The following comments, written by Alison Eisinger, Director of the Coalition on Homelessness, were shared at the Seattle City Council Meeting on Monday, March 30, 2015 in support of CB 118310, an Ordinance to permit transitional tent camps for homeless individuals as an interim use on City-owned or private property. Hillary Coleman, Social Justice Intern at the Coalition, read Alison’s remarks as Alison was out of town at a conference. We are glad to say that the ordinance passed unanimously! We also supported an amendment by Councilmember Sawant to review permitting camps in residential zones which passed as well! Thank you City Council, let’s keep working together to provide more shelter and housing options for our community.
Back in the Fall at the Youth Advocacy Summit, youth advocates organized around creating access full time paid employment instead of just unpaid or short term internships (while they are great experience, they don’t provide as much stability). This week we discussed some opportunities including working with Real Change, education and training through Career Pathways, and the Living Wage Green Internships campaign! (read more below!)
We also elected new co-chairs: Michael (HEYO) and Emily (PSKS) we’re excited to have you in the fun leadership role! And Hatlo, we’re fortunate that you were a co-chair with great leadership and glad to still see you at meetings and events.
(Drum roll…)We are excited about bills that made it past a very important cutoff in Olympia!!! The Homeless Youth Act (Senate & House), Extended Foster Care (Senate & House), Homeless Student Stability Act (House), and Youth Equality and Reintegration (YEAR) Act (Senate) made it out of their perspective chambers and will now be heard in the other chamber. Thanks for making calls, and we encourage you to call your legislators to thank them for their work. See more on our legislative tracker blog post.
Here are the opportunities we talked about:
Job Opportunity: Sell papers on a flexible schedule with Real Change, presenter: Jerred Clouse, Vendor Program Supervisor, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Real Change is a three part program. (1) newspaper that has won many national awards and collaborates with local organizations such as Mockingbird for articles. (2) Vendor program and circulation of paper. (3) Awesome advocacy work organizing at a local and state level (you’ve probably heard of their OutsideIn campaign).
- Related to youth and young adults, their Vendor Program is open to people 18+ years old, and is very flexible, accessible, and independent. They’re doing a lot of outreach to involve and engage with YYA who are interested in the Vendor Program.
- Want an outreach person to come and talk to the YYA you serve? Contact Jerred or Karina (email@example.com).
Education and Job Training: YWCA Career Pathways Programs, presenter: Mollie Beebe, Career Navigator, Career Pathways, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Career Pathways is a program that prepares students for a career in business and information technology by supporting them in short term training at local colleges and in their subsequent job search. The program is possible through a partnership with Seattle Jobs Initiative and Seattle Community Colleges.
- These two or three quarter programs provide education and hands on training for sectors that have a lot of jobs, trying to create access these jobs for people with low-incomes.
- Qualifying students will be provided with:
- College and career navigation assistance, tuition assistance, support services, case management, job placement assistance.
- Is not an inside network to housing through YWCA but can help students know housing options. One-time rental assistance is available.
- General Eligibility (Varies slightly for each program)
- Eligible for public assistance, eligible to work in the US, at least 18-years-old, does not currently possess an AA or BA degree, interested in short-term training & education.
- Career Pathways Programs through YWCA
- Medical Office Professional at South Seattle Flyer
- Two quarters, full time, internships (help with resume and skill building!).
- Computer Support Technician at Seattle Vocational Institute Flyer
- Only YWCA program that is open to people with felony backgrounds
- Medical Administrative Assistant at Seattle Vocational Institute Flyer
- Medical Office Professional at South Seattle Flyer
- Click here to check out Career Pathways programs through other partner organizations
Living Wage Green Internships Campaign, presenter: Mo!, Young Leaders in the Green Movement Program Organizer with Got Green, email@example.com.
- Mo! joined us and gave a great overview of how, when, and why Got Green began, and the community-centered focus and drive of the organization, as well as their big wins and upcoming campaigns.
- The Living Wage Green Internship Campaign will ask the City 100 living wage, environmentally sustainable internships targeted at young adults of color and young people living in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Seattle (Read More).
- The Green Internships Campaign (as with all campaigns by Got Green) is based on great prep work and community involvement – they surveyed 150 young adults of color to understand the needs of the community and found that 2/3 of individuals said the environment was important for them but that currently they have more pressing needs/barriers such as transportation, higher education, and paid work experience.
- Green leadership positions and living wage internships will help this!
- What can you do?
- Come to the campaign launch march Tuesday March 17 at 12pm.
- Meet on Corner of 23rd & James near Garfield High School and march to Seattle Central Community College. Contact Mo! for more information.
- Follow and stay in touch with Young Leaders in the Green Movement for events, advocacy, and actions as they work to get their campaign for 100 living wage green internships approved by the city.
- Come to the campaign launch march Tuesday March 17 at 12pm.
Check out other job training and internship opportunities brought forth by YYAC members:
- Seattle Youth Garden Works - See flyer for next program (April 23 – June 11) with Seattle Tilth
- Youth Build - Visit their website for upcoming sessions and find the application here. March 2015 Youth Build Flyer
- New Horizons – Exalt Job Training flyer - A 6 month paid job training program, currently hiring for facilities apprentice, street bean espresso apprentice, and peer outreach apprentice. Find the application here and submit for priority application deadline by Friday March 27.
We covered a lot at this meeting and the conversations were continuing! Join us next month to talk about Youth Housing Connection and bring your insight and experience. If you have other job training/employment/internship opportunities to circulate please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out this article with a Call to Action from Alison Eisinger to contact your councilmembers today! Councilmembers vote on the budget this week and need to hear from you. Scroll down for messaging.
As Winter Approaches, A Push for More Shelter: Deborah Wang, KUOW
In 2005, housing advocates in King County announced a plan to end homelessness within a decade.
Since then, the community has produced 5,600 units of permanent housing for the homeless, more than anywhere in the U.S. except New York and Los Angeles. This year alone, more than 2,000 formerly homeless people have moved into permanent housing.
Despite those improvements, and even as the economy booms in the region, the homeless population continues to inch higher.
“Last year, we had 10,000 households that were homeless in King County and 5,000 of them were newly homeless,” said Mark Putnam, director of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County.
This year’s One Night Count of homeless people found 3,123 people living outside, a 14 percent increase over 2013. At the same time, 6,171 homeless people lived in shelters or transitional housing.
The fast rising rents, low vacancies and high cost of living in the Seattle area have pushed more people to live in their cars or on the streets, according to advocates.
Some are newly arrived residents who were drawn to the area by the booming economy.
“I’ve heard many a story of people that thought moving here with a couple thousand dollars would be enough for them to get on their feet, find a job settle and kind of settle in, and it’s not,” said Putnam.
Putnam said housing advocates will be asking state lawmakers to put $100 million more into the housing trust fund in the next budget. That pays for the construction of affordable housing across the state.
In Seattle, homeless advocates are looking for an additional $1 million to add emergency shelter beds this winter.
“There are opportunities right now for both the Seattle City Council and the King County Council to approve budgets that increase the capacity for places where people can be overnight during the winter months,” said Alison Eisinger, director of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.
Homeless advocates are also pushing the King County Council to extend permits for temporary homeless encampments, also called tent cities, in unincorporated areas.
Legislation now under review would allow an encampment to stay in one place for about four months, one month longer than is currently allowed.
Homeless residents testified in favor of the legislation before the King County Council this week.
“If it wasn’t for Tent City 3 … I literally wouldn’t be here right now,” said Richard Barker. “It gives me a safe place …I wouldn’t survive out on the streets.”
The County Council will vote in December on whether to extend permits for homeless encampments. Council members are reportedly divided on whether to require tent city residents to submit to criminal background checks when they move into a new neighborhood.
Take Action to ensure more shelter beds inside next year:
Please call your King County Councilmember and leave this message: “I don’t want veterans [the homeless unsheltered] on the streets in my community. FULLY FUND the King County Winter Shelter in the 2015-16 budget. Bring 100 men inside from October through May. Don’t short-change homeless people.” The final budget is being put together THIS WEEK. Thank you!
Tell Seattle City Councilmembers that they should “Commit $1 million to address the unmet needs of homeless Seattleites for shelter and safety 24 hours a day.”
For more messages, check out our Advocacy Postcards.
Councilmember Contact Info:
King County Council Members
Rod Dembowski, District 1: Contact: 206-477-1001; email@example.com
Larry Gossett, District 2: Contact: 206-477-1002; firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Lambert, District 3: Contact: 206-477-1003; email@example.com
Larry Phillips, District 4: Contact: 206-477-1004; firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Upthegrove, District 5: Contact: 206-477-1005; email@example.com
Jane Hague, District 6: Contact: 206-477-1006; firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete von Reichbauer, District 7: Contact: 206-477-1007; email@example.com
Joe McDermott, District 8: Contact: 206-477-1008;firstname.lastname@example.org
Reagan Dunn, District 9: Contact: 206-477-1009; email@example.com
City of Seattle Council Members
Sally Bagshaw: Contact: 206-684-8801; firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Burgess, Council President: Contact: 206-684-8806; email@example.com
Sally J. Clark, Chair of Human Services Committee: Contact: 206-684-8802; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Godden: Contact: 206-684-8807; email@example.com
Bruce A. Harrell: Contact: 206-684-8804; firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Licata, Chair of Budget Committee: Contact: 206-684-8803; email@example.com
Mike O’Brien: Contact: 206-684-8800; firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Rasmussen: Contact: 206-684-8808; email@example.com
Kshama Sawant: Contact: 206-684-8016; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take a moment to read the Center City Initiative Roundtable Letter regarding the 2015-2016 budget. This letter was distributed to Seattle City Councilmembers and contains important messaging from the Center City Initiative Roundtable about hopes for our community. Take Action and let your councilmembers know that you support the CCI!
Organizations represented by members of the Center City Initiative:
5 Point Cafe, Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area, Compass Housing Alliance, Downtown Seattle Association, Evergreen Treatment Services, Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority, Plymouth Housing Group, Public Defender Association, Real Change, Seattle Hotel Association, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, The Alliance for Pioneer Square
King County recently announced the opening of two county-funded shelters to respond to the demand for additional services during the winter months. Please make sure to share this information widely.
King County Men’s Winter Shelter
Open every night October 1 – December 31st, 2014
- Location: King County Administration Building – 500 4th Avenue Downtown Seattle (Between Jefferson and James)
- Operator: The Salvation Army
- Capacity: 50 men
- Hours: 7:00 PM to 6:00 AM
- Access: Line up for the shelter in front of the loading dock garage door at the corner of 4th and Jefferson.
King County Women’s Winter Shelter at Angeline’s
Open every night October 1, 2014 – April 15, 2015
- Location: YWCA Angeline’s 2030 -3rd Avenue, Seattle (Belltown neighborhood – 3rd Avenue between Lenora and Virginia)
- Operator- YWCA
- Capacity: 40 Women
- Hours: 8:00 PM to 7:00 AM – Women have the option to stay at Angeline’s in the morning for breakfast and throughout the day.
- Access: Women may stop by and register with the Women’s Referral Center daily between 6:00 to 9:00 PM. After 9 PM drop-in or call (206) 436-8650 for space availability.
For more information on the shelters, please contact Janice Hougen with King County Community Services Division at (206) 263-9089 or email@example.com.
As service providers, we understand the power of effective advocacy. But, advocacy fails in the absence of a strong, cohesive voice that is willing to talk about the issues that affect us the most. We need to speak up not only to protect current human services programs taking care of our neighbors in need, but also to nurture the growth of additional resources to aid our work in ending homelessness. If you feel King County would benefit from stronger services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, join us this month at one of SIX platforms where we can have our collective voice heard. Check out this blog post with more information on Seattle City and King County Budget Committee Hearing Dates and commit to joining us as we speak up on behalf of the communities and people we serve.
Now that the Seattle Mayor, Ed Murray, and King County Executive Dow Constantine have proposed budgets to their perspective councils and the public, it is that time of year again to organize and advocate for important causes on both the King County and Seattle City levels. During the month of October there are SIX opportunities all over the county to meet with council members and share your opinions about what is important and should be included in the budget. We would love to see ALL of our members join forces together to show the Coalition on Homelessness’ dedication to our community by having a large presence at every Budget Hearing. We want to hear from you if you are coming! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 206-204-8350.
Seattle City Council Budget Hearings:
- Tuesday, October 7 from 5:30-6:30pm (sign-up 5 pm) at Garfield Community Center (2323 E. Cherry St., Seattle, WA 98122)
- Thursday, October 23 from 5:30-6:30pm (sign-up 5pm) at Seattle City Hall Council Chambers (600 Fourth Ave. 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA 98104)
King County Council Budget Hearings:
- Wednesday, October 8 at 6:30pm, Fall City: Chief Kanim Middle School, (the Commons Area), 32627 SE Redmond-Fall City Road, Fall City, 98024
- Tuesday, October 14 at 6:30pm, Bellevue City Hall, Council Chambers, 450 110th Ave NE, Bellevue, 98004
- Thursday, October 23 at 6:30pm, Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center, Courtroom 3F, 401 4th Ave N, Kent, 98032
- Wednesday, October 29 at 6:30pm, King County Courthouse, Council Chambers 10th floor, 516 3rd Ave, Seattle, 98104
Last November, voters in SeaTac approved increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making national news and inspiring vigorous public conversations about wages, affordability, and income inequality in coffee shops and town halls, on buses, and around water coolers across our region. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant have been working hard on this issue, and the Mayor’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee is scheduled to release recommendations at the end of April. The Coalition on Homelessness has been a part of the conversation about the opportunities and complexities of raising the minimum wage as a member of the Seattle Human Services Coalition (SHSC), a coalition of direct service providers and advocacy groups (see background materials below). We’ll be taking up this conversation at our April 17 General Membership meeting with Tony Lee, from Poverty Action, and other special guests. Please join us to discuss the practical, political, and policy issues related to raising the minimum wage for all workers, including human services and housing providers. As usual, we meet on the third Thursday from 9-11 a.m. at the E. Cherry St. YWCA (2820 E. Cherry St.) in Seattle.
In late March, SHSC, together with Working Washington, SEIU 925, and Kids First Seattle issued a joint press release affirming their clear commitment to a $15 minimum wage because it “lifts workers out of poverty, boosts the economy, and strengthens people’s abilities to meet their basic human needs.” These labor and human services groups noted:
“The current citywide conversation about income inequality and the minimum wage should not be used to pit one low income group against another, because we know that those who work in poverty-wage jobs and those who receive human services can be the very same people. Thousands of low-wage workers can’t feed themselves without help from food banks, and can’t possibly afford early childhood education for their children without public support. And at $9.32 an hour, a housing crisis is never more than a paycheck away.”
The Seattle Human Services Coalition laid out five key points in an “Issues Advisory on $15 Minimum Wage and Impact for Human Services.” Here is an excerpt from the Executive Summary:
The Seattle Human Services Coalition recognizes the importance of a livable minimum wage in addressing poverty in our community. SHSC fully supports raising the minimum wage for all human services workers (and others) to $15/hr.
We are also acutely aware that this call for raising the minimum wage must be done in such a way that does not result in a decrease in urgently needed services; any solution must take into account the impact on the vulnerable people we serve.
We call upon elected leaders and other stakeholders to take all five of these actions:
- Include non-profit human service employees in any recommended increases to the minimum wage.
- Ensure that wage standards and city contract requirements do not lead to a reduction of needed human services.
- Increase local investments in pay equity, including human services employees.
- Move the discussion beyond an hourly wage to examine the broader issue of income inequality in our region.
- Set a base wage that does not include other forms of compensation.
Something unprecedented and special happened in our community this spring. Winter shelters, which usually close on March 31, were extended, first through April 15, and then all the way through June 15th. While we are all basking in the sunshine at the moment, it’s worth remembering how unpredictable our northwest weather is. In the last few weeks we have had cold rain, wind, and temperatures near freezing. The weekend before shelters were scheduled to close on April 15, a hail storm in Seattle highlighted the urgent need for year-round shelter in our city.
Winter shelter was extended at three locations in Seattle: King County Administration Building (100 men), Seattle City Hall (75 men & women), and at the YWCA’s Angeline’s Center (40 women). There are many people and organizations who collaborated to accomplish this broadening of shelter. Thanks to strong collaboration, persistence, leadership and effective advocacy, 215 men and women will not be left to fend for themselves through rain, hail, cold and darkness. Instead, they will be inside: safe, dry and warm.
Today we hand delivered thank you cards signed by Coalition members to the leadership in Seattle and King County who helped make winter shelter a reality in our community: Seattle City Council; King County Council; Executive Constantine; Mayor McGinn; Director of King County Community & Human Services Department, Ms. Jackie MacLean; Director of Seattle Human Services Department, Ms. Dannette Smith. Please also send your own note of thanks to any and all people listed above – without their leadership, we would not have been able to extend winter shelter.
The advocacy efforts of SKCCH members and allies paid off this budget season! We wrote, emailed, called, and testified about the very real needs of our homeless neighbors in Seattle. Our mobilization helped to secure over a half million dollars in additional funding for homeless services! This increased funding over the next two years will increase shelter capacity and funding for day services in the City of Seattle. These successes include additional funding for:
- Rapid Rehousing for homeless people ($200,000 in 2013/2014)
- Additional shelter services ($100,000 in 2013/2014)
- Additional women’s shelter ($50,000 in 2013/2014)
- Funding for homeless day-center services including hygiene in downtown neighborhoods ($200,000 in 2013/2014)
We want to thank the Seattle City Council for their leadership in making investments to provide for the basic needs of people who are homeless. Check out Nick Licata’s blog post about the 2013-14 City Budget to learn more.
With 2,594 people counted sleeping outside on one night in King County during the 2012 One Night Count, we know how important these services are. There is simply not enough shelter to meet the need. This increase in funding will have a real impact for our community’s most vulnerable residents, and we’re just getting started! Stay tuned for our 2013 State Legislative session priorities, and mark your calendars for Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Day on Monday, February 11, 2013.
Many people begin their internships with standard orientation procedures like familiarizing yourself with your computer, the filing system, office supplies and setting up voicemail and email. Not me – I spent my first day of my United Church of Christ Social Justice Internship with SKCCH at the Coalition’s Youth and Young Adult Advocacy Summit and I could not have asked for a better introduction to this small but mighty organization.
I was extremely inspired by the 25 youth and young adults who participated in the Summit on September 10-11 and I left each day far more educated on the struggles displaced youth and young adults face because I spoke with them directly about it. It was amazing to have the opportunity to sit down with these young people and listen to the inventive solutions they came up with that could solve their daily struggles. I could not have learned all I did in those two days even if I had sat at a desk for weeks reading up on issues affecting young people who are homeless.
On day one of the Youth Summit, the participants, with support from peer leaders and service providers came up with four priorities after rounds of voting and then divided themselves into groups as to which priority they felt most passionate about. The priorities for this year were:
Each group then came up with key talking points and solutions that they wanted to present to the city council member who they would be talking to on the second day. A detailed outline of these points and solutions is below.
On the first day we also had some amazing speakers present at the summit including Josh Hicks, Jim Theofolis, Steve Daschle, Kim Jones and Nancy Amidei. These experienced advocates both inspired and taught the youth and young adults about advocacy and the importance of civic engagement. We would like to thank them for taking the time to participate in our summit. The participants were constantly referring to their advice as they prepared to speak to the Councilmembers.
The second day of the Youth Summit began with time for groups to prepare their topics and presentations for Councilmembers. Crystal Shaw, from the Human Services Department of the City of Seattle, was instrumental on this day. She oriented the youth and young adults to the City Council that morning and went above and beyond by lending support to participants and organizers throughout the day.
The groups then went up and presented to City of Seattle Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Sally Bagshaw, Richard Conlin, and Sally Clark. A collective group also presented to the Human Services Department on all four priorities in the afternoon. We would like to thank all the Councilmembers involved as well as the Human Services Department for ensuring that this Summit was a very positive experience of civic engagement for the participants. Officials took the time to really listen, giving this group, who sometimes feels silenced, a voice on policy issues important to their daily life.
This Youth Summit could not have happened without the amazing time, energy, and dedication of our Youth and Young Adults Committee Co-Chairs, Melissa King from Friends of Youth and Kathleen Murphy from ROOTS Young Adult Shelter.