transportation (eg: car pools, bus tickets, etc.)
    • Other recruitment strategies?
  • Food and Other In-Kind Donations
    • ​What business relationships do we already have that we can utilize?
    • What resources do our agencies already have that can be donated?
    • Who can spend some time sending out some letters to secure donations?
  • Other Roles & Responsibilities
    • ​Day of staff / volunteer support

Start spreading the word about the Summit . . . 
Please help in spreading the word by forwarding this email along to interested youth and young adults and community stakeholders and by posting flyers in your respective youth serving agencies! Adult-identified staff members from youth servicing agencies are welcome to join in supporting the event as well—if you are interested in participating, please reach out!

  • Who: All former or current homeless or unstably housed youth and young adults (ages 13-26) are invited to attend.
  • What: SKCCH Youth Advocacy Summit, a two day advocacy summit providing opportunities for young people to have their voice be heard by city and County elected officials about issues  most important to them!
  • When: Monday, October 5 and Tuesday, October 6 from 830AM-3PM
  • Where: Seattle City Hall
  • Stipends are available for all participants who attend both days of the Youth Summit!
  • To register: email or call Michael Barnes at 206.957.1665, michaelb[at]lifelong[dot]org

More about the Youth Advocacy Summit . . . 
The two day Youth Summit is an opportunity for homeless and at-risk youth and young adults to talk about issues that are most important to them, and to learn and practice advocacy skills. Youth participants learn about how Seattle and King County governments set policies and budgets, identify issues that they care about that are affected by city and County funding priorities, and meet with elected officials to bring youth voice to bear on their decision making.

Recap: General Meeting on Examining Criminal Backgrounds and Housing – July 16 ,2015

This month’s meeting was another brought to you jointly by the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Coalition on Homelessness. We brought together a great team of folks to help us examine criminal backgrounds and housing. The room was packed with over 60 representatives from member organizations and more. Among those in the room were API Chaya, Pike Market Senior Center, Housing Justice Project, The Mockingbird Society, King County 2-1-1, Washington Family Counseling Serice, WSCADV, Theraputic Health Services, Organization for Prostitution Survivors, Valley Cities, Consejo, Urban Rest Stop – LIHI, Wellspring, YWCA, YMCA, King County Public Defense, REACH/LEAD, King County Housing Authority, Year Up, Jewish Family Services, Seattle Housing Authority, Housing Development Consortium, Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness, City of Seattle Human Services Department, Victim Support Team, Capitol Hill Housing, Multi-Service Center, City of Seattle Office of Housing, Columbia Legal Services, Carolyn Downs Clinic, Compass Housing Alliance, City of Kirkland, Bellwether Housing, Columbia Care, and the King County Department of Public Defense. Thank you all for joining in a great conversation!

On the agenda . . .


Examining Criminal Backgrounds and Housing

As an introduction to this much larger topic, we enlisted the help of local researchers, practitioners, and experts to guide us through the basics of what we know and what we are doing within our community regarding criminal backgrounds and housing, both market rate and subsidized.

I. What We Know, Part 1: Research. Madeline Neighly of Columbia Legal Services’s Institutions Project and Margaret King of Downtown Emergency Service Center walked us through two important pieces of research, and future policy changes, such as bringing Ban the Box, which has worked with employment, to the housing sector.

II. Background: What has been happening, and why is the Office of Housing involved? Maureen Kostyack of the Seattle Office of Housing led us through a helpful presentation, covering four topics: 1) mass incarceration and racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system; 2) Fair Housing: disparate impact or disparate treatment?; and 3) criminal background screening reports: a fair assessment of risk?; and 4) increasing access to housing — ongoing efforts in Seattle. See below to download both Maureen’s presentation and also Office of Housing’s guideline for selecting a tenant screening agency. 

III. What We Know, Part 2: The charges that make becoming house harder.  Peter Qualliotine, Martha Linehan, and Debra Boyer of The Organization of Prostitution Survivors (OPS) spoke about the impact of charges related to prostitution and sex work. For example, landlords don’t want to rent to people with these charges because they are fearful the tenant will continue to work out of their unit. OPS and other groups have worked hard to advocate for changes at the local level: increase the penalty on buyers, make referrals to services for women instead of charging them, and never charge a juvenile with prostitution. Peter spoke about the need to also change social norms around prostitution. There very clearly exists a hierarchy and judgement towards those who engage in sex work. OPS is available to lead staff training on these issues.

  • To set up a staff training or to learn more, contact Peter at OPS: peter@seattleops.org, 206.988.5463 x 804

IV. An open discussion about Reducing Barriers. Questions ran the gamut, and made clear the need for a future Case Manager Training, which the Coalition’s gearing up to take on. Topic of interest included: are landlords requests for higher deposits congruent with fair housing; what leverage exists to get landlords on board; what’s flexible and what’s (il)legal; how can one clean up their record, or assist others in doing so; how would the Office of Civil Rights investigate certain cases/issues?

Last, we heard from representatives of three housing organizations that worked with the Office of Housing to loosen eligibility requirements and blanket exclusions, as well as insert individualized assessments. Jennifer Westerman & Sarah Barnes of the Seattle Housing Authority, Rachael Simpson of Bellwether Housing, and Tristan Heart of Capitol Hill Housing each spoke about their process, the changes, and what they’ve learned so far. Jennifer encouraged providers to remind applicants to not screen themselves out because rules and processes have changed for the better. Tristan offered that, while anecdotal, Capitol Hill Housing hasn’t seen an increase in eviction nor violence at properties, affirming that one’s criminal record isn’t a good indicator of whether they will be a good tenant.

V. Additional Resources. Jason Austin with King County 2-1-1 announced that 2-1-1 produces ex-offender and sex offender reentry packets, containing helpful information and resources. Both can be found and downloaded from their website. Clients are welcome to call 2-1-1 and ask for this information to be mailed to them, particularly if they are currently incarcerated.


 

Thank you for a great meeting! We’ll be back with more information, especially about a related Case Manager Training.

Please note: the Coalition will not host an August General Membership meeting, but do continue to attend population committee meetings in August. Visit our website for meeting dates and times.