Helping Homeless Students: McKinney Vento 101 Info & Resource Session for Homeless Service Providers

Thank you to everyone who attended our Helping Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento 101 Information and Resource Session on Thursday September 3. A huge thank you to Kayla Blau, Mehret Tekle-Awarun, Samie Iverson, Oliver Alexander-Adams, Karen Pillar, Sharonne Navas and Jessyca Murphy for sharing their knowledge and passion with us. We appreciate the lively conversation had in the chat box and out loud during the workshop.

You can review some of the tools and resources discussed at the information session below. If you have questions or wish to provide additional materials to this collection, please email your questions to Jason.

Read about Education Rights for Homeless and Unstably Housed Students, which includes our updated 2020-2021 King County McKinney Vento Liaison list.


Building Changes

Click here to view Building Changes’ PowerPoint presentation.
  • Mehret Tekle-Awarun and Samie Iverson shared information about Schoolhouse Washington, a project of Building Changes. In partnership with the Raikes Foundation, they have created the Washington State Student and Youth Homelessness COVID-19 Response Fund to augment existing public dollars that will be used to support students, youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Building Changes will distribute funds to help organizations, schools, and local tribes meet needs that may otherwise be difficult to fulfill or sustain without additional assistance. 
  • Student Needs Survey: To identify homeless students most immediate needs, Schoolhouse Washington also surveyed McKinney-Vento liaisons across the state who work directly with highly mobile students and their families. In return, they received responses from liaisons in 74 school districts across 32 counties who collectively serve nearly 17,000 students experiencing homelessness in Washington State. Click here to review the findings of their study.
  • The top five needs identified by survey respondents were: food, mobile hotspots/internet access, devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, computers, phones), hygiene supplies, and rental assistance. Narrative responses shed light on what school districts are doing to try to meet basic needs, increase educational access, and stay connected with students and their families. Some promising practices have emerged, such as the formation of new and creative community partnerships. However, just as illuminating are issues and student populations that did not show up in survey responses, such as equity, English language learners, students living with disabilities, and survivors of domestic violence.
  • Read the summary of their findings here.

TeamChild

  • Their mission is to uphold the rights of youth involved, or at risk of being involved, in the juvenile justice system to help them secure the education, healthcare, housing and other supports they need to achieve positive outcomes in their life. If you would like to request  assistance, please complete this referral form or call toll free (877) 295-2714
  • Karen Pillar, staff attorney with TeamChild helped us review legal rights afforded to homeless school age children, including questions related to attendance and tips for navigating the school district conflict resolution process. They have produced an Education in the Wake of COVID-19 Know Your Rights Manual for more information on this topic.

Equity In Education Coalition

  • The Equity in Education Coalition (EEC) is a statewide civil rights organization focused on revolutionizing education so that a child’s race and zip code aren’t the predicating factors in defining their success. They envision a future where the opportunity gap is eliminated in Washington State – a future where every child of color in Washington achieves success from birth through their careers. To achieve this vision, EEC continues to build a movement of power within communities of color to advocate for an education system that promotes equity. Click here to learn more about their work.
  • EEC is hosting a mask fundraiser to support their work to undo institutionalized racism in the education system, click here to learn more.
  • Sharrone Navas shared information about the Washington’s Address Confidentiality Program (ACP),  a records protection and mail forwarding service. Passed by legislature in 1991, ACP is used as part of an overall safety plan to prevent perpetrators from locating participants throughout public records such as driver licenses, voter registries and marriage records. Washington’s Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) has helped protect survivors of crime for more than 25 years. The program is available to Washington residents who are targets of stalking, domestic violence, trafficking or sexual assault. In 2011, the ACP expanded to include criminal justice employees who have been threatened or harassed because of their work. Currently, the ACP serves more than 4,500 Washingtonians. Washington’s ACP was the first program of its kind in the nation. Today some 35 other states have established similar programs.

Path with Art

  • 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. Check out some of their free remote offerings here.
  • Path with Art is interested in partnering with family service providers to bringing remote enrichment opportunities to families with children experiencing homelessness in King County. If your program is interested, please complete this survey or email Jessyca Murphy.  

Coalition on Homelessness Updates

  • Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT): A one-time food voucher available to families with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the school they attend. Families with children eligible for free and reduced-price meals may be able to receive as much as $399 per child in this benefit. This benefit does not consider immigration status and is not subject to the Public Charge Rule. Application deadline Friday September 11, for more information please review these training materials.
  • 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. 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. Please take two minutes to fill this survey so we can help ensure your residents and guests get counted.
  • Monthly Meeting Reminder: In addition to hosting workshops for service providers, The Coalition on Homelessness also hosts monthly membership meetings on the third Thursday of every month from 9am to 11am via Zoom. These meetings are a space to learn about topics relevant to staff working directly with clients, residents, tenants, and guests experiencing homelessness, discuss current homeless services and housing issues, speak up and take part in advocacy, and network with colleagues and allies from around King County. Our next meeting is on Thursday, September 17 at 9am, click here to register.

Pandemic EBT Benefits – Updated August 11 2020

Recorded on July 1, 2020 at the South King County Forum on Homelessness

Click here for a copy of the PowerPoint used in the above presentation

8/11/2020 Update: Thanks to advocacy efforts across the state, the USDA has approved DSHS to extend the application deadline to Friday, September 11, 2020. Approved EBT cards must be sent no later than September 30, encourage those you work with to apply today.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT) is a one-time award available to families with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the school they attend. Families with children eligible for free and reduced price meals may be able to receive as much as $399 per child in this benefit. This benefit does not consider immigration status and is not subject to the Public Charge Rule. This means that P-EBT is one of the few benefits available to undocumented communities excluded from much of the COVID relief funds so far. Click here to review the program in more detail.

With schools closed for the summer and deadlines fast approaching, we are concerned that struggling families may miss out on this crucial support.

To Apply:

ONLINE: Households enrolled in free or reduced-price meals apply for P-EBT through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Eligible household can apply online at www.washingtonconnection.org. Click here for Step-by-Step Instructions on applying online.

OVER THE PHONE: 1-877-501-2233. Due to state budget cuts, DSHS will be taking furlough days every Monday through the end of July. Families can still apply online, however those requiring phone assistance will have to reach out Tuesday through Friday between 8am and 5pm.

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:

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.

2019 April 18 Membership Meeting Summary and CEA conversation materials

Emailing legislators asking them to #BudgetForHousing

Thank you to sixty-three people who joined us on April 18 for our lively meeting, including a walk through the Coordinated Entry For All process and the opportunity to give feedback on what is and isn’t working about Interim Dynamic Prioritization. Coalition staff were pleased to share news that we are hiring for our new Administrative Coordinator position, and invite people to participate in Project Cool (for information about getting backpacks for students who are experiencing homelessness, email Hillary). We sent Hallie, our Member Services Coordinator, off to her new job in Olympia with hearty thanks and well wishes. And, you got LOUD for Housing by contacting your lawmakers in Olympia asking them to #BudgetForHousing! We know that about 40 people used the email action alert during the meeting, and others made calls – thank you!

Materials/Handouts from meeting:

Coordinated Entry for All (CEA) Deep Dive

Joanna Bomba-Grebb from Coordinated Entry For All prepared a chart of how the CEA process, from assessment to housing, currently works. Thanks to staff from member agencies, including Solid Ground and DESC, for attending the meeting to share their perspectives about how each piece of the process actually works day to day on the ground. Our discussion on the process and continuous improvement was still continuing when the meeting ended at 11, so we decided that we will set aside some time at our Thursday, June 20 Membership meeting (9 am -11 am at Southside Commons in Columbia City) to continue the dialogue and allow more time for questions and suggestions, as well as to hear follow up from the critiques articulated by service providers serving single adults and youth and young adults (links to  these letters to All Home Coordinating Board about CEA below). Some highlights from our conversation: 

  • Coalition members asked questions about Diversion, and Joanna clarified that someone is eligible for Diversion if they are literally homeless (staying in a shelter, outside place not meant for human habitation) or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence without a safe housing option, or a youth with two weeks or less before they need to leave their current residence.
  • People who are currently housed but at risk for losing that housing should access prevention resources. Prevention resources can be accessed by calling 211, and not by going to a Regional Access Point or talking to a housing assessor.
  • Staff at social service organizations who wish to have access to centralized Diversion funds available through Africatown International must take a Diversion training – more information and registration can be found online: http://allhomekc.org/diversion/#training.
  • Questions about Diversion should be directed to Zachary DeWolf at All Home.
  • Questions about Prevention should be directed to Kimberly Dodds at King County.

Questions from the meeting related to CEA:

  • Transitional Housing: Concerns were raised about families leaving Transitional Housing not having anywhere to go and not being eligible for Diversion funds to help with move-in assistance. Joanna answered that if a family enters a Transitional Housing Program and it becomes clear they will not be able to successfully move into market rate housing, the staff should request a mobility transfer to Permanent Supportive Housing if that level of support is appropriate – more information about mobility transfers is available here. If you have questions about mobility transfers, email CEA.
    • Note: Discussion at our meeting highlighted the fact that many families in Transitional Housing Programs have nowhere to transition to due to the lack of affordable housing, but are not necessarily in need of permanent supportive housing. This discussion highlighted the possibility that it is necessary for move-in or diversion-like funds to be available for families leaving Transitional Housing.
  • Safe Havens were brought up as a possible housing resources for some individuals. Safe Havens in our Continuum of Care are Harbor House with Community Psychiatric Center and Kerner Scott with DESC.

CEA Updates: Joanna let us know that these developments are currently in development at CEA and will be in use soon:

  • An Acuity Review Team (ART) will soon be convening to look at assessments that have been flagged as inaccurate. Individualized Resource Tools will be in use beginning this summer.
    • Description from Joanna: It is still being stood up and is being comprised of Behavioral and Medical health professionals helping to review the vulnerability of households that are flagged as not having their vulnerability reflected accurately through the Housing Triage Tools completed. That group will be looking at all other information available. More information on that function will be added to the CEA website as it is established and available!
  • Individualized Resource Tools are being developed.
    • Explanation from Joanna: The best place to get a sense for what is being developed with the CE Access and Engagement workgroup is slide 24 of these “Dynamic Prioritization” slides from HUD. We are using an Equity Impact Review model process (see example here) to build, test and launch the Individualized Resource Tool with an eye to ongoing learning/continuous improvement. More information on that function will be added to the CEA website as it is established and available!

Feedback from Coalition members about CEA:

  • The name Coordinated Entry For All implies this is something everyone should access, but since  now most people are being served through Diversion it is misleading.
    • Note from Joanna: Diversion is being stood up system-wide across our community and is very much part of the overall coordinated entry system that exists and is expanding. The launch of the Individualized Resource Tool will help to connect the system components. Again, see the Dynamic Prioritization presentation from HUD.
  • Since Interim Dynamic Prioritization, it has been challenging for Rapid Re-Housing programs to receive referrals. This seems to involve the following elements:
    • Because there is no longer banding, and because Interim Dynamic Prioritization is working to identify the most vulnerable families in our community, CEA is now referring very vulnerable families to all housing options and not just Permanent Supportive Housing. Staff may have difficulty following up with families who are highly vulnerable, and/or families may determine that alternatives such as Rapid Rehousing are not good options for them. Who is assessing the implications of this approach? There also may be difficulty in contacting families that are this vulnerable because they do not have working phones or have difficulty making appointments.
    • This continues to be elevated to funders of RRH as RRH resources in the continuum have been difficult to refer to through the Case Conferencing method.
  • Concern that some community-based assessors are not experienced enough at working with high-needs or special populations. There is a need for more assessors to be based at community organizations, so they  know the clients they are working with, or for outside assessors to be highly trained social workers who have experience working with this population.
  • One experienced staff member at a family service provider remarked that although she is very familiar with CEA, and tracks the multiple changes, it was clear how many people at this meeting were hearing information for the first time. She suggested that CEA provide monthly two-hour orientations on CEA for new staff as well as to provide updates on ongoing developments.
  • Multiple people voiced concerns that the VI-SDPDAT tool does not accurately reflect client vulnerability and creates racial disparities. This eventually lead to Interim Dynamic Prioritization, which has helped to address this issue, but concerns remain, since VI-SPDAT is still a large part of the scoring. Youth service providers and adult service providers each wrote letters to the All Home Coordinating Board requesting specific actions to address this important structural problem. You can read the letters here:

Legislative Session Updates shared at 4/18 meeting

Here’s a summary of some of our top priorities that have passed or need attention! As of 4/25 we still need people to speak up and take action with this link: http://bit.ly/budgetforhousing

  • HB 1406/Robinson – allows local communities to retain a portion of the state’s sales tax to invest directly into affordable homes (this is not a new tax, but allowing local jurisdictions to keep some) – This bill/priority is alive, but needs our support! It needs to be funded in the Senate budget.
  • SB 5600/Kuderer (companion to HB 1453/Macri) – reforms evictions & gives tenants more time to pay late rent (from current 3 days to 14 days) – Passed both the House & the Senate! Needs concurrence (back in the Senate to make sure that they agree with amendments the House made), then to the Governor’s office. 
    • Update 4/25 – this has been concurred and will soon be to the Governor’s office!
  • HB 1440/Robinson – Requires 60 day notice of rent increase (currently 30), and no increase of rent during a lease – Passed both the House & Senate and will be signed by the Governor next Tuesday! 
  • HB 1603/Senn – reverses harsh sanctions and time limit policies on TANF. Most notably, it eliminated DSHS’s ability to permanently disqualify families from TANF for repeated noncompliance sanctions, and adds a new time limit extension for homeless families (including those in transitional and supportive housing). 
    • Action: Use this link to thank lawmakers for their efforts in supporting families on TANF
  • Voting bills:
    • SB 5207/Dhingra – requires DOC to notify anybody being released of their right to restore their vote! Signed into law by the Governor and goes into effect 7/28/2019. We’ll share more updates at our May meeting and Voter Registration trainings. 
    • SB 5063/Nguyen – pre-paid postage for all election ballots. Passed in the House & Senate, will soon go to the Governor. 
    • SB 5079/McCoy – Native American Voting Rights Action. Signed into law by the Governor!
  • Budget Items: 
    • Housing Trust Fund – funded at $175M in Senate, just $150M in House. 
    • HEN – funded at $15M in Senate, just $12.7M in House. 
    • $69 million needed to fund HB 1406
    • Action: Email your lawmakers asking them to use the Senate allocations and maximize funding for affordable housing and HEN, as well as support progressive revenue. 

Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy Renewal and Expansion: Advocacy Needed!

For over a decade, the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy (formerly known as the Vets and Human Services Levy) has funded critical healthcare, supports, and housing for our neighbors who need them most, along with domestic violence, public health, and other services.

Executive Constantine recently transmitted a strong proposal to King County Council, expanding the levy to be 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Now we need to urge King County Council members to BUILD ON and INCREASE that proposal, and place it on the November 7, 2017 ballot. People like YOU can help make this happen!

Take Liz Werley-Prieto as an example. Liz is the Project Manager of shelter programs at DESC who spoke at the conference on June 1st. Liz eloquently addressed how the importance of funding the levy is born out through the interactions between service providers and those they serve. Read Liz’s testimony then take action using this link and information below

Read Liz’s testimony here from May 31, 2017 at King County Council:

My name is Liz and I work as the Project Manager of DESC’s shelter program, located right across the street. Since January first, the shelter program registered more than 800 homeless clients seeking shelter who had not interacted with DESC’s services before. Almost without exception, the primary need expressed by these individuals was a place to live, and as service providers we have had to set the expectation again and again that getting a home will almost certainly be a long and difficult process, or that it might not happen at all.

Being homeless has an impact on the mental and physical health of a population already disproportionately affected by disabling conditions. For those of us working in social services, the urgency of having funding at or above the level proposed by Dow Constantine for the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy is born out every day in our interactions with those we serve.

For a much larger proportion of those who live and work in King County, the need for this levy is evident in other ways. The number of people living outside is ever-growing which contributes to the creation of makeshift encampments and leads individuals to meet their needs in ways that are financially and socially costly.

Research published in 2016 found a 44% reduction in days spent hospitalized among housed individuals as compared to the homeless, and an inpatient hospital stay in Washington State costs about $2,900 per day. The levy at hand attempts to serve veterans, older people, and others, such as the homeless, in a way that anticipates their housing and behavioral health needs rather than paying for emergency interventions when they are inevitably required. It does not increase spending on these supports, it has in fact saved $7 million since 2012 by reducing emergency medical and criminal justice involvement.

The $54 per year for the average homeowner that the levy would cost at the proposed level is money that will lead to a higher quality of life for all residents of King County, and most dramatically for individuals impacted by severe mental illness or complicated medical conditions. I urge you to support the levy at least the twelve cents per thousand dollars rate being proposed.

Now we ask that you TAKE ACTION:

Move-In Cost Assistance for Homeless individuals and families through CCS Hunthausen Fund

Our friends at Catholic Community Services want to make sure that case managers across our region know about this funding opportunity! Click here for a flyer and read on for details.

Catholic Community Services has funding available for King County, Snohomish County, and Pierce County residents for move-in cost assistance through The Hunthausen Fund. This funding is referral-based; Case Managers will complete the application with potential recipients and send it to us for review. If the individual meets all of the outlined requirements and the application is complete, payment will be made directly to the landlord for First Month/Last Month/Deposit (as funding permits). This source is specifically for individuals and families moving from homelessness into public or private permanent housing. Unfortunately, we cannot assist with move-in for transitional housing at this time.

If you’d like to get more information, please review the Program Overview or contact Victoria Anderson (425) 679-0340 or James Tolbert (253) 850-2505 with any additional questions you may have. Please also feel free to tell members of other agencies, as this funding is available to all service providers’ clients, so long as the individual meets the program requirements. Thank you, and we look forward to working with you to get your clients housed!

Work to Ban Source of Income Discrimination!

Right now House Bill (HB) 1633 and Senate Bill (SB) 5407 are making their way through committees in the House & Senate, if passed, these bills will ban source of income discrimination in the state of Washington!

These bills will prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to an applicant and from evicting tenants based on the source of income of an otherwise eligible applicant or tenant. This will protect people who use social security, child support, SSI, Section 8, & HEN to pay their rent. Hear from Section 8 Tenants who faced discrimination based on their source of income in the video below and click here to read more about this victory in Renton.

HB 1633 had public hearing in the House Committee on February 7th and it is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on February 16th!

Your legislators need to hear from you TODAY and every day until we pass these bills! Here’s how to take action:

Click here to use the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance bill tracker to track the progress of bills that affect housing & homelessness!

 

Sound Transit Proposition 1: Mass Transit Now!

The November 8th election is rapidly approaching and we at the Coalition are excited about one measure that you’ll find at the end of your ballot. Sound Transit (A Regional Transit Authority) Proposition No. 1 will be the very last thing on the ballot and we encourage you to vote yes! 

In the past the Coalition has worked on other transit issues, including the ORCA LIFT fare and the Move Seattle transit measure. We care about affordable transit because it allows low-income individuals to access opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t, it helps people survive and increases their ability to thrive in our community. mtn_economic_commuters1200x627

Here are reasons why the Coalition is excited about Proposition 1:

  • Proposition 1 invests more than $20 million in affordable housing, and requires 80% of surplus land to be prioritized for building affordable housing.
  • Mass transit built as part of this proposition will serve more than 36,000 current units of subsidized housing.  As more affordable housing is built along the line, more people will be served by transit.
  • It will increase access to jobs and education for low-income, working and middle class families by providing an affordable transportation option with shorter commute times.
  • It will provide reliable public transportation for seniors and people with disabilities which will allow for more independence.
  • Mass transit will reduce air and carbon pollution, which disproportionately impacts people of color.

mtn_economic_incomebracket1200x627-1

Voting yes on Sound Transit Proposition 1 will increase equity in our community by increasing opportunities for low-income and middle class individuals. This is the most cost effective way to expand transit and help people get where they need to go!

For more information on Proposition 1 visit masstransitnow.com and for updates on the campaign find them on facebook.

If you’re passionate about this issue and would like to volunteer with the Mass Transit Now! campaign you can sign up to doorbell, call voters, go to community events, do data entry or other important work here!

We’re on board, are you? im-on-board

Powerful Comments at City Council

On Friday October 14th the Human Services & Public Health Committee of the Seattle City Council met to discuss Council Bill 118794, an Ordinance to Protect Public Health and Safety and Reduce Harms Experienced by Unsheltered Residents of our City. There was public comment at the end of the meeting which included powerful statements and stories from Coalition members and concerned citizens. Below are clips of a few of these comments.

Julie, a mother from Magnolia had heard misinformation about the ordinance from her neighbors. Upon researching the ordinance she’s in favor of it. She asks that we remember that some of the unsheltered are families with small children, stating that:

 “Some of my children’s classmates are living in encampments. My heart burns with shame when I think about how we have failed them. And it angers me when I hear parents from our school talking about organizing a protest at the local park for fear that their property values will fall. What message are we sending to those children, to their courageous parents who are doing everything they can to get their children to school on time every day.”

Cecelia Linsley, a parent from South Seattle spoke about choosing to raise her children, Chiara and Thea, to be people who pay attention and help those around them, saying that

“It is a privilege to raise children in Seattle if you have the resources. It would be really easy to carry on with our lives ignoring the fact that not everyone around us…is privileged, but that’s not how I want to raise my children….We’re going to keep using our public parks and other public spaces even if people are camping there. We are going to keep noticing and talking to the people around us – even when they don’t look or live like us. And you can trust that we’re going to keep paying attention to how our elected leaders are responding to this crisis.”

Sheryl Manawa is a woman currently experiencing homelessness in Seattle. She shared a powerful poem she wrote on the bus on the way to the Council meeting:

“Where do you want me to go?
What do you want me to do?
You want me to be you.
You want me to be clean,
respectable,
dignified,
housed,
working,
independent.
You want me to be you.

But something happened,
something went wrong,
I was you once,
We all were or mostly.
But something happened.
For some a job was lost
For some drugs
For some an accident
or muscular dystrophy
or schizophrenia, PTSD, or Depression
Or just bad choices.
And things went wrong.

We lost our homes,
our jobs.
But also our friends,
our family,
and finally as we stand
in the street
with our children
staring all around,
we lose our dignity.

Should we now die?
Have you checked the rosters?
The shelters are full.
Have you tried to work with your house on your back?

How do I get to be you?
I’m dirty.
That’s how you see me.
I’m lazy.
Again what you see.

Me,
I have to build a house every night,
find food,
eat it from the can,
make a bed,
and bathe in a gas station.

This is not lazy.
This is an attempt to be you.

Then you close your eyes.
Where do you want me to go?”