September 17, 2020 Membership Meeting

Recording of Coalition’s September 17 Membership Meeting.

We are grateful to each presenter for sharing their time and passion with us at our September 17 Membership meeting, and to all who shared questions and insight. Thank you to all those listed below for providing content for our meeting:

Below is a summary of some of the topics that we will discussed at our Thursday, September 17 Membership Meeting. This post will be updated as additional meeting materials are collected.

Register now for our next Membership Meeting on Thursday, October 15 starting at 9am.

Washington Dental Access Campaign

Statewide Poverty Action Network (SPAN) has launched its Washington Dental Access Campaign to bring dental therapy to communities in need. Dental therapists are primary oral health care providers that deliver routine preventive and restorative care to those who need it most. Dental therapists are critical to expanding access to dental care where it is most out of reach, providing timely, quality care to rural, low-income communities and communities of color, and to patients who have coverage through Apple Health or are uninsured. Click here to learn more

Dental therapists were recently authorized to work in select tribal communities. Community dental health advocates are pushing to extend this authorization statewide to bring much needed dental care to communities in need. Click here to support the campaign, and use this organizational sign on form to add your organization to the list of supporters. And click here to view a media toolkit you can use to get the word out to your community.

Community Nutrition Update 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has signed a waiver allowing for the extension of summer meal programs into the remainder of 2020. This means that schools and community-based organizations that sponsor summer meal programs may continue to do what they stated last spring: feed any child (age 0-18) for free, regardless of what school they attend, or whether they are enrolled in school at all. Meal programs do not have to verify a child’s name, school of origin or household income. USDA had already extended waivers that allow schools to provide multiple meals at one time and allow adults to pick up meals without their children present. Nutrition advocates applaud this decision and are pushing for the USDA to extend this rule change through the end of the 2020-21 school year. Click here to add your organization to a sign-on letter in support of this, and use this call script to tell your representative to prioritize child nutrition in the next COVID-19 relief package.

 BUT – None of these changes are a full substitute for enrolling school age children into meals programs.  Because schools are now able to offer free meals to all kids using the Summer Meals waivers, it will be a challenge for families to remember they need to do this. Make sure the families you serve and work with complete a 2020-21 school meal application with their local school district. Click here to find enrollment information for your district.

Financial Empowerment Series Preview

Following our July 30 Financial Empowerment Workshop, the Coalition on Homelessness and Hopelink are offering a series of monthly mini-trainings to further explore the Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) toolkit. We plan to take a closer look at each topic, with an eye towards creating space to share experiences using the Toolkit with those you serve. We will start this series by introducing the YMYG Toolkit and focus on how to discuss finances with clients. Register here for the first session on Wednesday, September 30 from 10:30 to 11:30am.

Upcoming Training Dates:

  • September 30, 2020: How to Discuss  Finances
  • October 28, 2020: Setting Goals
  • December 2, 2020: Saving
  • January 27, 2021: Tracking income & benefits

 Voting Rights in a Pandemic

The November election is two months away, a good time to remind people that you do not need a house to vote! We will be joined by Recovery Cafe to hear about their experience offering voter registration during this time, and hear from Civil Survival about efforts to enact voting right restoration legislation in Washington. Check out our remote voter registration materials here, then join us on Thursday to learn more. 

Civil Survival and the Washington Voting Rights Restoration Coalition are looking to collect stories and quotes from those who have been disenfranchised (deprived of the right to vote) due to felony convictions in an effort to ensure all voices are heard in the advocacy process. Currently, there are thousands of people in Washington state who are living and working in our communities but are unable to vote and participate in our democracy because of a felony conviction, even though they are no longer incarcerated. For more information, click here to fill out their survey or contact Roxana Gomez at rgomez@aclu-wa.org

Civil Survival also previewed a five-part webinar series on vacating your conviction record to celebrate National Expungement Week. Webinars run September 21 through September 25, click here to register.

Community Resources

Young Adult Eviction Prevention: The Y Social Impact Center is offering up to three months of rent assistance for young adults ages 18-24 who live in King County. Click here for more information, or email renthelp@seattleymca.org for more information. Start your application here

Child Nutrition and Back to School: You can review our back to school support information here, including a list of all King County McKinney-Vento Liaisons for the 2020-21 school year. A recording of our Helping Homeless Students info session, along with a copy of all materials discussed, have been uploaded to our website which can be viewed here.

Virtual Arts Programming: Path with Art is interested in bringing remote enrichment opportunities to homeless service programs in King County. Please complete this interest form for more information.

Transportation Advocacy

The Coalition on Homelessness is partnering with Transportation Choices Coalition and other mobility justice champions to host an Interactive Storytelling Workshop. Proposed cuts to transit service loom large as the COVID recession continues. We must keep transit rider stories front and center to maintain support for transit service to maintain this critical community lifeline. We hope you will join us Wednesday, September 30 at 9am, click here to register.

As part of our commitment to transit equity, we are joining with our community partners to call on Sound Transit to decriminalize their fare enforcement procedures. Failure to properly pay fare on Sound Transit services can result in Court-issued fines, debt collection and criminal charges. These policies trap marginalized communities in cycles of poverty and lead to unnecessary stress and harm, as well as costs to taxpayers. Fare non-payment should never be an entry to the criminal-legal system or lead to interactions with law enforcement. Sound Transit’s board will be considering some proposed reforms to the agency’s fare enforcement program, including adding an extra warning and lowering the amount of the fine. While these are positive steps, the proposals don’t go nearly far enough. Please take a moment to email the Sound Transit leadership and board using this action link, urging them to divorce fare enforcement entirely from policing and the court system.

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. Both of these actions have been temporarily blocked by the courts, making it  more important than ever to help those you work with complete the Census as soon as possible.

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, email Micaella Verro with United Way King County to get connected with Census operations staff. 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 and gender non-conforming 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.

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.

May 21, 2020 Coalition Annual Membership Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual Membership Meeting!

Sign up for Coalition emails to make sure you receive updates and notice of upcoming meetings. Highlights and resources shared on the call are below.

Click here to view the Coalition’s PowerPoint Presentation.

Recording of the Coalition’s Annual Membership Meeting, May 21, 2020.
**We started the recording about 10 minutes into the meeting. Missing from this recording is the opening ceremony by Randy with Chief Seattle Club.*
  • 9:00 – Welcome and Introduction
  • Opening Ceremony by Chief Seattle Club Drummers – thank you Randy Tippins-Firstrider, Youth Outreach Case Manager with Chief Seattle Club

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New Coalition Mission, Vision, and Values – Thank you to Coalition Board members for sharing our new guiding principles. And thank you to all our members who contributed to this process

  • Kate Baber, President, Coalition on Homelessness Board
  • Anna Strahan, Coalition on Homelessness Board Member
  • Derrick Belgarde, Treasurer, Coalition on Homelessness Board

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Board of Directors Election: Each dues-paying member organization has one vote to elect the slate of candidates for the Board. We are pleased that four Board members have agreed to renew their terms of service: Derrick Belgarde, Katie Escudero, Benjamin Miksch, Jenn Romo. Primary membership contacts will hear from us directly about this. If you think you are the person who should vote, or have a question, please email us

Highlights from the past year with the Coalition – see photos in our PowerPoint Presentation linked above!

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City, County and Statewide Advocacy Opportunities

Regarding sweeps currently happening in the City of Seattle, Alison shared:

  • “We don’t find it to be acceptable under any circumstances that people are left to fend for themselves. We have proudly and successfully wrangled with multiple mayoral administrations over these kinds of dehumanizing and morally wrong actions. And now this.
  • In the context of a global health emergency, in context of interim guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that clearly states in the absence of individual housing options people living unsheltered should not be moved during community transmission of COVID-19; We are seeing the City of Seattle go against what Mayor Durkan and members of her administration said at the beginning of this pandemic – which was that they would only take such action in a true emergency.
  • We’ve now, this week alone, seen at least 2 major sweeps of people experiencing homelessness outside. We’ve seen at least two others, both the Ballard Commons sweep on May 4 and a sweep of a portion of the area outside the Navigation Center Shelter on April 24.
  • The Coalition has expressed our strong opposition and outrage not only to the mayor and the city council, but we’ve been in communication with people at the CDC, with our Public Health Department and with the Washington State Attorney General’s office as well as with attorneys on the ground here. I want to assure you our members that we’ll continue to advocate essentially on every front possible. I want to recognize and acknowledge the extraordinary work of the frontline outreach staff.”

City Council Proposal (CB 119796) to suspend sweeps during the stay home, stay healthy order

Prepare for a likely Special Session of the State Legislature

  • Look up your state legislative district: https://bit.ly/walegdistricts
  • Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
  • We don’t know exactly when a special session might happen, but it is likely
  • We’ll need everyone to get engaged now to get our boards and organizations ready to ask for massive progressive revenue in the state. Washington is facing a major budget deficit and a vast majority of the budget that is discretionary and could be changed is human services, housing, and homelessness related funding. Get ready!
  • We’ll host a Homelessness Advocacy 101 workshop virtually before a special session begins.

——–

Director Chat

Sound Transit issued a press advisory stating that they’ll begin resuming fare collection and fare enforcement on the light rail. Speak up soon – we’ll post an action for people to take before the Sound Transit Board Meeting where this will be discussed next Thursday, May 28.

We’ll be hiring soon – stay tuned.

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COVID Resources Update: Check out our resources page: http://homelessinfo.org/resource/covid/

  • Our Homeless Service Change Tracker with information on the status of day centers, meal services and shelter programs in King County. We want to keep this as up to date as possible, if you see the need for additions of corrections please email those to us.
  • A variety of resource guides, including these step by step instructions for helping someone file to receive their stimulus payments.

EFSP Funding Announcement: King County has been awarded $ 1.9M in federal funds under Phases 37 and Phase CARES of the Emergency Food and Shelter National Program. The money is to be used to supplement existing emergency food and shelter programs in King County

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Census 2020 Updates

Help folks you work with complete the Census. The deadline is now October 31, but we encourage people to fill out the Census as soon as possible.

People can complete the Census in three 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.
  • Mail in paper forms – for households who didn’t respond by mid-April, people should have received a paper form in the mail. Other than that, unless your organization is working with the Census Bureau directly to have paper forms, it is best to help people fill out the census online or via the phone.
    • In-person non-response follow-up to households who have not completed the Census is currently scheduled for August 11 – October 31.

Toolkits available with information and visuals to share

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Face Covering Directive and Cloth Mask Distribution Efforts

  • Information about Face Covering Directive: www.kingcounty.gov/masks
  • The Coalition, in partnership with King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is helping to distribute cloth masks to get to people who are experiencing homelessness. Key contacts at provider organizations should have received an email from DCHS on 5/20.

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Guest Musical Performance by Dear Crow (Penka Jane Culevski and Brian Lindsey). Thank you. As a meeting attendee said, musical medicine.

Resources from the meeting we’ll highlight (more to be added after the meeting)

March 19, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting Zoom Call – Agenda, Zoom tips, Resources

Thank you to all who joined our meeting – we had over 100 folks participate. Sign up for Coalition emails to make sure you receive updates and notice of upcoming meetings.
Highlights of resources shared on the call are below.

Recording of the Coalition’s March 19, 2020 General Membership Meeting
(video content starts around 1:00 min, enjoy a silent awkward beginning)

Agenda from Thursday, March 19 meeting

  • 9:00 – Introduction to meeting, zoom call tips, welcome from Coalition, Grounding exercise
  • 9:15 – 10:25- COVID-19 for Homeless Service Providers
    • Jody Rauch, Clinical Quality Lead, Health Care for the Homeless Network
    • Marta Lema, Homelessness Response Coordinator, Public Health Seattle-King County Environmental Health Services Division
    • Leo Flor, Director of King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS)
  • 10:25 – 10: 35 – Legislative Session Wrap-Up part 1
  • 10:35 – 10:50 – COVID-19 State policy changes (just a couple)
  • 10:50 – 11:10 – 2020 Legislative Session Debrief
    • Sarah Brady, Policy & Advocacy Manager, Child Care Resources
    • Michele Thomas, Director of Policy & Advocacy, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
  • 11:10 – Census 2020 Update
    • Stay tuned for further communications
    • Partners on the phone:
  • Next Monthly Membership Meeting: Thursday, April 16, 9:00 a.m. via Zoom (Please register for call).

Resources from the meeting we’ll highlight (more to be added after the meeting)

COVID-19 related

Legislative Session Highlights & State advocacy around coronavirus

Census Resources

Zoom 101 tips for our meeting

  1. We will provide the Zoom call info ahead of time via email and on social media, so join us early that morning!
  2. If you’re on a computer, access the call via link we’ll provide. Computer is recommended as it’s easier to engage in the call by seeing the chat, seeing the participants, and having visual ability.
  3. If you’re calling in, dial the provided number, and provide the meeting ID number when prompted. To switch between mute and unmute, press *6 or use the mute ability on your cell phone.
  4. Please provide your name and organization, if applicable, as your display name so we know who has joined us
  5. Please provide your email in the chat to ensure you receive our follow-up email
  6. The chat box is a great way to engage in conversation during the call with the host and other participants – ask questions, share information and resources, and provide feedback
  7. Do you have access to a computer without a microphone or a phone without visuals? You can join via both in order to get the full benefit of the call