Helping Homeless Students: McKinney Vento 101 Info & Resource Session for Homeless Service Providers

Thank you to everyone who attended our Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101 Information and Resource Session on Thursday September 3. A huge thank you to Kayla Blau, Mehret Tekle-Awarun, Samie Iverson, Oliver Alexander-Adams, Karen Pillar, Sharonne Navas and Jessyca Murphy for sharing their knowledge and passion with us. We appreciate the lively conversation had in the chat box and out loud during the workshop.

You can review some of the tools and resources discussed at the information session below. If you have questions or wish to provide additional materials to this collection, please email your questions to Jason.

Recording of Helping Homeless Students Info & Resource Recording  Password: Students101!

Read about Education Rights for Homeless and Unstably Housed Students, which includes our updated 2020-2021 King County McKinney Vento Liaison list.


Building Changes

Click here to view Building Changes’ PowerPoint presentation.
  • Mehret Tekle-Awarun and Samie Iverson shared information about Schoolhouse Washington, a project of Building Changes. In partnership with the Raikes Foundation, they have created the Washington State Student and Youth Homelessness COVID-19 Response Fund to augment existing public dollars that will be used to support students, youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Building Changes will distribute funds to help organizations, schools, and local tribes meet needs that may otherwise be difficult to fulfill or sustain without additional assistance. 
  • Student Needs Survey: To identify homeless students most immediate needs, Schoolhouse Washington also surveyed McKinney-Vento liaisons across the state who work directly with highly mobile students and their families. In return, they received responses from liaisons in 74 school districts across 32 counties who collectively serve nearly 17,000 students experiencing homelessness in Washington State. Click here to review the findings of their study.
  • The top five needs identified by survey respondents were: food, mobile hotspots/internet access, devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, computers, phones), hygiene supplies, and rental assistance. Narrative responses shed light on what school districts are doing to try to meet basic needs, increase educational access, and stay connected with students and their families. Some promising practices have emerged, such as the formation of new and creative community partnerships. However, just as illuminating are issues and student populations that did not show up in survey responses, such as equity, English language learners, students living with disabilities, and survivors of domestic violence.
  • Read the summary of their findings here.

TeamChild

  • Their mission is to uphold the rights of youth involved, or at risk of being involved, in the juvenile justice system to help them secure the education, healthcare, housing and other supports they need to achieve positive outcomes in their life. If you would like to request  assistance, please complete this referral form or call toll free (877) 295-2714
  • Karen Pillar, staff attorney with TeamChild helped us review legal rights afforded to homeless school age children, including questions related to attendance and tips for navigating the school district conflict resolution process. They have produced an Education in the Wake of COVID-19 Know Your Rights Manual for more information on this topic.

Equity In Education Coalition

  • The Equity in Education Coalition (EEC) is a statewide civil rights organization focused on revolutionizing education so that a child’s race and zip code aren’t the predicating factors in defining their success. They envision a future where the opportunity gap is eliminated in Washington State – a future where every child of color in Washington achieves success from birth through their careers. To achieve this vision, EEC continues to build a movement of power within communities of color to advocate for an education system that promotes equity. Click here to learn more about their work.
  • EEC is hosting a mask fundraiser to support their work to undo institutionalized racism in the education system, click here to learn more.
  • Sharrone Navas shared information about the Washington’s Address Confidentiality Program (ACP),  a records protection and mail forwarding service. Passed by legislature in 1991, ACP is used as part of an overall safety plan to prevent perpetrators from locating participants throughout public records such as driver licenses, voter registries and marriage records. Washington’s Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) has helped protect survivors of crime for more than 25 years. The program is available to Washington residents who are targets of stalking, domestic violence, trafficking or sexual assault. In 2011, the ACP expanded to include criminal justice employees who have been threatened or harassed because of their work. Currently, the ACP serves more than 4,500 Washingtonians. Washington’s ACP was the first program of its kind in the nation. Today some 35 other states have established similar programs.

Path with Art

  • A Seattle based nonprofit dedicated to healing transformation through art and art therapy. Their mission is to connect with those carrying various form of trauma and harness the power of creative engagement as a bridge to community and a path to stability. Check out some of their free remote offerings here.
  • Path with Art is interested in partnering with family service providers to bringing remote enrichment opportunities to families with children experiencing homelessness in King County. If your program is interested, please complete this survey or email Jessyca Murphy.  

Coalition on Homelessness Updates

  • Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT): A one-time food voucher available to families with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the school they attend. Families with children eligible for free and reduced-price meals may be able to receive as much as $399 per child in this benefit. This benefit does not consider immigration status and is not subject to the Public Charge Rule. Application deadline Friday September 11, for more information please review these training materials.
  • 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. 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. Please take two minutes to fill this survey so we can help ensure your residents and guests get counted.
  • Monthly Meeting Reminder: In addition to hosting workshops for service providers, The Coalition on Homelessness also hosts monthly membership meetings on the third Thursday of every month from 9am to 11am via Zoom. These meetings are a space to learn about topics relevant to staff working directly with clients, residents, tenants, and guests experiencing homelessness, discuss current homeless services and housing issues, speak up and take part in advocacy, and network with colleagues and allies from around King County. Our next meeting is on Thursday, September 17 at 9am, click here to register.

Project Cool 2015 is in full swing! Learn about easy ways to get involved, and mark your calendar for Volunteer Days.

This is an exciting time of year: flowers are blooming, days are longer, and Project Cool for Back-to-School is in full swing!!!

Two weeks ago a group of students from Concordia University in Portland finished off their week of service with Project Cool, sorting and counting supplies as we prepare for our summer volunteer days.  See below for more details.
Two weeks ago a group of students from Concordia University in Portland finished their week of service with Project Cool sorting and counting supplies to get ready for summer volunteer days. See below for more.

I have been waiting for Project Cool since I joined the Coalition back in September and am so excited it is finally here.  The work to make sure that students start off the school year with a new backpack and school supplies, just like their peers, is very important and further enhanced by the Understanding Homeless Students’ Educational Rights guide that each student receives.

I know that Project Cool would not be possible without the support, work, and some sweat while stuffing backpacks of our awesome Coalition supporters and volunteers and I’m looking forward to working with you this year. Ready to get involved? see how below!


Ready… Set… Go! Here are 5 ways you can get involved:

  1. Supply Drives. Now is a great time to start your own supply drive, and encourage others to do the same. You can use this Project Cool Supply Drive Flyer (with Wish List). Contact me if you’d like a tailored flyer. We hope you have fun with them, too — there are so many ways to be creative and think outside the box. For example, Northwest Honkers Baseball is set up to ask their game day patrons to donate school supplies in lieu of a gate fee during summer games.  RSVP to let me know if you can host a supply drive in the Spring or Fall. 
  2. Dental Donations. We need your help to reach out to Dentists for floss, toothbrush, and toothpaste donations. Do you have an upcoming dentist appointment, or is there a nearby dentist office in your community? Use our Dentist Letter to ask your personal or local dentist to donate supplies to Project Cool.
  3. Encourage your work, community group, bank, or faith organization to become a Project Cool Sponsor. Reach out to me to get more information.
  4. ‘Like’ Project Cool on Facebook, invite your friends to do the same, and share posts to boost our reach online. Every action makes a big impact.
  5. Sign up for Volunteer Days: Monday, July 13 – Sunday, July 19.  Volunteers have fun counting, sorting, and organizing supplies to fill backpacks for distribution. We’d love your help, and we welcome groups! Sign up for a volunteer shift on our website and email me if you would like to arrange a group.

Thank You Students from Concordia University’s Alternative Break Leadership Experiences for an awesome day of service!

After a week of service work at Union Gospel Mission, Urban Rest Stop, and Operation Nightwatch, a group of six students and two leaders focusing on serving and and learning about homelessness, hunger, and youth poverty came to the Church of Hope to help sort donated supplies for Project Cool.  They worked with determination and we shared in conversation about their time in Seattle and what they had been learning.
New Shelves!!!Our new friends not only sorted and counted supplies, but also assembled new shelves!  If any of you have volunteered with Project Cool in the Church of Hope and seen our supply closet, you may know that it was definitely in need of shelves to help store donations.  Look how organized the space is now!  It brought smiles to Staff’s faces to see items neatly sorted.

This group of students is really special, they are going to make a difference in the world and I am fortunate we had the opportunity to work together and learn from one another.  When 1pm rolled around, our end time, the group was full into bundling and counting pencils and I said they could be done; they responded, “no”!  With determination they sorted every last pencil, a great example of knowing that their time can make a positive difference.  Thank you.  I will leave you with a few inspiring quotes that group members wrote on advocacy postcards after their hard (and extended) day’s work.

I hope to see you at volunteer days this July!

“My team and I from Concordia University have had the opportunity to spend the past week working with low income students and see that they have a huge need in so many areas that any assistance would be a huge gain.”

“I had the wonderful opportunity to help sort items with project cool. The homeless do matter!!”

“Every child deserves education and the resources they need to succeed
All people matter. We have to help each individual to transform our society into a better community”

Help us spread the word about these fun, family-friendly events — all to support Project Cool!

There’s so much to love about Project Cool. One of my favorite parts is how it brings people together. For example, two groups – Northwest Honkers Baseball and Anything is Possible Theater – reached out to us because they wanted to support Project Cool at their upcoming summer events. Baseball, theater, and Project Cool? What lovely and fun partnerships!

I’m happy to announce these 5 fun, family-friendly community events, each to benefit Project Cool. Please help us spread the word about these great events!

#1  Robin HoodJoin us on June 21st for the Rainier Valley Cultural Center’s *Special Giving Night!* For one night only, your ticket will double as entry for the play and an after-play event. Theater fans will get the chance to gather under the stars for refreshments, beverages, and entertainment–all to benefit organizations working in our community to alleviate hunger and poverty–including the Rainier Valley Food Bank, Columbia City Church of Hope (Mary’s Place – Seattle), and Project Cool for Back-to-School. Don’t miss this wonderful production while supporting some great causes! Purchase your tickets here.

Where:3515 South Alaska Street, Seattle, WA 98118 // When: Saturday, June 21 @ 7PM

#2-5  The Northwest Honkers baseball team has graciously designated a handful of home games, where attendees can either purchase items from the Project Cool Wish List or pay a $3 gate fee, which will be donated to Project Cool. Join the Honkers on the following days to show your support:

  • Thursday, July 3rd  at 7 p.m. @ Kent Memorial vs. Laces
  • Tuesday, July 8th at 7 p.m. @ Kent Memorial vs. Studs
  • Thursday, July 17th at 7 p.m. @ Shorecrest HS vs. Merchants
  • Tuesday, July 22nd at 7 p.m. @ Kent Memorial vs. PBC Zips

Wanna help spread the love? Share this flyer with your networks: 2014 Project Cool Events_HonkersRobinHood

Project Cool 2014 is in full swing!

Project Cool Meme 2014

The cherry blossoms are blooming, the Mariner’s had their first at-home game of the season, and the sun is finally out in full force. With all these new beginnings, it’s a natural time to start Project Cool for Back-to-School, our Coalition’s beloved backpack and supply drive to support homeless students!

Learn more about Project Cool on our website, and keep reading to find out how you can get involved over the next few months to support homeless students through Project Cool.

Ready… Set… Go!

Here are 4 ways you can get involved:

  1. Supply Drives. Now is a great time to start your own donation supply drive, and encourage others to do the same. We hope you to have fun with them — there are so many ways to be creative and think outside the box. For example, Northwest Honkers Baseball will ask their game day patrons to donate school supplies in lieu of a gate fee during summer games. Use this Project Cool Supply Drive Flyer (with Wish List). Contact me if you’d like a tailored flyer.
  2. Dental Donations. We need your help to reach out to Dentists for floss, toothbrush, and toothpaste donations. Do you have an upcoming dentist appointment, or is there a nearby dentist office in your community? Use our Dentist Letter to ask your personal or local dentist to donate to Project Cool.
  3. Sponsorship. Encourage your work, community group, bank, or faith organization to become a Project Cool Sponsor.
  4. Facebook. ‘Like’ Project Cool on Facebook, invite your friends to do the same, and share posts to boost our reach online. Your action makes a huge difference!

And be sure to mark your calendars for Volunteer Days in early July 2014. During the first two weeks of July volunteers have fun counting, sorting, and organizing supplies to fill backpacks for distribution. We’d love your help, and we welcome groups! If you’d like to help or even arrange a group, then let me know.

Thank you for all you do to support Project Cool students!