December 17, 2020 State Legislative Preview Meeting

Agenda

  • 9:00-9:20             Welcome and Intro to State Legislative Advocacy
  • 9:20-10:05           Legislative Priorities from our Statewide Advocacy Partners
  • 10:05-10:30         Lawmaker Insights with State Senator Patty Kuderer and Representative Nicole Macri
  • 10:30-11:00         Special Musical Guest Reggie Garrett

State Legislative Advocacy Basics

The first step in advocating on the state level is knowing who represents your community in Olympia. Washington state is divided into 49 legislative districts, which elect one senator to the State Senate and two representatives to the State House. You can use this link to look up your legislators: https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/

To look up your state legislative district and state legislators:

  1. Visit app.wa.leg.gov/districtfinder
  2. Enter your home address and click “Find My District”. If you do not have a traditional home address, enter a mailing address, or a cross street, shelter address, or park address. This determines who represents you.
    • Make sure that under “District Type”, “Legislative” is selected. This will show you your legislative district (usually a number) and your Washington state senators and representatives.
  3. Make a note of your legislative district number. If you haven’t already, rename yourself with your legislative district in front of your name!
  4. Make a note of the names of your legislators!
    • Bonus points if you click on your legislators’ names to learn more about them, including what committees they are part of and what bills they’ve sponsored
    • Extra, extra bonus points if you add their contact information to your rolodex!

Participating in Virtual Legislative Advocacy

With the legislature meeting remotely this year, advocacy will happen remotely as well. Opportunities to connect with lawmakers will happen in the communities we live, which means your program or agency can play an important part in raising the voices of those most impacted by homelessness. We want to give some thought to the questions below. Please reach out to either Saleena or Jason to share your thoughts.

  • Is your program or agency planning to engage staff and clients in advocacy in the upcoming session? If so, please tell us what you are preparing to do.
  • Are you interested in bringing advocacy opportunities to guests, clients and residents of your program? If so, what would you need to be successful in this?
  • The Coalition is considering convening regular meetings during session to provide updates to our members and share tools to make advocacy accessible to those in our community. Is this something you or one of your staff would be interested in participating in?

Statewide Advocacy Partner 2021 Priorities and Agendas at a Glance

Statewide Poverty Action NetworkView Meeting Slides Here

Omar Cuevas Vega with Statewide Poverty Action Network shared some of their 2021 legislative priorities, which include strengthening public benefit programs like TANF and HEN and advocating for new sources of progressive revenue. Omar also shared information on the 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. 

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.

Below are some housing and homelessness related priorities that Poverty Action Network will be focused on.
View full policy agenda here.

  1. Building a Stronger Safety Net
    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – continued investments to TANF and policy changes that restore policies which prioritize equity and the well-being of families and children
      • Protect current investments in the TANF program that help families meet their most basic need;
      • Extend relief measures implemented during COVID, especially through the following economic downturn;
      • Enacting common-sense time limit extensions and easing harsh sanction policies. 
    • Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) and Aged, Blind, Disabled (ABD) – protecting all investments and refusing any cuts to HEN and ABD. Austerity budget cuts harmed adults with disabilities during the great recession, and our state has the opportunity to refuse to make the same mistake during this economic downturn. A state budget shortfall does not have to mean fewer supports for adults with disabilities.  
  2. Progressive Revenue – implement progressive revenue solutions that rebalances our state tax code by:
    • Urging Washington state lawmakers to rebalance our tax code with measures like estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and payroll taxes,
    • Encouraging Washington elected leaders to explore programs like universal basic income, and to use federal COVID relief funds or other state funds for a Recovery Rebate to put cash in the pockets of all Washingtonians.

Funding and expanding the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), which is Washington state’s version of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the federal government’s most

Poverty Action is hosting a virtual lobby day on Martin Luther King Jr Day (Monday, January 18 2021). Click here to register. We encourage those interested to register by Monday, January 4 to receive an advocacy tool box in the mail prior to the event.

Washington Voting Rights Restoration Coalition (WVRRC)

Restore voting rights to thousands of Washington residents

The WVRRC coalition is made up of the ACLU Washington, Civil Survival, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, and many other organizations that seek to advance justice and promote racial equity. This year, the WVRRC is working hard to pass HB 2992 / SB 6228 to restore voting rights to people who have been formerly incarcerated and support their reintegration into our communities.

Please visit the WVRCC website to learn more about how you can support this important piece of legislation. Have you or someone you know had their voting rights taken away? WVRRC wants to hear your stories! Please fill out or share this survey if you or someone you know has been impacted by the justice system.

Washington Low Income Housing AllianceView Meeting Slides Here

View 2021 legislative priorities and advocacy tips here.

John Stovall shared the 2021 legislative priorities for the Housing Alliance, which include extending the statewide eviction moratorium and enacting Good Cause tenant protections. The Housing Alliance is looking to recruit interested community members to join their advocacy team, if interested sign up here. Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Week is coming up on February 8 through February 12. Registration begins on Monday January 4, stay tuned for details.

The Housing Alliance is also gathering stories of Washington residents who have had their housing status impacted by COVID-19. If you or someone you know has a story to share please submit this form.

Lead Agenda Items: 

  • Invest $240 million for the Housing Trust Fund and an additional $10 million from the Capital Budget for preservation of affordable housing (USDA and other properties at risk of loss).
  • Keep people in their homes and prevent an increase in homelessness:
    Pass statewide protections against discriminatory and arbitrary evictions (good cause termination requirements) and prevent evictions based on nonpayment of rent with improved legal protections and rental assistance.
  • Increase state resources to prevent and end homelessness:
    Significantly increase the state’s document recording fee to increase resources to prevent homelessness.
  • Protect against any cuts to affordable housing, homelessness and human services programs by passing significant new progressive revenue.

Support Agenda Issues 

  • Ban discrimination against renters based on a prior criminal record (Housing Justice Act).
  • Foreclosure prevention.
  • Equity and racial justice: support a racial justice and/or immigrant rights ask (if appropriate and asked to do so).
  • Prevent any expansion of the MFTE program without requiring deeper affordability, tenant protections and anti-displacement protections.

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

Recap: Coalition’s General Membership Meeting — May 21, 2015

General Membership MeetingYou packed the room at our May 21 General Membership Meeting. Among the friendly faces were folks from Farestart, Sound Mental Health, Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, Harborview, City of Redmond, Housing Development Consortium, Hopelink, 2-1-1, Solid Ground, Seattle Community Law Center, Compass Housing Alliance, ROOTS, Catholic Community Services – Aloha Inn, Jewish Family Services, YearUp, Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness, Real Change, Global to Local, City of Seattle Human Services Department, Seattle Parks Department, resident of Pioneer Square, UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry, 45th Street Youth Clinic (Neighborcare), Low Income Housing Institute, REACH, UW Law School, YWCA Landlord Liaison Project. This broad representation from our member organizations and community as a whole helped facilitate important, timely dialogue with Seattle Human Services Department Director and Deputy Director as well as Acting Parks Superintendent.

Here’s a brief recap . . . 
[Psssst! Don’t miss out in the future — add our General Meeting dates to your calendar.]

I. Discussion with Director Catherine Lester & Deputy Directors Heidi Albritton
Catherine stared by sharing her background, starting at age 4, to help us understand her motivations, perspective, and reasons why she does what she does. She has five over-arching focuses/goals for HSD:

  1. Results. Generate results that are measurable, and that increase equity and decrease disparity. Measures vary, and need to be properly applied (e.g., quality vs performance vs outcome).
  2. Public Stewardship. HSD has had audit findings each year for the last four years. This isn’t good for many reasons, two of which are: 1) calls the question about whether HSD can do the job, and 2) risks money that flows to providers.
  3. Preferred Employer. Create a working environment that is positive and productive. This absolutely includes ensuring that providers have better, positive experiences working with HSD staff.
  4. Innovation.(Let’s continue to honor innovations that already exist.) Spoke specifically towards “regionalism.” While this means different things to different people, Catherine wants to get a clear working definition that places Seattle as a part of a whole, and recognize that many other cities look to Seattle for their next steps. What we do matters to more than just Seattle because Seattle is a Regional City.
  5. Prepare for Future Differently. Capacity gaps both within our provider network and within provider agencies exist and those must be addressed to move forward effectively. Capacity gaps include, but are not limited to: data and evaluation, fiscal, employee.

II. City of Seattle’s Homelessness Investments and HSD plans going forward
[Link to Homelessness Investment Analysis]

  • Aimed to be City of Seattle-specific context setting to benefit Mayor Murray’s understanding of his department. The City of Seattle has ~$40 million annual investment in homelessness programs, and yet we still witness, each year, an uptick of people in need. Here’s what’s on the table to address:
    • Service Models: intervention, prevention
    • Funder issues: “I wish these funders would get their stuff together” is a common, known sentiment among providers.
    • Efficiency in how HSD contracts: 550 contracts with 200 unique organizations is not healthy nor sustainable. Must get a handle on this.
    • Data and Evaluation Capacity: HSD needs to allow organizations to make use of the data they submit, and HSD needs to make visible how data is used
  • Other mentionable points of discussion: 1) evaluate and, when appropriate, scale pilots, and 2) system readiness and capacity, both within HSD system and in our community (of providers)
  • Highlights from open Q&A: Pilot time frame; existing metrics that concern HSD; gaps in provider network; Safe Harbors (tabled this discussion); Outcomes, especially for shelters; coordinated entry systems; Partnership among HSD and providers re: planning; Quality of service – trainings for people from a variety of different backgrounds (i.e. someone with a record might not have the education we typically say is required for a job, but has the experience – provide training in such situations to make sure people’s potentials are being reached & experience is brought in).

III. Being Homeless in Public: Implications of the proposed Seattle Parks Smoking Ban 

  • Facilitation convo w/ remarks from Acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams and Susanne Rockwell
  • Overwhelming response regarding impacts of the proposed Seattle Parks smoking ban. In response, Parks will:
    1. Eliminate citation ($27)
    2. Create citizen advisory committee (approx. 5 people), whose purpose is to monitor enforcement data more regularly (e.g., every 90 days)
    3. Create a quasi-appeals process (e.g., “right to dispute”)
    4. Partner with Seattle/King County Public Health to connect folks with education about smoking and cessation programs.
  • Superintendent Williams stressed that the smoking ban will not result in the banning people from parks, which is in line with, and reinforces, changes to Parks policy in 2012. One could, after many warnings and couple with more egregious behaviors, be arrested; however, said person would never be banned from the park. Williams mentioned that he doesn’t think they will see people being arrested after 2 warnings because they will feel peer pressure to not smoke. Also mentioned Parks needs to educate about where people can smoke (sidewalks/public domain).
  • Principle surrounding the ban of smoking is similar to the ban on public consumption of alcohol and amplified sound.
  • Final vote will happen at May 28 Parks Commissioner meeting. Public comment will not be heard at this meeting, but all are welcome to attend (and submit written comment!). This vote is a recommendation to the Mayor to pass or not pass ban – then a letter is sent to the City Clerk and there is a 30 day pause on implementation.
  • Highlights from open Q&A: Exclusions Vape Pens and E-Cigs; Existing 25-foot rule; Discussion of Seattle Police Department enforcement and training; How citations would work; Success in other cities? Boulder, Colorado did this and it’s not going well; If we see a disproportionate effect on people who are homeless and unstable housed, then what’s next to fix?

IV. Good/Bad/Ugly/Take Action Updates: Olympia and (Seattle) Linkage Fee
Legislative Updates . . . Robin Zukoski, Columbia Legal Services

  • There is a different dynamic in Olympia this year, and that’s a good thing. True, we still have much advocacy work to do to build stronger programs over the coming years, and to ensure that the final compromise budget is a stronger one.
  • HEN/ABD – no proposed cuts this year, and that’s a win (even if it doesn’t quite feel that way). However, you need to contact your legislators and Department of Commerce to tell them the importance of HEN and the ways in which it needs to be strengthened in order to serve more people and serve all people better. And be sure to stay tuned because there’s concern that Legislators may try to fund other programs by gutting HEN/ABD. We’ll be sure to alert you as soon as Robin sends us the word to take action.
  • TANF is not faring well, and needs our advocacy to ensure that final budget compromise increases supports for TANF and the families and children who benefit.
  • WTAP/Community Voicemail, 2-1-1 Funding: good advocacy campaigns are in motion. Continue to send Legislators your cards, letters, and love notes about the importance of this program. They simply don’t understand it’s value and that people depend upon it.
  • Homeless Students Stability Act is still in play this special session. Everyone agrees on the concept, but many disagree on the money component. Stay tuned for a TAKE ACTION alert.
  • Housing Trust Fund: $80M is our target number at this point, but it’s not a done deal. Stay tuned for a TAKE ACTION alert.
  • This was a GREAT year for Youth-specific issues. See Coalition’s blog posts about the big wins.

Linkage Fee Updates . . . Kayla Schott-Bresler, Housing Development Consortium

  • Learn more and sign the petition at growingtogetherseattle.org.
    1. “Seattle is growing rapidly. Despite our work towards building a great city, the benefits of major growth and investment are not shared by everyone. We must act soon to keep modest-wage workers and their families from being forced to move away from our vibrant city because housing costs are too high.”
    2. “An affordable housing linkage fee is a tool that can help Seattle remain a place for people of all incomes to prosper in place. A linkage fee is a per square foot fee on new development to mitigate the increased demand for affordable housing caused by that development. It’s time to follow in the footsteps of cities across the country and adopt a strong affordable housing linkage fee program.”

V. Coalition Updates w/ Staff

  • Project Cool 2015- it’s here – get involved to support students who are homeless! For more info, contact Hillary@homelessinfo.org
  • ORCA LIFT – What’s working? What isn’t? What improvements do you recommend? What ideas do you have to get more people signed up? What would make the sign-up process easier? We’re working on all of these issues, and will be submitting the Coalition’s recommendations to Metro and the City of Seattle shortly. Stay tuned!
  • Report back from the 25th Annual Conference on Ending Homelessness – We want to hear from you about your three favorite workshops! Send rebecca@homelessinfo.org your response.

 

Join us next month for our joint General Membership (open meeting) and Case Manager Training (RSVP required). Topic: Street Drugs 101 + Good Samaritan Laws + Naloxone. Mark your calendars – June 18 from 9.00-12.30 a.m. at the E. Cherry YWCA (2820 E. Cherry Street, Seattle, WA 98144).