June 2 South King County Forum on Homelessness Meeting

6/1/2021

Hello SKC Forum Attendees!

I am looking forward to seeing you next week for our monthly SKC Forum on Homelessness meeting! As a reminder, we will be meeting on Wednesday, June 2 from 9-10:30 on Zoom.

During the meeting, we’ll hear some exciting updates from the South King Housing and Homelessness Partners staff. Formalized in 2019, South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP) is the first-ever affordable housing collaborative of local governments in the South King County subregion. SKHHP’s mission is to increase housing stability in South King County by producing and preserving affordable housing by working together and sharing resources across the jurisdictions through a coordinated and comprehensive approach. SKHHP will be present an overview of their work along with information about their newly formed Advisory Board and how you can get involved! 

We will also hear Coalition Updates from the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, as well as information about King County’s Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program

As always, there will be time for sharing program updates and community resources, so please come prepared with any updates or resource questions you may have.

Thanks, and hope to see you on Wednesday! – Jason

May 20, 2021 Annual Membership Meeting

Recording of the Annual Membership Meeting. Timestamps available in video description on YouTube.

We debriefed the recently wrapped up state legislative session, discussed policy wins and next steps in implementation with Representative Tarra Simmons, Representative Nicole Macri, & Senator Patty Kuderer. We were joined by our newest team member Sara Robbins who will preview an upcoming Coalition public benefits training series to help you navigate new and expanded state and federal assistance programs. You got a chance to meet our new prospective Board of Director candidates and find out how your organization can become a Coalition member to be eligible to cast a vote in our Board election. We reflected on the past year of our collective work and express our thanks to meeting attendees with a small token of appreciation. Our meeting closed with the joy and healing powers of music from special guest musical performance from the one and only Reggie Garrett

Read on for details, and If you find this content useful to you in your role as a service provider, please sign up for our Homeless Service and Housing Network email list.


Statewide Legislative Advocacy Debrief

The state legislative session has ended. Thank you all for speaking up during this state legislative session. Your advocacy helped us pass laws that will house ~1,600 people experiencing or at risk chronic homelessness in King County (HB 1070, which ensures the count can purchase properties to implement their Health through Housing initiative).

You have also helped us pass laws that prevent homelessness and strengthen tenant protections (HB 1277, SB 5160, HB 1236). Other wins include more inclusive zoning laws that ensure cities can’t ban shelter or supportive housing (HB 1220), and voting rights restoration to people on community custody (HB 1078). We will highlight these wins and more on Thursday.

Public Benefits Training Series

Click here to take our Public Benefit Training Interest Form survey.

Thanks in part to your advocacy, historic new investments in State and Federal public assistance programs are making their way to our community. Public benefit programs are a lifeline to the people we serve but can be tricky to navigate. The Coalition has brought on Sara Robbins, a public benefits attorney and advocate with decades of experience to help us develop an on-going training series to help you navigate these systems.  

As we develop these training materials, we want to hear from you and the people you work with on what would be most useful to your work. Please take two minutes to fill out our training needs survey here.

Stimulus Checks for the Unhoused

Click here to view the recording and materials from our May Tax Filing 101 Workshops with United Way King County.

Millions of Americas have struggled to claim their Economic Impact Payments, particularly people experiencing homelessness (check out this article in the Seattle Times for details). Those who have not yet claimed some or all their stimulus funds can still claim their benefit by filing a 2020 tax return.

The Coalition, in partnership with United Way of King County, have put together a workshop to help homeless service providers help the people they serve get the funds they are entitled to. Click here to view a recording of the workshop along with a host of materials.

Stimulus Check Advocacy Follow Up

Community Mail programs (and they clients they serve) have reported issues with receiving stimulus checks from the IRS. We believe these addresses have been flagged due to fraud concerns. After collecting extensive feedback from clients and staff at our member organizations, we brought our concerns to our allies in the Federal government in hopes of reaching a solution.

Thanks to feedback from our members, the IRS will be re-issuing stimulus checks to countless unhoused folks in King County.

On Friday May 7, the IRS agreed to remove the address suspicion flag from locations we reported to them, and have agreed to re-issue all retuned paper stimulus checks to those who receive their mail at the affected addresses. Payments will be re-issued within the next 3-4 weeks, we encourage you to follow up in mid-June to confirm payments were received. This would not have happened without dedicated advocacy and follow up from our members in direct service positions. We want to say thank you to Dawn Whiston and the outreach case managers on the REACH team for elevating this, and to the staff at Representative Pramila Jayapal’s office for taking this information and pushing for a solution.

Address flags have been removed from the following locations:

  • Reach- 2133 3rd Avenue, #116, Seattle, WA 98121
  • Compass Housing Alliance- 77 S Washington St, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Ballard Food Bank- 5130 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
  • St. Vincent de Paul Georgetown Food Bank. 5972 4th Ave S, Seattle 98108
  • New Bethlehem Family Day Center. 11920 NE 80th St, Suite 100, Kirkland WA 98033
  • Kent Family Engagement Center. 1225 W Smith St, Kent WA 98032
  • Federal Way Day Center. 33505 13th Pl S, Suite D. Federal Way, WA 98003

We believe there are other social service addresses that may have been flagged as well. If you believe your program has been impacted, please email Jason@homelessinfo.org so we can pass the information along to Representative Jayapal’s staff.

Board of Directors Election

The Coalition on Homelessness is a membership driven organization. Each year, organizations that are current on their membership dues have an opportunity to cast a vote on our slate of Board or Director candidates. This year, we are honored to introduce the slate of three candidates to serve a three year term on the Board of Directors:

  • Patricia Allen-Dick,
  • Keiko Budech,
  • Nancy Connolly.

Read about the candidates and board elections here.

If your agency is current on their 2021 Coalition membership dues, we will be following up with your designated voting representative with online voting instructions soon. Online voting will open during our membership meeting on May 20 and will close at 5pm on Thursday, May 27. If you are unsure who your designated voting representative is, please contact Aline Carton-Listfjeld, Coalition Operations Director for assistance.

If your organization has not yet renewed their membership with the Coalition, now is the time! For your organization to be eligible to vote, Coalition staff must receive the attached membership form and dues (or commitment via email that dues will be paid within 30 days) by Friday May 28. Please see our membership materials for more information, and contact Aline Carton-Listfjeld, Coalition Operations Director for assistance.

Year Highlights

We took time to reflect on our collective work this past year, you can view our slideshow here. From the passage of JumpStart Seattle and King County Health Through Housing, to our project-based work in voter registration and Project Cool for Back to School, we wanted to thank our members for powering our work. Thank you to Joy Scott for sharing information on our South King County Forum meetings, click here to learn more. And thank you to Dietra Clayton from Sophia Way for discussing the Eastside Homelessness Advisory Committee, which meets again on Thursday June 3 from 10:30am to Noon. If you are an interested eastside service provider, click here to join the meeting. We also heard from Stephanie Page with Hopelink, who shared the details of an on-going case manager training series the Coalition helped bring to the community. Their next workshop is all about how to navigate credit reports, click here for more information.

Musical Guest Reggie Garrett

A huge thank you to Reggie Garrett for closing our meeting with a wonderful musical performance, including a recently released ballad dedicated to the one and only Stacy Abrams. You can browse his past performances here on his YouTube channel, and if you wish to support Reggie and purchase some of his work you can do so here.

May 13 Tax Filing 101 for Homeless Service Providers

Event Summary

Economic Impact Payments, more commonly known as stimulus checks, have been a lifeline for countless Americans struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.  Millions of Americas have struggled to claim their Economic Impact Payments, particularly people experiencing homelessness (check out this article in the Seattle Times for details).

Those who have not yet claimed some or all their stimulus funds can still claim their benefit by filing a 2020 tax return. The Coalition on Homelessness, in partnership with United Way of King County, created these training materials to help case managers and mutual aid volunteers help people experiencing homelessness file their taxes, with an eye towards ensuring that stimulus payments get to those who need them. Presentation materials below:

Stimulus Check Advocacy Follow Up:

Community Mail programs (and they clients they serve) have reported issues with receiving stimulus checks from the IRS. We believe these addresses have been flagged due to fraud concerns. After collecting extensive feedback from clients and staff at our member organizations, we brought our concerns to our allies in the Federal government in hopes of reaching a solution.

Thanks to feedback from our members, the IRS will be re-issuing stimulus checks to countless unhoused folks in King County.

On Friday May 7, the IRS agreed to remove the address suspicion flag from the addresses we reported having issues, and have agreed to re-issue all retuned paper stimulus checks to clients at these locations. Payments will be re-issued within the next 3-4 weeks, we encourage you to follow up in mid-June to confirm payments were received. This would not have happened without dedicated advocacy and follow up from our members in direct service positions. We want to say thank you to Dawn Whitson and the outreach case managers on the REACH team for elevating this, and to the staff at Representative Pramila Jayapal’s office for taking this information and pushing for a solution.

Address flags have been removed from the following locations:

  • Reach- 2133 3rd Avenue, #116, Seattle, WA 98121
  • Compass Housing Alliance- 77 S Washington St, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Ballard Food Bank- 5130 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
  • St. Vincent de Paul Georgetown Food Bank. 5972 4th Ave S, Seattle 98108
  • New Bethlehem Family Day Center. 11920 NE 80th St, Suite 100, Kirkland WA 98033
  • Kent Family Engagement Center. 1225 W Smith St, Kent WA 98030
  • Federal Way Day Center. 33505 13th Pl S, Suite D. Federal Way, WA 98003

We believe there are other social service addresses that may have been flagged as well. If you believe your program has been impacted, please email Jason@homelessinfo.org so we can pass the information along to Representative Jayapal’s staff.

April 15, 2021 Membership Meeting

Recording of April 15 Membership Meeting. Timestamps will be in video description on YouTube.

We were joined by homeless outreach workers and tax filing experts to discuss efforts to help people experiencing homelessness claim their Economic Impact Payments (AKA stimulus checks). We celebrated several key victories related to voting access, housing, and homelessness. With less than two weeks left in the state legislative session, we highlighted some key policy and budget priorities need your continued advocacy. We rounded out the meeting with timely resource updates, including an upcoming increase in SNAP benefits, tips on how to host a vaccine clinic, and an important community survey for nonprofit direct service staff.

Read on for details, and sign up for our Coalition emails to get regular updates.

Increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Thanks to additional funds made available through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the maximum amount a SNAP eligible household can receive will increase by 15% starting in April. This is in addition to the supplemental additional funding DSHS has provided since the onset of COVID-19, click here for details. These changes apply to all SNAP recipients, meaning that those receiving SNAP who may have previously only qualified for a small amount are eligible for much more assistance than before. If you are working with a SNAP eligible client who chose not to recertify due to how small of a benefit they were eligible to claim, please encourage them to re-apply to claim this resource. For more information see this flyer

If you have questions about this or need assistance in starting an EBT application, call the Family Food Hotline at 1-888-436-6392 or visit their website www.Wafoodhelp.org. If you would like to request flyers or additional materials for your program, please contact Nelly Evans, Food Security Program Coordinator at United Way of King County.   

Limited in-person services are available through DSHS, including the option to pick up EBT cards for select clients. Those eligible for in person EBT services in office are:

  • Customers with General Delivery mailing address
  • Customers enrolled in the ACP (address confidentiality program)
  • ACH (alternate card holders) can pick up with a verified form on file

EBT hours are from 10am-2pm, and by appointment only. Appointments can be made through our contact center: 877-501-2233. All cards are mailed from the local office so should arrive to the customer within 2-3 days (depending on mail service). If the customer has a mailing address on file, the card will be mailed to them (77 S Washington counts as a valid address)

Stimulus Checks for the Unhoused

If you or someone you work with has yet to claim any or all of their stimulus checks they can do so by filing a 2020 tax return. For tax filing assistance in your community click here. The Coalition on Homelessness is partnering with REACH, United Way of King County and other community groups to pair trained volunteers with outreach workers to help people experiencing homelessness claim their stimulus checks. If you are interested in volunteering or have questions, please email Jason.

There have been three rounds of Economic Impact Payments, also known as stimulus payments. The first two rounds have been completed, payments for the third round are ongoing. If someone didn’t receive a first or second round Economic Impact Payment, or got less than the full amount they’re entitled to, they will need to file a 2020 tax return and claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, if eligible, to receive a refund including any stimulus amounts. This is true even if someone has little or no income and is not required to file a federal tax return. Filing a 2020 return will also put someone in the “queue” for the Third Economic Impact Payment if eligible. 

In King County, United Way is offering free tax filing assistance to those with simple tax returns (those who made less than 66,000 from earned income or public benefit programs). We encourage case managers working with clients attempting to claim their stimulus checks to submit their information through United Way’s Get My Refund online tool. This will walk you through simple step by step filing instructions, with chat and phone assistance available if any issues occur or any questions arise.

In King County, in-person tax filing assistance is being offered at the Federal Way Multi-Service Center (1200 336th St, Federal Way WA 98003) on a first come, first serve basis. Call 253-838-6810 for details. Tax filing assistance will also be offered at the Seattle Goodwill Training and Education Center (700 Dearborn Pl S) every Tuesday and Friday from 9:30am to 6:30pm (people are encouraged to arrive by 5pm)

Here are some other options for getting help with filing a 2020 tax return. You can view this information in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese:

  • If someone has or can be provided access to the internet, they can use one of the IRS Free-File partners to electronically file a 2020 tax return and claim their credit for free.
  • They can file a paper Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR and claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit on line 30. The Instructions for Forms 1040 and 1040-SR provide information starting on page 57 on how to calculate and claim the credit. Those without a fixed address may be able to use the address of a local community organization, church or homeless shelter.

Bank On Seattle / King County has a host of resources to help people establish bank accounts and obtain an Economic Impact Payment by direct debit, or to cash an EIP check. It contains information on how to establish a basic account, including a “checkless” account accessed by debit card, and resources for finding a bank that will open an account online. To view additional accessible banking information. click here. For veterans, see the VA’s Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) page for access to financial services at participating banks. See also, VeteransBenefitsBanking.org.

State Legislative Advocacy

Thanks in part to your advocacy, we’ve had so many incredible policy wins for homelessness and housing justice during this state legislative session. With less than two weeks remaining in this session, we are counting on you to help us pass bills that will help prevent a rise in homelessness and ensure a brighter future for renters going forward. Use this action link from the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance to take action on key bills.

  • HB 1277 – Sponsored by Representative Ormsby, this bill will increase our document recording fee (a fee assessed on the sale/purchase of property) by $100 to fund rental assistance, supportive housing, and behavioral health services. This bill was just passed by the Senate Ways & Means Committee– help us ensure it gets to the Floor and that Senators vote yes!
  • SB 5160 – Sponsored by Senator Kuderer, this bill ensures a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction and helps landlords and tenants access rental assistance programs for unpaid rent. This bill has had a bad amendment accepted that weaken the bill. Urge your lawmakers to rescind this harmful amendment and to pass the bill out of the legislature. 

Speak Up Pop Up Workshop Series: Want to gain and practice advocacy skills and help build a strong community of housing justice advocates? Join us at our Speak Up Pop Ups! These drop-in workshops will occur every Tuesday from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. throughout the legislative session and are open to people of all levels of interest and experience with legislative advocacy. You do not have to attend all the workshops, but we invite participants to attend multiple session to help you learn and practice advocacy skills, build a community of housing justice advocates, and ensure sustained momentum throughout the legislative session. Click here to register.

Coalition Member Updates

Vaccine Pop-Up Reflections: Shawna McMahon, Executive Director at Immanuel Community Services shared reflections and suggestions from a pop-up vaccine clinic their program hosted in April. Administered by Public Health Seattle King County, ICS hosted this event for clients and staff involved with their overnight shelter program and daytime hygiene center. Shawna shared how effective it was to ask Public Health to set up in two locations: the parking lot outside the facility, as well as inside their hygiene center where clients spend most of their time during the day. This is an example of client-centered approaches to services that met people where they are at, taking advantage of community support to ease vaccine hesitancy expressed by some in the program. Shawna stressed the importance of posting signage for these events with clear, easy to understand phrasing with multiple language options. ICS staff created post-vaccine care kits for their clients and staff to ameliorate vaccine side effects, which included warm clothing for chills, snacks high in natural sugars and Tylenol of body pain. These kits were appreciated enormously, even by those who did not experience strong vaccine side effects.  

Tenants Union Stay Housed Stay Health Campaign: Coalition allies The Tenants Union of Washington State are organizing with the Stay Housed Stay Healthy campaign to build tenant power and fight evictions. The goal of this campaign is to enact strong tenant protection laws in Seattle and King County to counter displacement when the temporary statewide eviction moratorium is eventually lifted. Learn more about what the campaign hopes to accomplish here. If your organization wants to join the campaign, you can do so here. The first goal of the campaign is to pass a package of tenant protection proposals through the King County Council, being introduced by King County Councilmembers Girmay Zahilay and Jeanne Kohl-Welles. This legislation will be discussed at an April 26 committee meeting. To learn more about the proposal and add your organization as a supporter click here.

Recovery Café Resource Connection Day: Coalition member Recovery Café is hosting a monthly Resource Connection Day open to everyone. Recovery Café provides resources and peer support services to those traumatized by homelessness, addiction, and other mental health challenges. Resource Connection Day is held at their office near South Lake Union (2022 Boren Ave) and offers a variety of services including COVID testing, peer support, physical and mental health resources, and basic needs assistance. Coalition staff will be there to help people register to vote. Their next event is on Wednesday April 21 from 12:30 to 2:30pm, click here for more information.

Financial Empowerment Training for Service Providers: Hopelink invites you to attend the next installment in their Financial Empowerment Series: Dealing with Debt, on Wednesday, April 28th from 11:00am to 12:00pm, click here to register. This upcoming training will focus on teaching providers how to help their clients navigate issues related to debt management. This is part of a series that examines tools from the Your Money / Your Goals toolkit in more detail, thought you do not need to have attended prior sessions to fully participate in this training. You can review prior financial empowerment training here, and for additional financial empowerment resources check out these videos: Videos to spark action!

Coalition Staff Updates

Membership Drive 2021: The Coalition on Homelessness is a membership-driven organization. We rely on the support and engagement from roughly 60 direct service and housing advocacy organizations to make our work in the community possible. We suspended our 2020 membership drive due to COVID-19 and asked our community partners to consider adding Coalition dues into their 2021 budget. An enormous thank you to the 23 organizations who have paid or pledged their 2021 membership. If you believe your organization needs to be added to the list, please reach out to Jason Austin, Membership Organizer or Aline Carton-Listfjeld, Operations Director.

King County Provider Wage and Benefits Survey: Funded by the King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Service Levy, this survey is meant to capture an accurate snapshot of wages, benefits and working conditions of nonprofit and direct service staff in King County. This survey comes in two parts: Part one is collecting detailed information on wages and benefits and should be filled out by someone at your agency familiar with compensation and benefits such as an Executive Director, Human Resources staff or a Finance Manager. This survey is live and due by May 2, click here to learn more.

The second survey is for all direct service staff and offers the ability to provide feedback on non-wage and salary workplace conditions. This is a crucial opportunity for our community to use our collective voice to speak to what is and is not working well within our profession. That survey will be available starting April 22, stay tuned for further details.

Health Through Housing RFQ: The King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) Housing, Homelessness and Community Development Division (HHCDD) is announcing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for qualified providers in preparation for the implementation of the Health Through Housing (HTH) initiative.

Health Through Housing intends to develop in the near term 1,600 units of emergency and permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless households. The implementation emergency and permanent supportive housing through HTH will require the following:

  • Property management and facility operations.
  • Program management and on-site supportive services.
  • Targeted homeless street outreach and navigation, and/or culturally specific and community-based services.

The intention of this RFQ is to pre-qualify Applicants into specific categories of support, or Pools, as described in the RFQ

Please find more information and application information for the RFQ, on ZoomGrants here.

A Pre-Application Conference is scheduled, and details are below. Applicants are encouraged to attend, but attendance is not mandatory:

April 20, 2021 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://kingcounty.zoom.us/j/91421327736

Meeting ID: 914 2132 7736

Passcode: 333297

If you have any questions regarding this RFQ, please submit a question using the Admin Tab in ZoomGrants, or email dchs-c&p@kingcounty.gov

March 18, 2021 Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Meeting Agenda:

  • 9am Welcome
  • 9:10 Jody Rauch, HCHN Provider Engagement Events
  • 9:20 Member Updates
  • 9:30 Pandemic EBT 2.0 with Megan Veith of Building Changes
  • 9:40 Coalition Legislative Advocacy Update
  • 10:00 Vaccine Phase Announcement for Homeless Service Providers, Tara Bostock, WA Department of Health
  • 10:10 Special Guest Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health Seattle – King County
  • 10:20 Coalition Staff Updates

Thank you for attending our March Membership Meeting. A special thank you to Tara Bostock with the Department of Health and Patty Hayes with Public Health Seattle – King County for helping us celebrate the news that staff and clients in congregate shelter programs have been prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine. Shelter staff are eligible now, with people experiencing homelessness eligible starting March 31. If you are a congregate shelter provider seeking a vaccine appointment:

  1. Go to the Washington Phase Finder.
  2. Answer Yes for “Are you considered a critical worker according to the Washington Critical Infrastructure Worker List”
  3. Then check “I work in the fire department, law enforcement, or as a social worker responding to a public health emergency”. DO NOT check “I work or volunteer in an enclosed space to provide services to and/or with people experiencing homelessness.”
  4. Once determined eligible, click here to find a vaccine clinic in your area.

FOR PROVIDERS IN THE SEATTLE AREA: All vaccine eligible members of the public – including congregate shelter staff– can sign up now for the City’s vaccination appointment notification list. Once eligible members of the public sign up for the City’s notification list, they will receive an email notification when vaccination appointments become available at any of the City’s there fixed sites in Rainier Beach, West Seattle, and the Lumen Field Event Center. The notification list is available here, and residents can also contact the Customer Service Bureau at 206-684-2489 from Monday through Saturday, between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for assistance completing this form. In-language assistance is available over the phone.


Photo: A drawing of a bird with the text “Hope is a song in a weary throat, Pauli Murray 1910-1985”

Healthcare for the Homeless Network Provider Engagement Events

Coalition members at the Healthcare for the Homeless Network have put together a series of provider engagement sessions for front line service staff to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, emphasizing the needs of BIPOC service providers. The purpose of these engagement sessions is to gather feedback and discuss materials and resource needs, and to give direct service staff the opportunity to communicate what resources are needed and how public health can package them for ease of use at your site(s) or with your clients. Anyone working directly with people experiencing homelessness in encouraged to join.

  • Vaccine Materials Development – Housing & Service Site Focus. Tuesday, March 16 from 3pm to 4pm AND Thursday, March 18 from 1pm to 2pm. Provider engagement session on materials and resource needs. An opportunity for folks to tell us what resources you think would be most helpful and how we should package them for ease of use at your site(s) or with your clients. Click here to join the meeting.
  • Moderna, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Discussion with Frontline Homeless Service Providers. Wednesday, March 17 from 9:30am to 10:30am. Public Health and Health Care for the Homeless want to have a focused discussion and information sharing meeting specific to frontline providers across the homeless service site spectrum on both the Moderna and the J/J vaccine. We are hoping to learn what questions you may have, thoughts about the use of these vaccines in homeless service sites, and what questions or concerns you’re hearing from your colleagues and clients. Click here to join meeting.
  • Operational Tactics for Vaccine Delivery at Homeless Housing Sites. Tuesday, March 23rd from 3:30pm to 5pm AND Thursday, March 25 from 2pm to 3:30pm. This meeting will be specifically to engage homeless housing providers including PSH, Transitional housing, tiny house villages, and tent cities to identify areas of focus and issues unique to housing service providers in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine at their sites.  Please forward this invite to your colleagues. There will be a separate meeting on Thursday 3/25 from 2pm- 3:30pm for providers in shelters, day centers, meal programs, service only sites.  Please do not hesitate to join either meeting regardless of your service site if it works better for your schedule.  There will be other venues for outreach providers to provide feedback as well.  Click here to join the meeting.

State Legislative Advocacy

We are roughly halfway through the State Legislative Session, a critical time to contact your lawmakers. We have put together a variety of advocacy resources, including a copy of our legislative agenda to help you and your community Speak Up for Housing Justice.

We welcomed the Coalition’s newest member, our contract lobbyist Melanie Smith. Melanie provided great insight into what we can expect during the last five weeks of the state legislative session—budget advocacy and a final push for policies relating to housing justice, anti-racism, and COVID-19 response.

Alison Eisinger discussed some proposed budget provisos for a taskforce on missing and murdered Indigenous women and peoples (MMIW), as well as one for frontline staff to address traumatic events. We also took action a suite of eviction prevention, rental assistance, and shelter-related bills using the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance’s latest action alert. We hope you’ll also sign on to this letter as an organization or as individuals urging Governor Inslee to extend the eviction moratorium.

It’s not too late to speak up! We need all hands on deck to ensure good laws and budgets pass this legislative session. Register for our Speak Up Pop Ups here. Our state legislative priorities and legislative advocacy guide can be found on our State Legislative Advocacy page.  

Pandemic EBT Benefits 2.0

Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT for short) is a benefits program to help students and families in low-income households buy food when schools are closed or on a hybrid schedule during the pandemic. Unlike last year, eligible families do not need to apply for this benefit, eligibility is determined based on enrollment in free or reduced price school meal programs. P-EBT cards will be sent to eligible students’ addresses on file with their school. You can read a quick summary of the benefit here, for a more detailed FAQ click here.

This program is a supplement to on-site school meals, participating will not affect eligibility for other school nutrition programs such as grab and go meals or school based good delivery programs. This program is also not subject to the public charge rule, meaning that mixed immigration households should claim this benefit without fear that it will impact their immigration status.

Starting next Monday, March 22, eligible families will receive a notice in the mail stating their eligibility and instructing them to look out for a loaded P-EBT card mailed to the same address in the coming weeks. Due to the rushed nature of the rollout, we are concerned that unstably housed families may not receive this mailing at their correct address. To ensure that the families you serve receive these benefits, we encourage you and your case management staff to do the following: 

  1. Contact the school that your client is enrolled in and ask what primary address they have on file. This is the address their P-EBT card will be sent to. If you need help identifying a point of contact in your client’s school district, refer to this list.
  2. If the address the school provides does not match the actual primary address for your client, ask your client if the prior address is accessible to them. If yes, encourage them to contact whoever lives at the prior residence. If no, tell your client that they will need to report their card as lost or stolen to not lose out on assistance.
  3. If you are unable to resolve the issue at the school district level, contact child nutrition services at 360-725-6200 for further assistance.
  4. If the current mailing address is incorrect but usable, call 1-833-518-0282 to report a change of address. If current address is not usable and your client needs to report their card as lost or stolen, call 1-888-328-9271 to cancel the card and request a new one. This information is current as of 03.18.21 and may have been modified since. See DSHS website for updates.

Eligible families should receive notice in the mail by April 1. If the family you are working with does not receive a notice by then, follow the instructions above.

Coalition Member Updates

ROOTS Young Adult Shelter Grand RE-Opening: After months of community engagement and relocating to a temporary location, ROOTS Young Adult Shelter has moved into its new permanent home in the University District. Located at 4541 19th Ave NE in what used to be student housing, ROOTS will begin offering 50 shelter beds to youth 18-24 starting on March 15. Day center services will resume later in the spring, those needing shelter should call 206-632-1635 between 8:00pm and 8:30pm or arrive in-person during this window for intake. For more information click here.

Sound Generations GRAT Program: The Geriatric Regional Assessment Team (GRAT) is an outreach program through Sound Generations that aims to help at risk seniors age 55 and older struggling with conative or behavioral health challenges, or those isolated due to lack of a support network. This program aims to provide age in place supports to prevent crisis situations before they happen. GRAT consists of a team of clinical social workers who can offer wrap around supports for seniors. This program cannot service people experiencing homelessness or those living in skill nursing facilities but does wish to connect with seniors at risk of homelessness and facing food insecurity. Click here for additional details, to connect this service to your program contact Amber McDowell-Reese at 206-450-9394 or amberm@soundgenerations.org

Coalition Staff Updates

Membership Drive 2021: The Coalition on Homelessness is a membership-driven organization. We rely on the support and engagement from roughly 60 direct service and housing advocacy organizations to make our work in the community possible. We suspended our 2020 membership drive due to COVID-19 and asked our community partners to consider adding Coalition dues into their 2021 budget. An enormous thank you to the 23 organizations who have paid or pledged their 2021 membership. If you believe your organization needs to be added to the list, please reach out to Jason Austin, Membership Organizer or Aline Listjfeld-Carton, Operations Director.

Annual Subsidized Pass Provider Survey: In the fall of 2020, King County Metro launched its Annual Subsidized Pass program to provide free ORCA Lift cards to low-income riders earning at or below 80% FPL. Current eligibility is tied to enrollment in six state and federal cash assistance programs, click here for details. King County Metro hopes to expand this program in 2022 and wants to hear from those accessing the program who should be prioritized in this expansion. If you have used the pass or have helped others apply for this benefit please fill out this survey by March 31. Metro is also planning to conduct a handful of follow up interviews to dig deeper into the information shared via the survey. If you are interested in participating in a follow up interview, please indicate so on the survey.

2021 Economic Impact Payment: Click here to view resources to help the people you serve claim their 2021 Economic Impact Payment or Stimulus Check. The tools in this article can also be used to help someone claim their 2021 Economic Impact Payment. If you or someone you work with has yet to claim any of their stimulus checks they can do so by filing a 2020 tax return. For tax filing assistance in your community click here.

In King County, in-person tax filing assistance is being offered at the Federal Way Multi-Service Center (1200 336th St, Federal Way WA 98003) on a first come, first serve basis Monday through Friday from 5pm to 9pm. Starting on March 22, tax filing assistance will also be offered at the Goodwill Training and Employment Center (700 Dearborn Pl S) every Friday from 8am to 5pm. Additional in-person locations TBD.

King County Provider Wage and Benefits Survey: Funded by the King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Service Levy, this survey is meant to capture an accurate snapshot of wages, benefits and working conditions of nonprofit and direct service staff in King County. This survey comes in two parts: Part one is collecting detailed information on wages and benefits and should be filled out by someone at your agency familiar with compensation and benefits such as an Executive Director, Human Resources staff or a Finance Manager. This survey is live and due by May 2, click here to learn more.

The second survey is for all direct service staff and offers the ability to provide feedback on non-wage and salary workplace conditions. This is a crucial opportunity for our community to use our collective voice to speak to what is and is not working well within our profession. That survey will be available starting April 6, stay tuned for further details.

February 18, 2021 Membership Meeting

Click here to Register for our Next Membership Meeting on Thursday, March 18 at 9am

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Agenda
9am Welcome
9:10 Chante Stubbs, preview of “Real Talk about COVID-19 vaccines” with frontline staff
9:15 Shaun Glaze, Black Brilliance Research, Participatory Budgeting
9:45 Jacob Kuykendall, Civil Survival, Reentry Legal Aid Project
9:55 Coalition Legislative Advocacy Update, week 6 advocacy, Public Safety bills
10:15 Member Updates
10:25 Coalition Staff Updates
10:30 Close

Healthcare for the Homeless Network “Real Talk” Series

Our meeting started with brief remarks from Chante Stubbs, who described a planned series of “real talk about COVID19 vaccines” virtual events for front line service staff, emphasizing the needs of BIPOC service providers. The purpose of these conversations is to create a space for informal dialogue and discussion about how to best connect COVID19 vaccines to people without homes and staff who work in homeless services and housing. Anyone working directly with people experiencing homelessness in encouraged to join. Details to come.

Black Brilliance Research Project

In the summer of 2020, a coalition of black led organizations wrote the 2020 Blueprint for Police Divestment and Community Reinvestment. This plan detailed a flexible framework for how to invest money to create thriving communities. One of the main features was the creation of a Black-led collaborative research program to conduct a rigorous analysis of what exactly creates true community safety and true community health for all residents in Seattle and the surrounding areas. This research is a part of that plan, community members have been meeting to do this research. Read more about this effort here.

The next stage in this project will consist of brining community members together to better understand the collective needs of our region. BBRP is offering both paid and unpaid opportunities to interested community members and wants your help in circulating this as far and wide as possible. Click Here to Complete the Survey. If you are interested in signing up for bi-monthly updates on this and related projects, you can do so here.

What is participatory budgeting?

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a cycle of engagement that is integrated into a regular budgeting process. A typical PB process follows these steps and will be adjusted to fit the community’s needs.

1.      DESIGN THE PROCESS. A steering committee that represents the community creates the rules and engagement plan, with approvals from the community. Community resources prepare community for PB, including expanding internet access

2. BRAINSTORM IDEAS. Through meetings and online tools, communities share and discuss ideas for projects.

3.      DEVELOP PROPOSALS. Volunteer “budget delegates” develop the ideas into feasible proposals that reflect Black priorities as identified in the Black Brilliance Research Project.

4.      VOTE. Residents vote on the proposals that most serve the community’s needs.

5.      FUND PROJECTS. The City, County etc. funds and supports implementation of winning proposals. Evaluate project success and lessons learned for rooting this process in equity.

State Legislative Advocacy

We are roughly 1/3 of the way through the State Legislative Session, and several key bills related to the intersecting crises of COVID-19, homelessness, and systemic racism need our support.

Police Accountability Bills: Maya Manus from the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle presented on a suite of police accountability bills and how members can support them. You can read the full list of proposed legislation here. Maya highlighted two bills that need your support to become law this legislative session.

  • SB 5051 would expand the conduct for which a police officer or corrections officer’s certification may be revoked, Click here to send your lawmaker a message in support of this legislation.
  • HB 1202 would eliminate qualified immunity for police officers, which would make it easier for police departments and officers to pay for wrongfully harming people and have an incentive to prevent bad conduct in the future. Click here to send a message of support to your lawmakers.

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle has created an email sign up to help you track these and other important pieces of legislation this session. Click here to sign up for alerts, and if you want to learn more about statewide efforts around police accountability and reform check out the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability.

Coalition on Homelessness Legislative Updates and Action Alert: Use this link to send a message to your lawmakers in support of the three bills listed below:

  • HB 1441Sponsored by Representative Melanie Morgan, this bill will help reduce future barriers to housing for renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring landlords cannot discriminate against prospective tenants for nonpayment of rent or eviction during this public health emergency.  
  • HB 1465: Sponsored by Representative Tina Orwall, this bill will help will make changes to Washington’s estate tax and establish the Equity in Housing Fund. The Equity in Housing Fund would help finance behavioral health and homelessness services for those without homes, as well as rental assistance and foreclosure prevention to help prevent a rise in homelessness.
  • SB 5160Sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer, this bill will help prevent evictions and homelessness by requiring landlords to establish payment plans for unpaid rent with tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, help both landlords and tenants access rental assistance programs, and provide legal representation for people who face eviction.

Speak Up Pop Up Workshop Series: Want to gain and practice advocacy skills and help build a strong community of housing justice advocates? Join us at our Speak Up Pop Ups! These drop-in workshops will occur every Tuesday from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. throughout the legislative session and are open to people of all levels of interest and experience with legislative advocacy. You do not have to attend all the workshops, but we invite participants to attend multiple session to help you learn and practice advocacy skills, build a community of housing justice advocates, and ensure sustained momentum throughout the legislative session. Click here to register.

Civil Survival’s Reentry Legal Aid Project

Civil Survival has recently launched their first legal aid program, The Reentry Legal Aid Project, which is aimed at providing pro bono legal services across the State of Washington to help people with post-conviction issues. As these legal aid clinics are opened county by county, community members will be able to seek guidance on specific post-conviction matters, such as how to manage and pay down their Legal Financial Obligations. Legal financial obligations, or LFOs, are the fines, fees, costs, and restitution imposed by the court on top of a criminal sentence. Nearly every person convicted in a Washington court receives a bill for LFOs at sentencing. The average amount of LFOs imposed in a felony case is $2,540. LFOs can include the cost of a public defender and a flat charge for each day spent in jail. Learn more about Legal Financial Obligations here.

The Reentry Legal Aid Project can also aid in vacating past convictions, which can act as a barrier to employment and housing opportunities due to the prevalence of backgrounds screenings in rental and employment applications. Civil Survival is compiling a list of volunteer attorneys across the state to lend a hand. If you or someone you work with might benefits from these services, please complete this online form so your case can be reviewed.

In addition to civil legal clinics and statewide advocacy efforts, @Civil Survival also hosts a running series of community webinars, including a COVID-19 Information Dissemination Event coming up this Wednesday, February 24th at 4:30pm. This webinar will cover how to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure, what to do if a person is directly or indirectly exposed to COVID-19 and how best to care for them, and how to get a free at-home COVID 19 test. To register, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KDrO7AIxSOW4t_-59wFcbQ

Coalition Member Updates

New WHEEL Shelter at First Pres: Before COVID, the WHEEL shelter at Trinity hosted at least 60 women most nights. Now they are open 24/7, but at half capacity due to COVID restrictions. WHEEL pushed hard for more shelter space, writing letters, calling in to City Council meetings and standing with community members at the Women in Black vigils. Thanks to these organizing efforts, WHEEL has secured a large shelter space for up to 60 women at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Seattle that is open 24 hours.

The First Pres shelter opened last Friday night and stayed open round the clock through the duration of the snow spell. First Pres is a loving, low-barrier shelter open to any woman, in any condition, at any time of night. Shelter entry is at 715 Spring St. There is no entry prerequisite. The WHEEL office number is (206) 956-0334. First Pres is now operating between the hours of 8pm to 8am until they can staff up enough to run both shelters 24/7. They are staffing up as quickly as possible, so please refer applicants! Contact wheelorg@yahoo.com

The Coalition is honored the celebrate the addition of 60 shelter beds, an achievement made possible thanks to dedicated organizing efforts led by WHEEL members. To learn more, visit http://www.wheelforwomen.org/

New Youthcare South Seattle Shelter: After two years of rotating between multiple temporary locations, Youthcare’s South Seattle shelter has finally found a permanent home at 9416 Rainier Ave S. This space has limited openings and is available to clients between the ages of 18 to 24 years of age (clients will be exited to adult shelter services on their 25th birthday). 20 total beds available in a 24-hour shelter model, clients may stay on-site during meal rotations and daily disinfections that are conducted to meet public health safety guidelines. No ID or prior HMIS enrollment required for entry, criminal background and credit checks are not conducted, cannot accept anyone who is a level two or higher registered sex offender.

Both daytime day center and overnight shelter services are available. A weekly medical pop-up clinic provided by Kaiser Permanente and weekly behavioral health services provided by Ryther are available to clients, along with housing navigation and employment assistance. Clients are encouraged but not required to access case management services, which can include GED counseling and help securing identification. For more information or to request an intake, call 206-331-2363 any time or email info@youthcare.org.

Allen Family Center Case Management Services: The Allen Family Center is a new facility offering daytime case management services to families and young adults in South Seattle. Located at 3190 S Hanford St, Seattle WA 98144 in the Mt Baker neighborhood, this project offers permanent supportive housing to families on-site in addition to their drop-in day center. The day center is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm, and can be used by community members that are either families with children or young adults under the age of 25.

On-site housing is managed by Mercy housing. Housing navigation assistance is available to day center patrons is thanks to a collaboration with Mary’s Place staff. Childcare Resources has partnered to offer childcare payment assistance to qualified families, and the Refugee Women’s Alliance has partnered to offer culturally appropriate health and employment assistance to ESL communities. No resident or ID requirements, although clients are asked to complete an intake assessment upon first visiting the facility. For more information please call 206-584-2832 or email Savannah Mable, Family Engagement Specialist at Savannah.mable@mercyhousing.org

Coalition Community Resources Update

Coalition Case Manager Training: Getting Through the Month. Presented in partnership with Hopelink, this training will explore how to track income and public benefits with an eye toward understanding garnishments and deductions, payment options, and how to increase net earnings. We hope you will join us on Wednesday, February 24 from 11am to Noon, Click here to register.

Path with Art Remote Enrichment Opportunities: 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. Path with Art partnering with the Coalition on Homelessness to bringing remote enrichment opportunities to Coalition member organizations working directly with individuals and families experiencing homelessness in King County. If your program is interested, please complete this survey or email jason@homelessinfo.org.

Pandemic EBT Benefits For the 2020-21 School Year: Pandemic EBT benefits are a food voucher program available to families with children who qualify for free or reduce price meals at the school or daycare they attend. The goal of this program is to offset the cash value of meals lost due to remote learning, valued at $6.82/meal. Households received this funding in the 2019-20 school year as part of the CARES act, and the program has been expanded and renewed for the 2021 school year. P-EBT benefits will be issued on a card that can be spent on non-prepared grocery items like SNAP. This will not impact eligibility for other school-based food programs, it is meant to supplement these resources. The amount offered to each household is based on the number of days the student engages in remote learning. Student who are learning remote five days a week will receive $128/mo., $99/mo. for those learning remote four days a week and so on. These benefits are retroactive to September 2020, a large lump sum will be provided on the initial funding dispersal with additional payments to follow.

Eligibility: Households already enrolled in SNAP, as well as households who are enrolled in free or reduce price school meals. Low-income households may also qualify if they have a child age 0-6 who was enrolled in a daycare program that has been impacted due to COVID-19. P-EBT eligible families will receive a notice in the mail the first week of March containing a P-EBT card with the first round of funding loaded. If you are working with a family and you are concerned about them receiving this benefit, the best thing you can do is contact the school they are enrolled in and confirm the primary address they have on file for the student. If you do not have a good point of contact at the school district your clients live in, the Coalition has compiled a list of all McKinney-Vento Liaisons along with a host of other resources for supporting school age children experiencing homelessness which you can view here.

January 21, 2021 Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Click here to view our COVID-19 vaccine information for homeless service providers.

Click here to see Dr. Yang’s slide deck.

Thank you Dr. Maria Yang, Medical Director at the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), and Jody Rauch, Clinical Quality Lead at Health Care for the Homeless Network, for joining us to discuss what is currently available and known about COVID-19 vaccines.


State Legislative Advocacy

Speak Up Pop Up Workshop Series: Want to gain and practice advocacy skills, help build a strong community of housing justice advocates, and learn enough about our state legislative process to be an effective voice? Join us at our Speak Up Pop Ups! These drop-in workshops will occur every Tuesday from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. throughout the legislative session and are open to people of all levels of interest and experience with legislative advocacy. We firmly believe that everyone can be an effective advocate for themselves and their community; advocacy really just means speaking up!

You do not have to attend all the workshops, but we invite participants to attend multiple session to help you learn and practice advocacy skills, build a community of housing justice advocates, and ensure sustained momentum throughout the legislative session. Click here to register.


Coalition Member Updates

Salvation Army Sodo Single Adult Shelter: A shelter for single adults run by Salvation Army has opened in a new location in SoDo and is accepting referrals from select social service agencies (view referral form here). Three previous shelter locations (City Hall, Fisher Pavilion, King County Admin) have consolidated into this site at 1039 6th Ave S Seattle WA, 98134. Entry is located at the north end of the property at the personnel gate. Turn South on to 6th Avenue from Airport St or Charles St. Security will check you in and arrange for staff to meet you for intake. This location is accessible via the 150, 552 and 590 bus routes as well as the Link Light Rail. Anyone over the age of 18 who needs shelter is eligible, no ID or prior HMIS enrollment is required. Homeless service providers who want to learn more are encouraged to contact program supervisor Troy Thomas at (206) 665-4333 or email Troy.Thomas@usw.salvationarmy.org

FUSION Federal Way Emergency and Transitional Housing: FUSION Federal Way has recently expanded their programming to a 29-bed extended stay emergency shelter program for families with children. Any family with children is eligible to apply (defined as at least one adult over 18 with at least one child under the age of 18 in their care). Located near the FUSION Boutique store (1108 S 322nd Pl, Federal Way WA 98003) this program is run out of a former Econo Lodge motel that has been refurbished and converted to a non-congregate living facility. Families are provided a small fridge and hotplate with a communal kitchen available for food preparation. Case management and housing navigation services are offered to all enrolled clients but participating in on-going case management is not required to remain in the program. FUSION stives to house multi-generational households and offers limited storage capacity but is unable to accommodate pets or large storage requests. To apply, call the King County Family Shelter Intake Line at 206-245-1026 to request an intake.

Sound Generations Hyde Shuttle Extended Service: The Hyde Shuttle is a free shuttle service for adults 55 and older, or adults with disabilities 18 and older. The program has a fleet of 12 passenger shuttle vans that offer rides to social service appointments, grocery shopping, medical appoints and other needs. Unlike the King County Metro Access program, the Hyde Shuttle does not require official paperwork verifying disability status making it more accessible to those in the process of applying for federal and state disability benefit programs. Those in need of transportation are encouraged to call 206-727-6262 and press 1, or use this online form to request a ride. Requests should be made at least one day in advance to guarantee service.

The Hyde Shuttle is expanding into South King County with service in the City of Kent starting February 1 (click here for details). If you work with a social service program in Kent and would like to coordinate rides for the people you serve, please reach out to Mark Smutney at 626-676-0278 or email marks@soundgenerations.org


Coalition Community Resources Update

Coalition Case Manager Training: Tracking Income and Benefits. Presented in partnership with Hopelink, this training will explore how to track income and public benefits with an eye toward understanding garnishments and deductions, payment options, and how to increase net earnings. We will be joined by attorneys from Benefit Law Center to explain the eligibility and review process for SSI / SSDI, and tips for maintaining eligibility while pursuing additional income. We hope you will join us on Wednesday, January 27 from 11am to Noon, Click here to register.

Public Health Overdose Spike Concern: The public health department has recorded a sharp rise in fatal overdoses over the past two weeks. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified 42 suspected or confirmed overdose deaths in two weeks, the highest number of overdoses in a two-week period ever documented in King County. Public Health encourages everyone to be aware of the risks and to share this information throughout our community:

For more information visit: Alert: Spike in fatal overdoses in our community

COVID-19 Vaccine Info for Homeless Service Providers (Last Updated 01/21/2021)


The Coalition has compiled some resources to help answer some frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccines more generally. 

Please review Dr. Maria Yang’s presentation reviewing the effects of Covid-19 on King County and information about currently available Covid-19 vaccines from our January 21, 2021 Membership Meeting.
Dr. Maria Yang works as the medical director for DESC. She has spent most of her career working in community psychiatry settings. She also likes cookies.

Is the vaccine safe and effective? Short answer: Yes, and yes (about 94% effective). 

Watch the video below from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) about how the vaccine works in your body. We recognize that you or others you know may experience vaccine hesitancy, which is driven by the mistrust of public health and medical institutions due to their historical mistreatment of and unethical studies on Black, Indigenous, POC, disabled, and impoverished communities.

Watch and share this video with Public Health staff Hana Tadesse and Dr. Jeff Duchin that debunks common myths about the vaccine, and can help people make their decisions.  

When will I and the people I serve be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? 

We are currently in Phase 1B, tier 1 of vaccine distribution to anyone 65 and older, and all people 50 and older who also live in a multigenerational household. This is in addition to populations eligible during phase 1A including health care workers at high risk for COVID-19 infection, first responders, people who live or work in long-term care facilities, and all other workers in health settings who are at risk of COVID-19. Public health wants you to know that getting vaccinated is not a substitute for mask wearing and social distancing. Stay masked and six feet apart, and if you are concerned you may have been exposed to someone showing symptoms use this link to find a COVID-19 test site in your community.

Use the Washington State Department of Health Phase Finder tool to find out if you are eligible now. Then, take a gander at this visual guide of Washington State’s vaccine phases. 

How are the vaccine phases determined?

The vaccine phase timeline is determined by a prioritization framework set at the national and state levels that takes into consideration risk, equity, and communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. For additional background on vaccine phases click here and here.

You may offer a written comment about Washington’s COVID-19 vaccination allocation and prioritization guidance to DOH here.

December 17, 2020 State Legislative Preview Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

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.

November 19, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Meeting Agenda:

9:00 Welcome and Introduction
9:05 Annual Subsidized Pass Program
9:25 Coalition Member Updates
9:35 COVID-19 Update for Service Providers
10:00 City of Seattle and King County Budget Advocacy 
10:20 Coalition Staff Updates
10:25 December Legislative Preview Preview

Thank you to everyone who attended our Thursday, November 19 Membership Meeting. A summary of the resources discussed is listed below and is being added to, please email Jason if you have additional materials you wish to share. We hope to see you next month at our Thursday, December 17 Legislative Preview Meeting. Click here to register.

Agenda Highlights

Subsidized Annual Pass

Sound Transit and King County Metro are launching a program to provide ORCA cards to low income public transit riders. This program, once fully implemented, represents the largest expansion in public transit access locally since the creation of the ORCA LIFT program. The Coalition worked alongside our community partners Transportation Choices Coalition, Seattle Transit Riders Union, Puget Sound Sage, OneAmerica and others for years to make this happen, we are thrilled to see this benefit coming to our community. Click here to learn more.

In response to a 2019-2020 budget request by King County Council, Metro worked to establish an income-based fare program for those who cannot afford the current reduced fare options. To create an equitable implementation plan, Metro collaborated with a stakeholder advisory group, prioritizing the mobility needs of priority populations, including people of color, low-income residents, limited or non-English speaking communities, and immigrants and refugees.

The Subsidized Annual Pass functions like an ORCA LIFT card that can be offered free of charge to qualifying riders. This pass provides pays for 100 percent of the cost to use:

  • King County Metro buses
  • Rapidride Bus Routes
  • Link Light Rail
  • Sounder Commuter Train
  • Seattle Streetcar
  • Seattle Monorail
  • Access Paratransit
  • Via To Transit
  • Sound Transit Express Bus
  • King County Water Taxi

This pass will be available to residents of King, Pierce and Snohomish County who are enrolled in one of the following State or Federal benefit programs:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/State Family Assistance (SFA)
  • Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)
  • Aged, Blind, or Disabled Cash Assistance (ABD)
  • Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Housing & Essential Needs (HEN)

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: This program is currently being administered by three organizations: The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Public Health Seattle – King County, and Catholic Community Services (CCS).  Eligible riders can apply for this pass over the phone or in person through one of these three agencies.

PHONE ENROLLMENT:
  • Call DSHS at 1-877-501-2233, Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.
  • Call the Public Health—Seattle & King County Community Health Access Program (CHAP) Line at 1-800-756-5437, Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm (closed between 12pm and 1pm)
  • Apply through Catholic Community Services by calling 206-960-1582 or by emailing Janet Hammer, CCS LIFT Program Manager at  JanetHa@ccsww.org
IN-PERSON ENROLLMENT LOCATIONS AND HOURS:

This information is subject to change. To review the most up to date enrollment information, please visit this website.

In addition, King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) and King County Metro (Metro) are making available up to $4 million in face value (up to $400,000 in allotment value) for the 2021 Human Services Bus Ticket Program (HSBTP). This RFP process is administered via ZoomGrants, an online tool. RFP is OPEN NOW through 11:59 p.m. on November 25, 2020. Click here to apply 

COVID-19 Update for Direct Service Providers

Thank you to the staff from Public Health Seattle – King County who joined us to review updated resources and best practices for homeless service providers. Click here to view a summary of resources. With cold weather approaching and COVID cases spiking, we want to make sure indoor service programs are equipped to keep their clients warm and safe. Environmental Health Services has published an updated severe weather planning guide for homeless service providers. Click here to review to most up to date severe weather planning information.

Ventilation Needs Survey for Homeless Service Providers: Environmental Health Services is willing and able to conduct a ventilation needs assessment for your program. They can help equip your program with air filters, air purifiers, HVAC upgrades and provide a list of recommendations to help you keep your clients warm and safe in the coming winter months. Click here to fill out a ventilation needs survey, and email leah.helms@kingcounty.gov for more information.

Marta Lema shared information related to cleaning best practices laid out in the sanitation and hygiene standards guide. When looking for cleaning chemicals for COVID-19, please consider the following factors:

  • The label should state the product is effective against Human Coronaviruses.
  • Clear rooms and open doors and windows. CDC recommends surfaces get disinfected once a day (and more for high touch surfaces depending on use).
  • Follow cleaning instructions for whatever chemical you’re using. Make note of the required “contact time” or “wet time” as well to ensure surfaces are actually getting disinfected.
  • Do not use disinfectants in kitchens, kitchenettes or areas where food is prepared, handled, or stored. Use products that state they are appropriate on “food-contact surfaces.”
  • If you have questions about new chemicals or disinfection technologies, please reach out to HEART for guidance/consultation.

Flu Vaccinations: The Healthcare for the Homeless Network wants you to know how to secure flu vaccinations for those you serve. A current and updated list of upcoming vaccination events can be found here. You can also request a flu vaccine visit to your program by emailing vaccineteam@kingcounty.gov.

Coalition Member Updates 

  • Hopelink Financial Empowerment Training Pt. III: The Coalition in partnership with Hopelink are offering a series of monthly mini-trainings to explore the Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) toolkit. We plan to take a closer look at topics such as how to discuss finances, setting financial goals, earning income while maintaining public benefit eligibility and dynamic budgeting. This series will create space for direct service providers to share experiences using the Toolkit with those they serve. Check out prior workshop sessions here, and register for part three in the series: Saving, on Wednesday December 2 at 11am. 
  • Friends of Youth Program Changes: In October 2020, The Landing Young Adult Shelter made the decision to transition to a 24/7 shelter model to better meet the needs of young adults experiencing homelessness in East King County. The program offers both day center and overnight services, which includes daytime drop-in (ages 16-24 from 9am to 4pm), evening drop-in (ages 16-24 from 4:30pm to 8pm) and shelter programming (ages 18-24 from 8:30pm to 8:30am). Maximum indoor capacity limited to 15 individuals. Young people can access basic needs and support services: food, showers, laundry, case management and behavioral health services For more information, contact Chris Craft at chris@friendsofyouth.org or Karina Wiggins at karina@friendsofyouth.org

Coalition Staff Updates

  • Coalition Voter Registration Summary: Coalition volunteers and staff have wrapped up a whirlwind voter registration program at direct service sites across King County. Trained Coalition volunteers spoke with members of the public at day centers, meal programs and overnight shelters to inform them of their voting rights and to offer help in registering to vote. Thanks to our volunteers and community partners, we were able to collectively reach 500 members of our community, directly register 55 people to vote, and provide educational materials, voter assistance, and bus tickets to an additional 200 people. We hope this is the beginning of an on-going conversation about engaging those you serve in meaningful civic engagement opportunities. For more information, contact Saleena Salango.
  • Emergency Assistance Programs in King County: The following is a partial list that will be added to. If your organization is accepting applications for Emergency Assistance and you want the details listed here, please email Jason Austin
    • Those in South King County interested in navigating the emergency assistance lottery program through King County are encouraged to reach out to St Stephen Housing Association or the Multi-Service Center
    • Lifelong has launched an emergency assistance program for HIV+ tenants facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Low-income renters who can provide they are behind on a rent or utility bill because of the pandemic must be referred by a medical case manager. In addition to financial assistance, landlord / utility company mediation and tenant rights resources are also available. Click here for more information. Interested qualified applicants are encouraged to contact Laura Jones at lauraj@lifelong.org
    • The King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project has launched a rental assistance program for low-income tenants with rent arrears. This fund is for those who owe at least one month of rent since March 2020 and can provide up to 6 months of fair-market rate rent. Immigration status is not a consideration for this program. Low-income renters who have not received other forms of rent assistance are encouraged to call 206-267-7069 to conduct a screening appointment.
    • Washington LawHelp now has a mobile-friendly app with a guided questionnaire to help residential tenants at risk of eviction find the information and legal help they need, county-by-county. Most evictions for not paying rent are not allowed right now, but your landlord may still be trying to evict you. Nothing to download, just visit their Facing Eviction? Get Help! page to use the app.