April 15, 2021 Membership Meeting

Click here to register for our April 15 Membership Meeting

Join us this Thursday, April 15 from 9am to 10:30am for our next Coalition Membership Meeting. We will be 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 will take time at our meeting to celebrate several key victories related to voting access, housing, and homelessness. With less than two weeks left in the state legislative session, we will also highlight some key policy and budget priorities need your continued advocacy. We will round 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

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.

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

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 case management 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 6, stay tuned for further details.

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.

October 15, 2020 General Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Agenda

9:00 Welcome
9:10 Statewide Eviction Moratorium Update
9:20 Member Updates
9:40 November Ballet Overview
10:10 City of Seattle and other King County Advocacy Work
10:25 Coalition Staff Updates

Agenda Highlights

Statewide Eviction Moratorium Update

On Thursday October 8, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced that the temporary moratorium on evictions will be extended through the end of 2020, with no additional loopholes or exemptions. John Stovall with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance thanked us for the statewide advocacy push that made this possible and encouraged us to send a thank you message to the Governors office using this link. The Housing Alliance also wants to gather stories of people who have faced challenges keeping their housing because of COVID-19. If you or someone you know has a story to share, please consider filling out this form.

Health Through Housing Campaign

We have a big, exciting opportunity to create emergency homes for 2,000 people experiencing chronic homelessness in our community. On Tuesday October 13, the King County Council voted 8-1 in favor of the Health through Housing proposal. If you’re a King County resident, send a personalized thank you message to your King County Councilmember and Executive Dow Constantine urging them to focus this new one tenth of one cent sales tax revenue on housing people with the lowest incomes, who have disabilities and have been homeless for far too long. Thank you to those of you who took action, please send a follow-up note to ensure that Health through Housing is dedicated to supportive housing with behavioral health services for people at or below 30% AMI. We need to keep a strong focus on making true regional progress on chronic homelessness.

Coalition Member Updates 

  • Hopelink Financial Empowerment Training Pt. II: 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 two in the series: Setting Goals, on Wednesday October 28 at 11am
  • Mockingbird Society Speaker Series. This fall, The Mockingbird Society is excited to invite you to a three-part speaker series: Through the Lens of Lived Experience. Taking place on Oct. 1st, 15th, and Nov. 12th at 7:20pm on YouTube Live, the series features 15-20min conversations with transformative leaders. Their insights and stories will highlight why lived experience is so critical in the work to transform foster care and end youth homelessness. Click here to register for the entire speaker series, and you’ll get the connection details for each conversation 24 hours in advance.
  • Bellevue Lifespring Emergency Assistance Program: Families with children who live in Bellevue or send their children to the Bellevue School District may qualify for rent or move-in costs assistance through a new emergency assistance program. Click here for more information (Spanish version here).

November Ballot Overview: What You Need to Know Before November 3

  • Yes on Prop 1 King County: Whether serving its mission to care for the most vulnerable, or as the teaching hospital for future doctors, or as the state’s only Level 1 trauma and burn center – The Harborview Medical Center serves us all.  If King County Proposition 1 is approved, the 20-year bond will provide health and safety improvements at Harborview, including increasing critical health care capacity, updating and expanding modern infection control standards, and expanding capacity for behavioral health needs. Click here to learn more.
  • Yes on Transit Seattle, Prop 1 City of Seattle: While the pandemic has many of us at home, bus service remains a vital lifeline for seniors, people with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness and essential workers. City of Seattle Proposition 1 funds more than 150,000 prioritized transit service hours a year for the next six years that will have to be cut if this measure fails. Seattle Prop 1 also supports access programs for our low-income neighbors, including free passes for public high school students and programs for essential workers, seniors, and public housing residents. Our neighbors are counting on these affordability programs now more than ever. Click here to learn more, and help us get the word out by using this media toolkit.
  • Yes on R-90: Young people deserve quality sex education. State that have adopted comprehensive sex education curriculum have observed decreases in unplanned pregnancies and STI transmission rates. Comprehensive sex education gives LGBT+ youth the opportunity to see their identify reflected positively in school curriculum, and promotes racial equity within our school system. Information about anatomy, healthy relationships and consent is a protective factor against sexual assault and gender based violence. It is for these reasons and more that the State Legislature adopted this updated curriculum, which is now before voters for final approval. Click here to learn more. If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, or if you would like more information about sexual violence, call King County Sexual Assault Resource Center’s 24-hour Resource Line at 888.99.VOICE (888.998.6423) or visit https://www.kcsarc.org/gethelp
  • Yes on King County Charter Amendment 2: King County owns a significant amount of surplus property, you can see just how much by reviewing this mapping tool. The state legislature changed state law to enable these properties to be made available at a lower price for affordable housing. Old language in the County Charter is, however, inconsistent with the amended state law and requires sale at higher prices. King County Charter Amendment 2 if approved will allow the sale of certain surplus properties at a lower price when the property is to be used for affordable housing, eliminating one of the biggest cost drivers to building affordable homes. Click here to learn more.

Voter Registration and Voting Rights Refresher Training

We are thrilled to introduce Saleena Salango, our new Coalition Advocacy Coordinator who previewed an upcoming virtual training series for those interested in helping people experiencing homelessness register to vote. The Coalition engages in non-partisan voter registration and education work. We advocate to expand voting rights, strengthen democracy, and ensure that all members of our community actively participate at every level of government. These sessions are primarily for service providers who will help people who are or were homeless or unstably housed register to vote, know their voting rights, and vote. If you are an individual volunteer who has been part of previous Coalition voter registration activities, this will be a refresher, as well as a chance to learn crucial updates about voting during COVID-19 and election resources for November 3, 2020. For those who have not been part of previous Coalition voter registration activities who wish to volunteer with us, this training is required. Click here to register.

We are hosting this training on two dates. You only need to attend one training. 

  • Tuesday, 10/20 at 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, 10/22 at 12 – 1 p.m.

Visit the Coalition’s voter registration website for information and resources.

Coalition Staff Updates 

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

Annual Subsidized Pass Pilot: Sound Transit and King County Metro are launching a pilot program to provide ORCA cards to low income King County residents. The Annual Subsidized Pass functions like an ORCA LIFT card that can be offered free of charge. This pass will be available to residents of King, Pierce and Snohomish County whose income is at or below 80 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit and who qualify for specific state and federal public benefit programs. This pilot will be administered by Catholic Community Services, Seattle / King County Public Health Department and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Click here for more information

Overdose Response Webinar, Wednesday October 21 from 2:30 – 4pm: The University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI)  is partnering with the King County Recovery Coalition, Washington Department of Health, Public Health-Seattle & King County, and a few WA State syringe exchange partners to host a webinar: Overdose Response During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Webinar topics will include: Why overdose risk may be higher during the pandemic, statewide data on overdose deaths and trends, recovery and relapse prevention, and overdose response and naloxone distribution. Experts from Washington State syringe exchange programs will discuss how the pandemic has affected the people they work with, and how their programs have adapted. Click here to register.

City of Seattle Immigrant Relief Fund: On Thursday, October 15, 2020, the City of Seattle will launch the $7.94 million Seattle COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund for Immigrants, its newest program to help vulnerable residents who have been both financially impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and purposely excluded by the federal government. Eligible individuals and families have until Thursday November 5, Click here to apply.

  • The application will only be available as an online form, and 20 organizations will be available to help applicants over the phone and in-language. The online application will be available in seven languages other than English: Amharic, Korean, Chinese (Simplified), Somali, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, and Vietnamese. 
  • The relief fund is open to immigrants who: Live in OR attend school in OR work within the Seattle city boundaries, AND meet income eligibility requirements, AND were ineligible for federal CARES Act Economic Impact Payments (also known as a “coronavirus stimulus check”). 
  • The review process is NOT first-come, first-served. To support those with the most need, the program is prioritizing applicants based on a set of vulnerability criteria. Each eligible adult applicant filing for themselves can receive a one-time payment of $1,000. Applicants with children are eligible to receive a one-time payment of up to $3,000. 

September 17, 2020 Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

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

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

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

Washington Dental Access Campaign

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

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

Community Nutrition Update 

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

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

Financial Empowerment Series Preview

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

Upcoming Training Dates:

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

 Voting Rights in a Pandemic

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

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

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

Community Resources

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

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

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

Transportation Advocacy

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

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

Census 2020

The 2020 Census is underway, and under attack. The Federal Government is threatening to intentionally not include all residents in the final reported count, and the deadline for data collection has been arbitrarily shortened from October 31 to September 30. Both of these actions have been temporarily blocked by the courts, making it  more important than ever to help those you work with complete the Census as soon as possible.

For those without a traditional address, the census will be conducting Service Based Enumeration to survey people at locations such as overnight shelter programs and meal sites from September 22 to September 24. If you work for a program that provides services to people experiencing homelessness, and you have not been contacted by the Census Bureau, email Micaella Verro with United Way King County to get connected with Census operations staff. And check out these tips for helping the people you service complete the census form.

 The Census can be completed one of two ways:

  • Online: https://2020census.gov
  • Households would have had a Census ID mailed to them, but if someone does not have one because they don’t have a residential location or they no longer have the code, they can say that they don’t have a Census ID and still fill out the census
  • There will be a check box for “I do not have a street address” and then a question asking if someone was experiencing homelessness on April 1, 2020. After that people can provide a description of where they were staying, or a city.
  • Phone: 844-330-2020 – language support available in other languages – help someone find their language number to call by going to 2020census.gov and clicking How to Respond, or go to https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html

HUD Emergency Shelter Rule

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing modifications to the 2016 Equal Access Rule that would allow discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people seeking access to shelter through HUD-funded services. The proposed change would give local shelter providers the ability to deny services arbitrarily based on physical appearance, rather than how clients self-report their identity. This will have dire consequences for members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans and gender non-conforming people experiencing homelessness. We support the efforts of the Housing Saves Lives Coalition to push back against this proposed change. Click here to send a unique, personalized comment to HUD by Tuesday September 22.

August 20, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Defund the Navigation Team and City of Seattle Budget Advocacy 

The Seattle City Council voted to defund the entire Navigation Team as part of their 2020 budget rebalancing work, but Mayor Durkan vetoed the Council’s budget, so our work is not over. Check out this Op-Ed from REACH Co-Director Chloe Gale and our Executive Director Alison Eisinger explaining why the Navigation Team is wasteful, ineffective, and does not help to end homelessness. Negotiations over the 2021 city budget begin in a few weeks. Click here to sign up for advocacy alerts.

Defunding the Navigation Team is part of a border effort to re-balance the city budget towards more culturally appropriate community support services and affordable housing. This effort is being led by a coalition group called Decriminalize Seattle, which the Coalition on Homelessness is a member. You can learn more about their efforts at participatory budgeting  here. 

COVID-19 Toolkit for homeless service providers 

The King County Healthcare for the Homeless Network (HCHN) has updated its COVID-19 Outreach Provider Toolkit to aid homeless service staff in their work. Michael Young-Hall and Chante Stubbs with HCHN will be joining us Thursday to review the toolkit and discuss how best to utilize it at your program. 

Coalition Community Updates 

Census 2020: The 2020 Census is underway, and under attack. The Federal Government is threatening to intentionally not include all residents in the final reported count, and the deadline for data collection has been arbitrarily shortened from October 31 to September 30. When in Doubt, Count. It is more important than ever to help those you work with complete the Census by the end of September.

For those without a traditional address, the census will be conducting Service Based Enumeration to survey people at locations such as overnight shelter programs and meal sites from September 22 to September 24. If you work for a program that provides services to people experiencing homelessness, and you have not been contacted by the Census Bureau, we want to help. Thank you Micaella Verro with United Way King County for putting together this survey, please take two minutes to fill this out so we can help ensure your residents and guests get counted. And check out these tips for helping the people you service complete the census form.

 The Census can be completed one of two ways:

  • Online: https://2020census.gov
  • Households would have had a Census ID mailed to them, but if someone does not have one because they don’t have a residential location or they no longer have the code, they can say that they don’t have a Census ID and still fill out the census
  • There will be a check box for “I do not have a street address” and then a question asking if someone was experiencing homelessness on April 1, 2020. After that people can provide a description of where they were staying, or a city.
  • Phone: 844-330-2020 – language support available in other languages – help someone find their language number to call by going to 2020census.gov and clicking How to Respond, or go to https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html

HUD Emergency Shelter Rule: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing modifications to the 2016 Equal Access Rule that would allow discrimination against transgender people seeking access to shelter through HUD-funded services. The proposed change would give local shelter providers the ability to deny services arbitrarily based on physical appearance, rather than how clients self-report their identity. This will have dire consequences for members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans and gender non-conforming people experiencing homelessness. We support the efforts of the Housing Saves Lives Coalition to push back against this proposed change. Click here to send a unique, personalized comment to HUD by Tuesday September 22.

Community Resources Updates

  • Pandemic EBT Benefits: Thanks to statewide advocacy efforts, the application deadline has been extended to September 11 and the online application process has been streamlined. Click here for a training video and informational materials to help connect families you work with to this crucial food support.
  • Financial Empowerment Resources: On Thursday July 30, the Coalition presented a workshop in partnership with Hopelink around the Your Money / Your Goals toolkit to help homeless service providers equip those they serve to make informed financial decisions. Click here to view a recording of this free workshop. 
  • King County Metro Fare Collection: On August 14, King County Metro announced that fares will continue to be suspended through September. Service on Metro bus, Streetcar, Water Taxi, Access, Vanpool and Via will be fare-free through September. Metro has not yet made a decision on October fares. Fares are being collected on Sound Transit Express Bus & Link Light Rail. 
  • Real Talk in September: The Coalition previewed an upcoming event designed to create a more informal setting to gather and reflect on the collective work we are engaged with. We invite you to give us your ideas so we can create space to foster conversation relevant to your work. Our goal is to provide support to one another by getting real about the situation that we are in, and continuing to provide quality services and excellent well-informed advocacy.

Member Updates

  • Karina O’Malley shared her reflections on the virtual ribbon cutting of Kirkland Place for Women and Families. A permanent 27/7 emergency shelter program meant to replace a collection of winter only shelter options, Kirkland Place is a collaboration between New Bethlehem, The Sophia Way and Salt House. Click here to learn more and take a virtual tour of the facility.
  • Duy Tran with the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) told meeting attendees that openings are available in their Rapid Rehousing Program. DESC Rapid Rehousing offers time limited rental assistance between 3-12 months to eligible clients in King County. Clients can be referred through the CEA external fill process, which has recently been streamlined. To see if your client is eligible for a referral, please email DTran2@desc.org.

Helping Homeless Students

The last 30 minutes of our meeting was dedicated to a discussion of what homeless K-12 students and their families need to be successful in the new school year. Thank you to the family service providers and children’s advocates who joined us in small group discussions about available resources for homeless students, and what supports those you serve need during this challenging time.

For those of you who work with homeless school age children who could not attend our meeting, please take two minutes to complete this survey. Please complete this survey by Friday, August 28

The feedback from Thursday and the results from this survey will help inform the content of our upcoming Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101 workshop, which we will tentatively be hosting Thursday, September 3 from 9 to 11am. Click here to register.