Voter Registration & Voting during a Pandemic: August 4 Primary Election Edition

Recording of Voter Registration mini-training at June 16, 2020 Membership Meeting. Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Help people who you work with register and vote in the August 4 primary, and prepare for the November 3, 2020 General Election! This blog post is supplemental to the Coalition’s Guide to voting for people who are homeless and unstably housed.

The Coalition has been helping people who are experiencing homelessness register to vote and vote for over 11 years. We want to make sure that folks know that their voices matter and are important, and that You Don’t Need a House to Vote! This year our August Primary Election on Tuesday, August 4 includes voting on Federal Congressional Representatives, State Governor, Lieutenant Governor and other leadership positions, and State Senators and Representatives. The top two from each of those races will be on the November General Election ballot, along with, of course, the Presidential Election. 

The Coalition does voter registration and education work because:

  • We want to end homelessness and to do that we need to build political power. Voting is fundamental to political power. You will help with this.
  • We want to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, want to help people who don’t have a home know that they can vote.  
  • We need to spread the word about Voting Rights Restoration for people with felony convictions.

Due to COVID-19, this summer we are unable to send our volunteers out to help register voters (typically we sent trained volunteers to day and hygiene centers and meal programs), so we want to make sure that service providers have the tools you need to support people you work with in registering to vote, updating their voter registration, and voting. 

As a reminder, it is completely okay and legal for 501c3 nonprofits to help people register to vote, and provide education about the mechanics of how voting works. It is even okay to walk someone through their ballot, as long as you are helping them understand what the ballot is asking them to do, and not influencing how they vote in any way. 501c3 nonprofits are not allowed to tell someone how to vote on political (i.e. candidate) races, and if you are helping someone register or vote, you should never tell them who you are voting for. Nonprofits can endorse ballot measures/issues. 

View a recording of Hillary presenting this information at our July 16, 2020 membership meeting below (slides here) and see important information and materials here.

Email vote@homelessinfo.org for this poster

Materials to use while engaging voters:

  • Coalition’s Guide to voting for people who are homeless and unstably housed: Online version, PDF version
    • More information about these eligibility criteria and Voting Rights for people with felony convictions.
    • Addresses – how to fill out a form if someone doesn’t have a traditional residential address
    • See tips in this PowerPoint from our July 16, 2020 meeting as well!
  • Posters – email vote@homelessinfo.org for a personalized poster!
  • ACLU Trifold with information about Voting Rights for people with felony convictions: Download here

How to register & deadlines for voter registration for the Tuesday, August 4 Primary Election

Voting in the August 4 Primary Election: How to return a ballot

Ballots were mailed out on July 15! If someone hasn’t received their ballot by Tuesday, July 21, call King County Elections: (206) 296-8683.
Voter Pamphlet information: Non-partisan voter guides sent by County to each residence, some providers. If you need some, call Elections, or view online: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/elections/how-to-vote/voters-pamphlet.aspx

  • Use a Ballot Drop Box: Turn ballot in by 8 p.m. on election day to a drop box near you. Locations: (www.tinyurl.com/KCBallotDropBoxes)
  • Mail your ballot: no stamp needed! Put your ballot in any mailbox. Make sure that it will be postmarked by 5 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Vote Center: Go to a vote center for assistance voting in-person
  • For questions related to voting, call King County Elections: (206) 296-8683 or visit www.kingcounty.gov/vote

Vote Centers for August 4, 2020 Primary Election

Vote centers are available to register new voters, update current voter records, obtain a voter registration card and to provide assistance to voters who need help completing their ballot. Trained staff and specialized equipment are available to
help voters with disabilities cast a private, independent ballot.
Link to learn more about vote centers: https://bit.ly/kcvotecenters

COVID-19 and Vote Centers: Those who do come to a Vote Center in person will be required to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth. Vote Centers will have curbside assistance and assistance for people who don’t have cars. If you have questions about what to expect when you arrive at a vote center, call King County Elections: (206) 296-8683.

Renton – King County Elections HQ

  • Address: 919 SW Grady Way, Renton, WA 98057
  • Hours:
    • Weekdays, July 15 – 24, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    • Weekdays, July 27 – August 3, 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, August 1, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    • Election Day, August 4, 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Seattle – CenturyLink Field

  • Address: 800 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
  • Hours:
    • Saturday, August 1, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    • Monday, August 3, 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    • Election Day, August 4, 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Website links for kids and learning during COVID-19 – updated 5/22/2020

Thanks to one of our Coalition members for compiling the start of this list! We’ll add more as we hear about other resources – if you have ideas to add, please email projectcool[at]homelessinfo.org

Free computer resources for kids

Cirque de Solielhttps://www.cirquedusoleil.com/cirqueconnect – watch a different hour long show on-line, see behind the scenes and more!

Google Arts & Culturehttps://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en
Google is offering free virtual tours of more than 1,200 museums across the globe.

ABCmouse.comwww.abcmouse.com
ABCmouse is offering their lessons in different subjects like math, science and art for free thanks to UNICEF. All you have to do is go to ABCmouse.com/redeem and type in the code “AOFLUNICEF”

Readworks.orghttps://www.readworks.org/
If you’re looking to really zoom in on reading comprehension, Readworks is going to be a great fit for you, providing content from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. Readworks is a nonprofit, donation-based service, and the suggested donation is $25, though you can access the content for free.

123 Homeschool4mehttps://www.123homeschool4me.com/home-school-free-printables/
Resources are organized by subject and grade. Helpful education activities to keep kids learning and printable worksheets when you need them to sit and get some work done.

Arcademics – https://www.arcademics.com/
Multiplayer educational games for KG-8, from free math games to language games. Combines the excitement of video games with educational content to produce a high rate of learning.

Bedtime Math – http://bedtimemath.org/bedtime-math-for-families/
Bedtime Math provides free apps, books and printable activity pages. The platform is targeted toward children age 2 through elementary school.

BeeLine Reader – http://www.beelinereader.com/education
Improves the reading ability of students of all ages and skill levels. Free access to the BeeLine Reader Browser Plugin for Chrome through September 2020. Email education@BeeLineReader.com for a free account!

BlocksCAD – https://www.blockscad3d.com/distance_learning
BlocksCAD builds math and computer science skills by using specialized 3-D CAD (computer-aided drafting) software. A block-based coding platform allows students to create and manipulate 3-D objects while using geometry and computational thinking skills.

BrainPOP – https://www.brainpop.com
BrainPOP invites students to discover, play and create, enriching and deepening their understanding of topics across the curriculum. Children are encouraged to make movies out of images, build maps and develop their block-based coding skills. BrianPOP Jr. targets children from 0 to 3 whereas BrainPOP focuses on K-12 grade children.

Club Oasis – http://social.oasismatters.com/
Club Oasis is a free online STEM club for children and parents. Join the DYI STEM labs, live classes, coding lessons and live pop-ups. Activities are targeted toward elementary schools students and older.

Coolmath4kids – https://www.coolmath4kids.com/
Kindergarten to sixth grade. Kids can work on addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions through online math games, quizzes, manipulatives and more. For kids 13 and up, visit their sister site at coolmath.com.

Desmoshttps://teacher.desmos.com/
Desmos is a learning community that provides students with incredible online tools to help them visualize math problems and creating interactive tutorials where students can “do” and collaborate in real time. Turn math into a game and play it in a team with kids from all over the world.

Dictionary.com – https://www.dictionary.com/
Build your vocabulary daily and learn about trending words! Hop online to see the word of the day and test your knowledge by the end of the week. There are several ways to build your vocabulary on Dictionary.com; improve your language skills with word games, see what words are trending in the news, learn about the English language, and simply browse the dictionary by focusing on one letter at a time.

Discovery K-12 – http://discoveryk12.com/dk12/
Discovery K-12 is a great addition to kids’ pre-K to 12th-grade curriculum. Free lessons and activities are available in seven directives: language arts, reading, math, science, history/social studies, performing arts and physical education.

Dreamscape – https://www.squigglepark.com/dreamscape/
This free game allows kids to have fun while engaging them in reading activities and challenging their skills. Dreamscape understands that kids learn in several ways, one of which is through games which aim to foster the growth of early literacy skills. This includes print knowledge, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonetics, high-frequency words and spelling. These games are for children in grades 2-8.

DuckDuckMoose – http://www.duckduckmoose.com/
If you’re looking for some apps for the tablet, we recommend DuckDuckMoose for the preschool to kindergarten set. Graphics and interface are engaging and easily accessible for children. From puzzles, maps, to fun music apps where you can learn notes and rhythm, kids gravitate enthusiastically to this sister site of Khan Academy.

Duolingo – https://www.duolingo.com/
This free app site is perfect for your bilingual child to work on a series of practice exercises. From Arabic to Portuguese, kids will not fall behind with these fun and educational lessons.

Everyday Earth – https://www.everyday-earth.com/
Have you ever wondered how water changes Earth’s landscape or how are rocks formed? Take a walk with an Oklahoma Park Ranger on a video mission and learn the answers to these and many other questions related to nature and wildlife.

Everyday Learning – https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/everyday-learning/
A PBS Learning Media resource that is perfect for pre-K kids. Topics from math, science to art provide early childhood resources to strengthen kids’ interest and sense of discovery.

Khan Academy – https://www.khanacademy.org/
Khan Academy is a free resource for students, parents and teachers. From exercises, quizzes, tests and instructional videos, students can practice and master educational skills. This resource is available in 40 languages and offers instruction from kindergarten to early college math, grammar, science, history, AP courses, SAT prep and more.

Little Twisters Yoga & Emotional Wellness – https://littletwistersyoga.com/
For kids ages 2 and up this resource with tips on how to engage kids through yoga. Fun printable lessons like Space Shape Yoga and Kids Yoga Cards are free for all during the COVID-19 school closure and quarantine.

Mathcelebrity.com – Need help with your math homework? The next time you get stuck on a math problem and want to learn step by step how to solve it, use Math Celebrity. Plug the problem in and see how to solve it. Get the answer and see where you went wrong.

Math Scorehttp://www.mathscore.com/
KG – seventh grade. It contains all of the major components of a learning system, such as assessments, math topics, lessons and score tracking for parents and teachers who want to assess the child’s progress. With MathScore Freemium, you can use the platform for free and only choose to pay when a student is ready for the premium content.

Metkids – https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/metkids/
Kids ages 5 and up. Give kids a dose of art and culture. Kids can learn about a particular period or collection and explore art via the “Time Machine,” starting as early as 8000-2000 BC to present time with fun facts and videos.

Minecraft Education Edition – https://education.minecraft.net/
Perfect for Minecraft fanatics, this Minecraft Education Edition focuses on coding, math, problem-solving all via the Minecraft way. Kids will love this education version while parents will love that it is free!

NaNoWriMo – https://www.nanowrimo.org/
This site is for the young writer who is itching to write a novel … in 30 days. Common Core-aligned lesson plans from prewriting to publishing help kids to develop and fine-tune their writing skills. For students who are up for using their imagination to create another world or simply tell their story. From lower elementary to high school.

PBS Kids – https://pbskids.org/
For toddlers up to pre-K students. Kids can also hop on their favorite shows such as Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train, where games are designed to enrich their education.

ProjectGutenberg – https://www.gutenberg.org/
A free library of over 60,000 free eBooks that include a children’s literature category where kids can download or read online classics like “Little Women” and “Peter Pan.”

Scholastic – https://www.scholastic.com/home/
Students can visit the Scholastic website for a wealth of educational activities from grades pre-K and up.

Scholastic Learn at Home https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
They are offering their lessons for free. You can choose activities within from grade levels between PreK and 6+. These include e-books kids can read along with, and educational videos under their “Watch and learn Library.”

Sesame Street – https://www.sesamestreet.org/
With a mission to help kids meet critical early development needs. One of the best resources for the pre-K and kindergarten set, as well as kids with special needs. You’ll find video, games and art projects online.

Science Friday – https://www.sciencefriday.com/
For elementary to high school students with lessons that engage through stories and podcasts. Segments in categories like Physics & Chemistry, Earth Science, Brain and Biology, and more will provide kids with a new way of seeing science.

Storylineonline.net – https://www.storylineonline.net/
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Story Online features cool videos were celebrities such as Sarah Silverman and Chris O’Dowd read books that entertain, providing you a bit of time to get some work done.

Wonderopolois.com – http://wonderopolis.org/
On this cool site, kids can learn about a 2,000-plus wonders of the world. Questions come from the site’s users and cover a wide range of topics such as Why Do Whales Breach? Kids are full of wonder, and this site has many of the answers.

https://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/events-programs/curiosity-at-home/ (this is interesting, has videos to watch)

http://samblog.seattleartmuseum.org/category/stay-home-with-sam,video,sams-collection,object-of-the-week,exhibtions,behind-the-scenes

https://www.seattletimes.com/life/at-home-with-kids-because-of-coronavirus-closures-here-are-23-fun-activities-using-stuff-you-already-have

https://www.seattleaquarium.org/live-cams

https://scratch.mit.edu

From Seattle Public Library:

May 21, 2020 Coalition Annual Membership Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual Membership Meeting!

Sign up for Coalition emails to make sure you receive updates and notice of upcoming meetings. Highlights and resources shared on the call are below.

Click here to view the Coalition’s PowerPoint Presentation.

Recording of the Coalition’s Annual Membership Meeting, May 21, 2020.
**We started the recording about 10 minutes into the meeting. Missing from this recording is the opening ceremony by Randy with Chief Seattle Club.*
  • 9:00 – Welcome and Introduction
  • Opening Ceremony by Chief Seattle Club Drummers – thank you Randy Tippins-Firstrider, Youth Outreach Case Manager with Chief Seattle Club

——–

New Coalition Mission, Vision, and Values – Thank you to Coalition Board members for sharing our new guiding principles. And thank you to all our members who contributed to this process

  • Kate Baber, President, Coalition on Homelessness Board
  • Anna Strahan, Coalition on Homelessness Board Member
  • Derrick Belgarde, Treasurer, Coalition on Homelessness Board

——–

Board of Directors Election: Each dues-paying member organization has one vote to elect the slate of candidates for the Board. We are pleased that four Board members have agreed to renew their terms of service: Derrick Belgarde, Katie Escudero, Benjamin Miksch, Jenn Romo. Primary membership contacts will hear from us directly about this. If you think you are the person who should vote, or have a question, please email us

Highlights from the past year with the Coalition – see photos in our PowerPoint Presentation linked above!

——–

City, County and Statewide Advocacy Opportunities

Regarding sweeps currently happening in the City of Seattle, Alison shared:

  • “We don’t find it to be acceptable under any circumstances that people are left to fend for themselves. We have proudly and successfully wrangled with multiple mayoral administrations over these kinds of dehumanizing and morally wrong actions. And now this.
  • In the context of a global health emergency, in context of interim guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that clearly states in the absence of individual housing options people living unsheltered should not be moved during community transmission of COVID-19; We are seeing the City of Seattle go against what Mayor Durkan and members of her administration said at the beginning of this pandemic – which was that they would only take such action in a true emergency.
  • We’ve now, this week alone, seen at least 2 major sweeps of people experiencing homelessness outside. We’ve seen at least two others, both the Ballard Commons sweep on May 4 and a sweep of a portion of the area outside the Navigation Center Shelter on April 24.
  • The Coalition has expressed our strong opposition and outrage not only to the mayor and the city council, but we’ve been in communication with people at the CDC, with our Public Health Department and with the Washington State Attorney General’s office as well as with attorneys on the ground here. I want to assure you our members that we’ll continue to advocate essentially on every front possible. I want to recognize and acknowledge the extraordinary work of the frontline outreach staff.”

City Council Proposal (CB 119796) to suspend sweeps during the stay home, stay healthy order

Prepare for a likely Special Session of the State Legislature

  • Look up your state legislative district: https://bit.ly/walegdistricts
  • Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
  • We don’t know exactly when a special session might happen, but it is likely
  • We’ll need everyone to get engaged now to get our boards and organizations ready to ask for massive progressive revenue in the state. Washington is facing a major budget deficit and a vast majority of the budget that is discretionary and could be changed is human services, housing, and homelessness related funding. Get ready!
  • We’ll host a Homelessness Advocacy 101 workshop virtually before a special session begins.

——–

Director Chat

Sound Transit issued a press advisory stating that they’ll begin resuming fare collection and fare enforcement on the light rail. Speak up soon – we’ll post an action for people to take before the Sound Transit Board Meeting where this will be discussed next Thursday, May 28.

We’ll be hiring soon – stay tuned.

——–

COVID Resources Update: Check out our resources page: http://homelessinfo.org/resource/covid/

  • Our Homeless Service Change Tracker with information on the status of day centers, meal services and shelter programs in King County. We want to keep this as up to date as possible, if you see the need for additions of corrections please email those to us.
  • A variety of resource guides, including these step by step instructions for helping someone file to receive their stimulus payments.

EFSP Funding Announcement: King County has been awarded $ 1.9M in federal funds under Phases 37 and Phase CARES of the Emergency Food and Shelter National Program. The money is to be used to supplement existing emergency food and shelter programs in King County

——–

Census 2020 Updates

Help folks you work with complete the Census. The deadline is now October 31, but we encourage people to fill out the Census as soon as possible.

People can complete the Census in three 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.
  • Mail in paper forms – for households who didn’t respond by mid-April, people should have received a paper form in the mail. Other than that, unless your organization is working with the Census Bureau directly to have paper forms, it is best to help people fill out the census online or via the phone.
    • In-person non-response follow-up to households who have not completed the Census is currently scheduled for August 11 – October 31.

Toolkits available with information and visuals to share

——–

Face Covering Directive and Cloth Mask Distribution Efforts

  • Information about Face Covering Directive: www.kingcounty.gov/masks
  • The Coalition, in partnership with King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is helping to distribute cloth masks to get to people who are experiencing homelessness. Key contacts at provider organizations should have received an email from DCHS on 5/20.

——–

Guest Musical Performance by Dear Crow (Penka Jane Culevski and Brian Lindsey). Thank you. As a meeting attendee said, musical medicine.

Resources from the meeting we’ll highlight (more to be added after the meeting)

April 30 Coalition Supplemental Membership Meeting

Because of rapid on-the-ground changes and new information related to COVID-19, we added a short special meeting to bridge the long weeks between our information-packed April 16 membership meeting (see notes here) and our next regular membership meeting on Thursday, May 21. This meeting is intended for front line and program staff in homeless services and housing organizations.

Agenda for meeting

  • 9:00 – Welcome and Introduction
  • Holding respectful silence for residents and guests who have lost their lives during the pandemic, and others who have died.
  • Information about how to help people access stimulus payments (see more here).
  • Update on public benefits changes (see more here)
  • CEA Policy Change Update
  • Homeless Service Change Tracker: http://homelessinfo.org/resource/covid/
  • Update on efforts to expand hygiene access for those living unsheltered
  • Shared learning:
    • We hope this conversation will move beyond what programmatic changes are happening to cover what program staff are learning as you do your work in the midst of major changes.
      • What is one thing you have learned during the coronavirus outbreak as you engage with people to offer outreach, hygiene, or health services; operate shelter or manage housing under new conditions, or balance your work with suddenly homeschooling?  
      • What is your favorite way to talk about social distancing with people you serve?
  • Experiences from the front lines: Reflections on Service Changes – staff from DESC, Catholic Community Services, Mary’s Place
  • Resources for taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other

What are you doing to take care of yourself, keep perspective, or connect with people and community outside of work?

The Coalition has been compiling a variety of resources to support our members in caring for ourselves and others. Taking care of ourselves can look for different people, here are some examples:

Take a virtual tour of the Smithsonian: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour/current-exhibits

Practice yoga at home with free classes: https://www.thecut.com/2016/01/best-free-yoga-classes-online.html

Play games like Pictionary, card games, Scattegories, etc: http://playingcards.io https://skribbl.io

Host a Virtual Murder Mystery Party! https://murdermystery.com.au/how-to-host-a-virtual-murder-mystery-party-online

Have your own idea that should be added to our list? We want to hear from you, if you have creative suggestions please email Jason

Economic Impact Payments – Updated 03/18/2021

UPDATED 11/10/2020 – Step by Step Guide to helping someone claim their Economic Impact Payment.

Click here for Additional Materials

March 18, 2021 Update: This information was created in 2020 to help people claim their Economic Impact Payments (AKS Stimulus Checks). 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.

Economic Impact Payments, otherwise known as stimulus checks, are one-time payments being offered as part of the federal governments COVID-19 relief package. Those who have filed a 2018/19 tax return, or those receiving SSI/SSDI benefits will see these payments automatically delivered, either through direct deposit or in the mail.

FOR THOSE WHO DID NOT FILE A 2018/19 TAX RETURN: The IRS has created an online tool to help you claim your benefit without having to file a tax return. Check out this step by step guide on how to help someone complete their application. The deadline to claim this benefit is Saturday, November 21 2020

For additional information on stimulus checks, check out this training video. The CFPB is also offering virtual drop-in office hours so you can ask an expert your questions, every Wednesday at 11:30 until November 18Click here to attend, or dial in using +1 571-348-5774, Conference ID: 503 140 753# 


04/19/2020: Thank you to Nicole Palczewski from DESC for helping to compile and share the information below:

What It Is: Economic Impact Payments are one-time payments that are being given to many Americans through the IRS as part of the federal government’s recent COVID19 economic stimulus package. These payments will be up to $1,200 for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 (if you make less than $75,000, you will get the full $1,200 payment automatically). For married couples, the threshold is a gross income of up to $150,000, and couples can expect up to a $2,400 payment. For families with children under 17 years of age, you will receive an extra $500 per eligible child. This will be given to you the same way your tax refunds were returned for the previous year, either by direct deposit to the bank accounts listed on your previous tax forms or by paper check in the mail. You will not be eligible for this payment if your income is above $99,000 (individual or married filing separately), $136,500 (head of household), or $198,000 (married filing jointly), you are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, you do not have a valid social security number, you are a nonresident alien, or you filed Form 1040-NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-PR, or 1040-SS for 2019.

Clients That Qualify: Eligible Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients, retirees, disability and/or veteran’s benefits receivers, railroad retirees, and other taxpayers who do not normally make enough money to file a tax return under normal circumstances or who are otherwise not required to file a return, will not be required to file a return or provide further information to receive this payment – it will be automatically deposited to them. This includes those with no income or whose only source of income is from benefits programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

If you are still uncertain about whether or not to file a tax return to receive this payment, visit https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/do-i-need-to-file-a-tax-return for an online assessment.

What You Need To Do To Get These Payments: These are automatic payments generated using one’s 2019 tax return, if you’ve filed it. If you have not filed for 2019, the IRS will reference your 2018 tax return. If you still need to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, you can file using e-File or IRS Free File (for those with an adjusted gross income of $69,000 or less). The IRS is also allowing people to file their 2019 tax return to receive deposit information for these payments, even if you do not need to file a tax return or only made non-taxable income, but the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool is the quickest way for the IRS to currently process payments. For security reasons, the IRS will mail a letter to your last known address about this payment within 15 days after the payment has been paid out to you. This letter will describe how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive payment. If you think this letter is a scam letter, contact the IRS directly or visit IRS.gov for more information.

Per the IRS: “The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.”

Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool: The IRS has come up with a web tool to help people who have not had to file taxes for the last two years (2018/2019), including those with too little income to file, SSI recipients, and veterans beneficiaries. Social Security, SSDI, and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries with qualifying dependents will automatically receive $1,200 Economic Impact Payments but can use this tool to claim the extra $500/child for any children under 17 years old. Students and others who are claimed as dependents will not be able to use this tool, or to claim any payments.

Although non-filers will still be receiving Economic Impact Payments automatically, this tool will help calculate their payment amount and will allow the IRS to give them direct deposits and payments sooner. You can find this tool here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here This tool can only be found at IRS.gov – do NOT use any tools not hosted by the IRS.

Get My Payment tool: The IRS has a second web tool to help you check on your payment status, including when the payment is scheduled to be deposited/mailed to you. You can find this tool here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. You may need both your filed 2019 and 2018 tax returns to use this tool. If you are married filing jointly, either spouse can check on this payment using their personal information. This tool may not work properly if you do not normally file your tax return, or just filed your 2019 return and it is being processed; the tool uses personal information verification pulled from your SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 tax forms to check on your taxes in the IRS database. If you cannot provide this information accurately or do not normally file that paperwork, the tool may not work for you to generate payment amounts and processing timelines.

Why Am I Getting “Payment Status Not Available” On The “Get My Payment” Tool?: This tool is brand new and is lacking a lot of data, including recently filed 2019 tax returns. The IRS is working on expanding the data they have available to access through this tool. You may also be receiving this message because you don’t usually file a tax return and used the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool, but the IRS has not processed that entry yet. Those who receive VA benefits or submitted SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 forms have also not had their data entered in to this tool yet and may get a false error message. Some people who are not eligible for these payments are also getting this error message.

Should I Use “Get My Payment” Tool Or “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” Tool?: More information on that can be found at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/how-to-use-the-tools-on-irsgov-to-get-your-economic-impact-payment

How Can I Calculate my EIP?: The IRS has provided a PDF guide for how much you can expect from the payment, linked here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/how_do_I_calculate_my_eip.pdf

How Case Managers Can Help: Case mangers are crucial to this process by making sure all contact information, addresses, benefits, and identification for clients is up-to-date and complete in their case file, and across other agencies like DSHS and Social Security as needed. Because some of these state and national offices are currently closed due to COVID19, case managers should be proactive in confirming that clients are receiving these services properly and have a track record they can point to if their clients do not receive the payment or are denied the payment for any reason.

Case managers can also encourage clients to check their mail often and report back if they receive either the payment or payment notification letter. Clients should be encouraged to ask about their own benefits and confirm they are receiving the services and payments they need often.

Timelines, Deadlines, etc: The deadline to apply is November 21, 2020

To learn more about these payments in general, visit irs.gov/coronavirus.

Solidarity Fund – Response to the COVID-19 pandemic

What is the Solidarity Fund?

The Coalition created the Solidarity Fund in the Spring of 2020 as a rapid response to the COVID19 pandemic, and the clear and disproportionate threats of this crisis to people experiencing homelessness.  Phase 1 has been completed, and the Coalition is happy to announce that Phase II applications are now being accepted.

With Phase II, the Coalition seeks to provide emergency financial supports to organizations that serve people who are experiencing homelessness in King County.  The Coalition is looking to fill in the system gaps where the current COVID-19 related funding streams do not provide clear or obtainable options.  These funds are not designed to support core operational functions.  Instead, the Coalition is looking to provide micro-aid to help address emergent health and safety related issues caused by the ongoing pandemic conditions. 

The Coalition expects to grant out $48,000 with most grants in the range of $1,000-$5,000.


Donate to our Solidarity Fund:
Select “Solidarity Fund” on our donation page as the gift designation.


Applications are currently being accepted through Thursday, July 15. To apply, complete this google form or request an electronic or hard copy of the form, and submit it along with required supplemental documentation to solidarity@homelessinfo.org

Read the full application process here.

Questions? Please email solidarity@homelessinfo.org

What can funds be used for?
Funds are intended to support programming and direct services, or bolster internal operations to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tell us what you need to do your work.  
We will consider requests to fund tangible goods, supplies, and direct services up to $5,000. Requests over $5,000 will be considered on a case-by-case basis as our funding pool allows.

Our members have first-hand knowledge about homelessness and the strengths and gaps in services and systems. This grounds our work in reality. The Solidarity Fund is intended to respond to that reality and improve life, health, and safety for people in our community NOW.  We will continue to advocate for massive, coordinated, and effective government response and strengthened public policies at the local, state, and federal levels.  

Administration: We will draw a 10% administrative fee from the funding pool to cover costs to the Coalition of administering these grants. 

Applicants must:

  1. Be either 501c3 or fiscally sponsored.
  2. Provide direct services (outreach, shelter, day or hygiene services) or rent-restricted affordable housing to people who are homeless or who were formerly homeless, live in King County, and are living at or below 30% of the area median income.
  3. Have a clear plan and the capacity to spend funds within 90 days.

Applications will be prioritized by:

  1. Coalition member organizations [Membership dues are sliding scale and current ability to pay full dues should not be a barrier to membership. Please see our Membership page here.].
  2. Organizations with budgets of under $1,500,000 (we will consider requests from larger organizations but wish to prioritize smaller entities).
  3. Organizations that serve people who are currently without housing or shelter or people at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 or suffering severe health consequences if they do.
  4. Organizations that focus on addressing the issues and experiences faced by BIPOC community members without housing or shelter.
  5. Proposals that help meet needs not addressed adequately by existing public resources.

Community ideas to support people experiencing homelessness and service providers during COVID19 pandemic

Online “marketplace” connects donors with people and organizations in need during COVID-19 outbreak

The King County Regional Donations Connector is now available online to link up individuals, businesses, non-profits, and others who have resources with those who need them during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Donations Connector will help make sure services, supplies, and funding reach health care providers, first responders, and social service entities working on the front lines.

The website at kingcounty.gov/emergency/donate serves three major functions:

  1. A system that allows donations and offers of assistance to be used in the response effort.
  2. An online “marketplace” where offering organizations can be matched to those in need.
  3. An easily searchable list of ways the public can get help.

Donating businesses, agencies, and individuals are invited to share what they have to contribute (such as funding, medical supplies, masks, counseling, or other goods and services) and link up with organizations involved in the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Who is the Donations Connector for?

  • Private and public entities with items or services to donate
  • Community and faith-based organizations
  • The general public

What types of donations are requested?

  • Funding
  • Food (both perishable and non-perishable)
  • Medical supplies
  • Sanitary supplies
  • Facility space
  • Services such as counseling (legal, mental health, etc.), labor, janitorial, catering, event planning, and more

Volunteering

People who want to volunteer their time can contact local volunteer groups or register through the United Way of King County at volunteer.uwkc.org/volunteer-response-covid-19. You can also view our Coalition member organizations here who may need volunteers.

March 19, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting Zoom Call – Agenda, Zoom tips, Resources

Thank you to all who joined our meeting – we had over 100 folks participate. Sign up for Coalition emails to make sure you receive updates and notice of upcoming meetings.
Highlights of resources shared on the call are below.

Recording of the Coalition’s March 19, 2020 General Membership Meeting
(video content starts around 1:00 min, enjoy a silent awkward beginning)

Agenda from Thursday, March 19 meeting

  • 9:00 – Introduction to meeting, zoom call tips, welcome from Coalition, Grounding exercise
  • 9:15 – 10:25- COVID-19 for Homeless Service Providers
    • Jody Rauch, Clinical Quality Lead, Health Care for the Homeless Network
    • Marta Lema, Homelessness Response Coordinator, Public Health Seattle-King County Environmental Health Services Division
    • Leo Flor, Director of King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS)
  • 10:25 – 10: 35 – Legislative Session Wrap-Up part 1
  • 10:35 – 10:50 – COVID-19 State policy changes (just a couple)
  • 10:50 – 11:10 – 2020 Legislative Session Debrief
    • Sarah Brady, Policy & Advocacy Manager, Child Care Resources
    • Michele Thomas, Director of Policy & Advocacy, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
  • 11:10 – Census 2020 Update
    • Stay tuned for further communications
    • Partners on the phone:
  • Next Monthly Membership Meeting: Thursday, April 16, 9:00 a.m. via Zoom (Please register for call).

Resources from the meeting we’ll highlight (more to be added after the meeting)

COVID-19 related

Legislative Session Highlights & State advocacy around coronavirus

Census Resources

Zoom 101 tips for our meeting

  1. We will provide the Zoom call info ahead of time via email and on social media, so join us early that morning!
  2. If you’re on a computer, access the call via link we’ll provide. Computer is recommended as it’s easier to engage in the call by seeing the chat, seeing the participants, and having visual ability.
  3. If you’re calling in, dial the provided number, and provide the meeting ID number when prompted. To switch between mute and unmute, press *6 or use the mute ability on your cell phone.
  4. Please provide your name and organization, if applicable, as your display name so we know who has joined us
  5. Please provide your email in the chat to ensure you receive our follow-up email
  6. The chat box is a great way to engage in conversation during the call with the host and other participants – ask questions, share information and resources, and provide feedback
  7. Do you have access to a computer without a microphone or a phone without visuals? You can join via both in order to get the full benefit of the call

2020 Legislative Session Preview Meeting Summary and Resources – 12/19/2019


Thank you to 95 people who filled the room for our December Membership Meeting and Annual Legislative Preview meeting. The first day of the 2020 Washington State Legislative Session is Monday, January 13.

We were joined by State Representative Nicole Macri (LD 43), State Senator Patty Kuderer (LD 48), and Zach Hall, Legislative Assistant to State Representative Lisa Callan (LD 5) who shared priorities for the 2020 session related to housing and homelessness, childcare, public benefits, and more. We also had time for rich conversation after questions from the audience to lawmakers.

After hearing from these state elected officials, four of our statewide advocacy partners shared about their priorities for the upcoming session. Below are handouts, a few of the actions we asked people to take at the meeting, and invite anyone reading this post to do the same. We also have information about contacting our partners and about upcoming lobby days.

We shared our preliminary legislative priorities and invite you to get ready for the 2020 legislative session by signing up for our Action Alerts and attending a Homelessness Advocacy 101 workshop.

Handouts from the meeting:

Take Action Now as you get ready for the 2020 legislative session:

  1. Sign up for Coalition Take Action Alerts to receive timely alerts to support legislative actions related to our priority issues.
  2. Play Advocacy Bingo with us throughout session (see instructions below).
  3. Sign on letter for Working Connections Child Care Homeless Grace Period Extension – sign your organization on or ask someone at your organization to sign on today
  4. Plan to attend a lobby day in Olympia – a few are listed below
  5. Attend a Homelessness Advocacy 101 workshops. A fun way to learn how to be an effective advocate during the legislative session. Sign up here for workshops in Seattle (1/29), Bellevue (2/5), and Kent (2/8).

Statewide Advocacy Partners Information:

How to play Advocacy Bingo:

  1. Print out an Advocacy Bingo card and post it in a place where you’ll see it throughout the legislative session
  2. Cross off bingo squares as you complete the items – the goal is to get 5 in a row! Bonus points for a total blackout.
  3. Email a photo of your bingo card in progress to speakup@homelessinfo.org by 1/15, 2/5, 2/20, or 3/3. We’ll draw for prizes at the following days’ Coalition Membership Meeting or South King County Forum on Homelessness Meeting.
  4. Encourage others to join in the fun!

2019 August 15 General Membership Meeting Wrap-Up

We had a fun and informative general membership meeting on Thursday, August 15th at Southside Commons. State Senator Joe Nguyen from the 34th legislative district spoke about some of the hard fought changes to important public benefits programs. He emphasized that the bills that get passed are the ones that have the most attention and passion behind them, emphasizing the importance of member advocacy. Check out a summary of the 2019 Basic Needs Wins!

TANF and HEN law changes and updates

This was followed by a deep dive into the specifics of these changes led by David Hlebain (Statewide Poverty Action Network), Christine Long-Crossley (Catholic Community Services HEN Program), and Jason Austin (our Coalition’s Membership Organizer). David discussed changes to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF), a crucially important lifeline that provides a modest amount of cash assistance to families with children living below the poverty line. For years TANF has been difficult to access for many of those who need it the most. Some of the frustrating aspects of the program included a stringent “three strikes” policy, resulting in a lifetime sanction or ban for families who struggled with onerous on-going reporting requirements, and a time-limit that could not be extended regardless of circumstances.

Thanks to legislation championed by hard-working legislators in Olympia and advocated for by Coalition members and partners, families who were previously kicked off TANF are likely eligible again:

If a family was kicked off TANF due to:

  • Sanctions that led them to be permanently disqualified, OR
  • For reaching the 60 month-limit, but a family is currently experiencing homelessness

That family is again eligible for TANF due to these law changes! Please share this flyer and information with families you know who might now be eligible again.

In addition to common sense TANF reform, the recently passed state budget includes exciting changes to the Housing and Essential Needs Program (HEN). HEN provides a rental housing voucher and other support services to those deemed too disabled to work and with no income, and acts as the only assistance for many of the most vulnerable in our region.

After years of not adding additional funding to HEN, the state legislature passed a budget that included an additional $15 million in funding above what it has ever allocated for HEN before. Christine highlighted that while this was short of what the Coalition and other housing advocates requested this investment represents a significant shift in Olympia towards more support for rental voucher programs and will bring thousands of vulnerable adults out of the cold. Details of the housing voucher provided through HEN can be found in this sample enrollment letter. Below are a few key points to know about this program:

What does HEN provide?

  • Housing Payment Assistance: HEN issues monthly rent and utility payment checks of varying amounts depending on details of housing unit (see enrollment letter for more information).
  • Transportation Assistance: Clients are issued either an unlimited ORCA metro public transportation card for King County, or a gas card that provides 10 gallons of gasoline weekly
  • Hygiene Supplies: Once per month, clients may receive a bag full of toiletries and cleaning items; which may include toilet paper, laundry detergent, dental hygiene items etc.
  • Employment Assistance: HEN staff includes a dedicated employment specialist, and works closely with FCS-funded employment services to offer help with job search and job training assistance for interested clients.

What does HEN NOT provide?

  • Housing Placement: HEN does not maintain a list of available apartments, and is unable to place clients directly into housing. This is done intentionally; housing search is something clients need to be actively engaged with as a part of the program. Landlords must accept HEN payment, refusal to do so is a violation of our state’s Source of Income Discrimination Law.
  • Household Furnishings: While third party referrals are made when possible, household items such as furniture and cooking utensils are not offered through the program.

An important reminder, HEN eligibility is determined by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Once you have a HEN approval letter from DSHS, please call 206-328-5755 to enroll for services with Catholic Community Services of King County.

This information has been complied by Coalition staff. For more details on program specifics, please visit the HEN CCS website.

While the improvements are significant, we know that these there is still much work to be done. We closed the meeting by emphasizing the importance of sharing compelling client stories as a key element of fighting for additional funding.

Poverty Action is looking for real life accounts of the difficulty of trying to make it on $197/mo. We believe that we have a strong case to make for increasing the size of the Age, Blind and Disabled cash grant program (ABD), and need your help in making that case to the legislature. You can find more info about sharing stories here.

LEGAL ASSISTANCE: If you or someone you are working with is having an legal issue related to these benefits, Solid Ground provides free legal assistance to connect you with the assistance you are entitled to. More information here in English y también en español.

Updates from Membership Organizations

Emergency Safety Planning service from El Centro de la Raza to protect immigrant families

This is a service provided by El Centro de la Raza for undocumented immigrants in the US at risk of being detained or deported by immigration authorities that help them assign a person they trust to take care of their children and make decisions related to their supervision in the case that one or both of their parents are detained or deported.

Through this service, undocumented people are also oriented on how to protect the assets they acquired in the US if they are at risk of being detained or deported for not having defined their legal status in the country.

If interested,you should call El Centro de la Raza at (206) 717-0089 and set an appointment whenever you find most convenient. Their team of bilingual professionals are ready to serve you.

King County HEP A Update:

A Hepatitis A outbreak was declared by the Washington State Department of Health at the end of July based on multiple cases of hepatitis A in four different counties.  King County has had three confirmed cases in persons living homeless. We want to ensure that you keep aware of the situation, and have information, contacts, and resourcesto helpkeep your staff and those you serve healthy and safe. For more information on how to stay safe and healthy please visit this post from King County’s Helathcare for the Homeless Network.

In addition to this helpful info, King County Public Health is also making on-site vaccine clinics available to agencies and programs who serve the homeless. To request a visit follow the link here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TMDPS5T

Upcoming Coalition Opportunities

Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101 Workshop – September 26

It’s back to school season again, and in the spirit of helping every child have a fighting chance at success the Coalition is once again hosting a Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101 workshop. Come learn about what assistance is available to help unhoused children succeed, we will discuss some of key points of the McKinney-Vento Act and how to best take advantage of this assistance. This workshop will be hosted on Thursday, September 26th at South Seattle College Georgetown Campus, 6737 Corson Ave room #C122. Training is free but registration is required. Register today!

Voter Registration & Education Drive for people experiencing homelessness

Help the Coalition register voters this Fall! We work to make sure that people know You Don’t need a House to Vote and will be hosting a voter registration drive in October and November.

Volunteer Orientation with the Coalition is Mandatory prior to volunteering, there are two date options: 

  • Thursday, October 10, 6:00 – 8:00pm at Kent Panther Lake Library, 20500 108th Avenue SE, Kent 98031
  • Monday, October 14, 5:30 – 7:30pm at Columbia City Library, 4721 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, 98118

Volunteers will be trained on the basics of helping people who are experiencing homelessness register to vote, key aspects of filling out the form without a traditional residential address, updates from recent (positive) law changes to increase voting access, the Voting Rights Restoration Act (for people with felony convictions), and more. Sign-up today!

Do you work at a service agency that wants to take part in our Coalition’s community voter registration efforts? We encourage you to attend one of the orientations as well! Email Hillary to let her know if you want to partner.

Lawn Bowling Party & Fundraiser: Saturday, September 14, 5pm – 8pm at Jefferson Park Lawn Bowling Club

Get your tickets now for a wonderful evening ~ a tasty salmon dinner, sunset over Elliott Bay, friendly games, and great conversation with people who care deeply about safety, housing, and justice for people experiencing homelessness. There are lawn bowling lessons for those new to the sport and the possibility of fierce competition once you have mastered your technique. 

Early Bird Tickets $25 | General Admission Tickets $35 starting August 25 (this Sunday)
Tickets available now through Brown Paper Tickets
Suggested donation: $100 – $1,000

Upcoming General Membership Meetings: 

Every 3rd Thursday from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. at Southside Commons, 3518 S Edmunds St, Seattle, WA 98118 in Columbia City
No registration is required and anyone is welcome to attend. 

Thursday, September 19th
Thursday, October 17th
Thursday, November 21st
Thursday, December 12th, Legislative Preview Meeting (note, 2nd week of December)
Thursday, January 16th 2020
Thursday, February 20th
Thursday, March 19th