June 17, 2021 Membership Meeting

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

Join us at our July 15 Membership Meeting. We will be joined by Senator Mona Das to round off our State Legislative Highlights, as well as discuss the Best Starts for Kids Levy Renewal and the Child Care Tax Credit.

Annotated Agenda

9:00 am Welcome & Acknowledgements: Land & Labor Acknowledgement, Juneteenth, Pride month recognition
9:15 State Legislative Highlights
9:45 Voter Registration Overview
10:05 Project Cool
10:15 Solidarity Fund
10:25 Coalition Updates and Member Updates

State Legislative Highlights

During our May Annual Meeting, we were unable to fully highlight all of the amazing victories during the 2021 legislative session. We’ll be joined by Representative Strom Peterson to discuss HB 1220, which will change how jurisdictions all over the state plan for growth and ensure that they plan for a range of housing needs– including emergency housing, supportive housing, and more. We’ll discuss the steps forward to more inclusive planning.

Omar Cuevas-Vega from Statewide Poverty Action Network provided updates on all the changes to state public benefits from the 2021 legislative session. This will include updates regarding Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Housing and Essential Needs (HEN), Disaster Cash Assistance (DCAP), and more. See Omar’s slidedeck here.

Solidarity Fund

The Coalition created the Solidarity Fund in the Spring of 2020 as a rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the clear and disproportionate threats of this crisis to people experiencing homelessness.  The Coalition will be giving an update on the reopening of the application, the timeline and process. Read more information about the Solidarity Fund here.

Coalition Updates

  • Voter Registration & Voting Rights: See Saleena’s slidedeck here. With the August 3rd primary approaching, we’ll give you some background information on dates and deadlines, a refresher on how to register people without homes to vote, and get your feedback on how we can support you in getting every eligible voter in your site registered to vote. We’ll also take a look at upcoming changes to voting rights for people who were formerly incarcerated, and what you can do to help spread the word about these changes. Take the voter registration planning survey here.
  • Project Cool for Back-to-School: Each year, the Coalition helps homeless and unstably housed students prepare for academic success by providing backpacks filled with school supplies. Due to COVID-19, this year will look a little different. We hope to get your feedback on the needs of the children and families you serve so we can get these vital resources to them. Take the Project Cool needs survey here or email projectcool(at)homelessinfo(dot)org.

Member Updates

  • TODAY 6/17 at 2:30pm: Join the National Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness for their monthly NW Seattle/King County Region meeting today and every third Thursday from 2:30-4 p.m. via Teams. Please email Patricia Allen-Dick to be sent the call information.
  • WED 6/23: Hopelink invites you to join the final training in the Financial Empowerment Training Series on June 23rd from 11-12 p.m. The training will focus on teaching providers how to empower the people they serve through information and tools related to YMYG Modules 8 & 9: Choosing Financial Products & Services and Protecting Your Money. Register here for the training.

  • Seattle Public Library is opening additional branches for in-building services! The Downtown Central Library and nine neighborhood branches will reopen the week of June 21. The library looks forward to welcoming folks back in to browse books, use computers or WiFi, change devices, use the hygiene facilities, and more. Read more information here about the current In-Building services.

An open letter in response to exploitative #BadNews from KOMO/Sinclair

In response to more propaganda from Sinclair, the worldwide right-wing media group dedicated to sowing division and promoting fringe arguments, we wanted to set the record straight. There’s no “battle” for the soul of anything, save perhaps for a nation that has allowed its housing market to careen out of control and a lack of leadership willing to address it.

The causes of homelessness are clear; there is no mystery here. The core drivers of homelessness are economic, not personal. There is a national shortage of 7 million affordable units that has been increasing every year since 2011. The number of rental homes affordable to low- and moderate-income families in King County has decreased by 36,000 in the last ten years. Meanwhile, the region saw the average rent increase by 47% between 2012 and 2017, and the average home price increase by 53%. The loss of private market rental housing has left 41,000 individuals on fixed incomes and families making the minimum wage without an affordable apartment to rent anywhere in King County. Over 150,000 households in the region pay more than a third of their household income – sometimes far more – on housing expenses. So, we should be clear: this is not just about people experiencing homelessness. This crisis is about all of us. Housing is too expensive for all of us.

We should also remember that homelessness disproportionately impacts people of color, particularly Black and Native/Indigenous communities. This is no accident. Racism, too, is an economic position. The racial wealth gap, inclusive of earned wages, plays a significant role in who becomes homeless, as does our history of exclusionary zoning and land theft.

We should also not deny the reality that there is a crisis of unsheltered homelessness across the country and in King County. For this reason, we must continue to support programs that assist people in returning to permanent housing, including the expansion of voucher programs and increased development of permanent supportive housing. In the immediate, we must double down on (not terminate) programs that provide safe, dignity-centered, and trauma-informed temporary solutions. These solutions include non-congregate shelter, hotel/motel programs, and safe parking options.

We must avoid, at all costs, the criminalization of homelessness. Arrests, tickets, and involuntary commitments of homeless people have been proven to fail in every jurisdiction where they’ve been attempted. Additionally, many of these proposed actions violate people’s civil and human rights. It is not acceptable to have one code of law for people with money and another for people without.

Finally, we must continue to listen to people experiencing homelessness. We know that those who are closest to the problem are those who have the solutions. The King County Regional Homelessness Authority is a decisive step in that direction, incorporating those with lived expertise at every decision-making level. We must continue to move in that direction if we hope to make rapid progress on this crisis.

We invite everyone to get involved in creating the solution rather than letting a fringe minority, backed by a powerful media group, set the tone of the conversation. Here’s how you can help:

Please join us to focus on solutions to homelessness:

CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing)

Homeless Rights Advocacy Project

Lived Experience Coalition

National Low Income Housing Coalition

National Innovation Service

National Homelessness Law Center

Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness

Washington Low Income Housing Coalition

We Are In