September 17, 2020 Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

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

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

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

Washington Dental Access Campaign

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

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

Community Nutrition Update 

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

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

Financial Empowerment Series Preview

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

Upcoming Training Dates:

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

 Voting Rights in a Pandemic

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

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

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

Community Resources

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

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

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

Transportation Advocacy

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

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

Census 2020

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

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

 The Census can be completed one of two ways:

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

HUD Emergency Shelter Rule

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

August 20, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

Defund the Navigation Team and City of Seattle Budget Advocacy 

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

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

COVID-19 Toolkit for homeless service providers 

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

Coalition Community Updates 

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

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

 The Census can be completed one of two ways:

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

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

Community Resources Updates

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

Member Updates

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

Helping Homeless Students

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

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

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

July 16, 2020 Coalition Membership Meeting

Recording of July 16, 2020 Coalition Member Meeting

Statewide Eviction Moratorium

  • The temporary statewide moratorium on evictions is set to expire August 1, which if not extended will put thousands in our community at risk of homelessness.Thank you Edmund Witter for explaining the eviction moratorium and sharing tips for service providers with clients involved in the eviction process, you can find a copy of his presentation here. And thank you Michele Thomas for sharing advocacy efforts underway to protect renters.

JumpStart Seattle Advocacy Update

  • Coalition Executive Director Alison Eisinger helped us celebrate the passage of JumpStart Seattle tax legislation and discussed the active conversation around the JumpStart Spending plan (which will be voted on very soon.. This legislation will “raise over $214 million per year in progressive revenue to respond to the immediate COVID crisis and focus on Seattle’s long-term economic revitalization and resiliency by investing in affordable housing and essential city services.”

Seattle Budget Advocacy

  • Alison also talked about the City Council’s current work on the 2020 balancing budget and previewed the fall budget process (click here for a schedule of upcoming meetings). The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness has signed on to the Decriminalize Seattle priorities to defund the SPD by at least 50%, reallocate those funds to community led health and safety systems, and release protesters arrested during this uprising without charges.
    • Defund SPD teach-in recording: Learn more about efforts to defund SPD and reinvest in community-based and led responses to build health and safety.

Voter registration and voting during COVID-19

  • Click here for a blog post with the slides that Hillary shared and information covered about how to help people register online, via paper form, and in person at Vote Centers. Share this with people you work with, and email vote@homelessinfo.org if you plan to help folks register to vote – we truly hope you will!

Financial Empowerment Workshop: Tools for Homeless Service Providers

Thursday, July 30 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m: Click here to register.

Thank you to Donna O’Connor, Stephanie Page and Emily Goodright for previewing this upcoming free training opportunity. This training will be centered around the Your Money Your Goals toolkit, and will include topics such as how to navigate a consumer credit report, guidance on earning income while receiving public assistance, introduction to the idea of cash flow and tips on accessible banking services.

Coalition Community Resource Updates:

2020 Census is continuing now through October 31, those without a traditional home address will be counted through Service Based Enumeration from September 22 to September 24, click here for more information.  When in Doubt, Count. You don’t need to wait until September to help your clients fill out the Census. The form can be completed one of two ways:

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

Pandemic EBT program for families with children who qualify for reduce price school meals can be applied for now through August 31. Check out this recorded training video and associated materials for more information.

Seattle Public Library Restrooms: Thanks to advocacy from Coalition members and allies, Seattle Public Libraries have partially re-opened their restroom facilities for public use.  At five locations (Downtown, Ballard, Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill and University District). Restrooms at these branches are open 10 am to 6 pm every day. Thank you to our members and partners who join us to reinforce the urgent need to open public buildings so that people have access to bathrooms, sinks with soap and running water, and clean drinking water during the pandemic.

City of Seattle Mobile Shower Trailers: Another new hygiene related service is the mobile shower trailer; this is a service provided by the City of Seattle that is currently being staffed by the Millionaire Club. There are two locations to know about:

  • One is a semi-permanent shower installation located by the King Street station at 303 S Jackson St. This is available for use from 10am to 4pm Monday through Friday
  • The second is a mobile trailer that is currently set to serve at two locations: Seattle Center at 305 Harrison St operates Tuesday through Saturday, then this moves to the University Heights Center on Sunday and Monday, also open between 10am to 4pm.
  • Neither of these have a formal intake process, they are open and available to anyone who needs them. Sign-up for showers begins at 8am in the morning, and clients can spend as long as 45 minutes in the facility. They do not offer on-site laundry services. These locations may change going forward, click here to check current details of operation.

King County Access Paratransit: King County Metro Transit has announced that its Access Paratransit service is now a temporary option for riders with disabilities who can no longer reach their essential destinations through traditional service, even for riders who are not currently certified for Access

Coalition Member Updates

Summertime Childcare Assistance: Alex Barbaria with Child Care Resources asked to share an update on childcare assistance. Child Care Resources can help families navigate the often confusing childcare systems in King County. Check out this flyer for more details on how to apply (Spanish version here)

Mockingbird Society Annual Summit: Thank you to Bekah Manikowski and Orion Olson from The Mockingbird Society for previewing their upcoming Youth Leadership Summit and the housing related priorities that will be discussed this year.

Healthcare for the Homeless Network: Thank you to Michael Hall-Young for sharing some updated guidance on face coverings and social distancing. You can find a wealth of resources for homeless service providers by checking out the Healthcare for the Homeless website. If you have any thoughts/feedback on the materials, email Michael.

Farewell and Thank You to Hillary: Our meeting ended on a bittersweet note as we bid farewell to longtime Coalition staff member Hillary Coleman. After six years of building community and advocating for justice, Hillary is moving on to graduate school at UW Evans School of Public Policy and Governance to purse a Master of Public Administration. We invite you to add a note of appreciation to this virtual Kudoboard as a way of saying thank you for all the incredible work she has given our community.

We hope to see you on Thursday August 20 at 9 a.m. for our August membership meeting, 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.

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.

Employment Assistance Programs: Information and Coalition Update from January 16 Zoom Call

Although The Coalition cancelled our January Membership Meeting in recognition of the extra strain severe weather conditions put on people experiencing homelessness and on service providers, and the real difficulties of winter travel in our large county, we did host a ZOOM call to update members on the 2020 Legislative Session priorities, click HERE to visit our State Legislative Advocacy page see many ways you can take action! We had a great panel of staff from Employment Services Programs who were going to present at the meeting, and we will be rescheduling these presenters for a future Coalition meeting. In the meantime, we wanted to share programmatic and contact information for these employment and job readiness training programs so that your programs and clients can access these important resources. Please contact the programs below directly if you or your clients have any questions about their services.

Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

  • The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) serves people with disabilities between the ages of 16 to 80, and helps with gaining, maintaining and advancing in employment.
  • Eligible clients must have a permanent disability (intellectual, mental and/or physical in nature) and barriers to employment. In order to refer, client must make contact themselves for intake unless they need assistance to call, and in that case, a case manager can set up the appointment if they let the front desk staff know the customer cannot make the initial contact.
  • To request an intake, call 253-372-5900, or reach out to your local Work Source office for a referral. Please contact Allesandria Goard for more in-depth information on the services and nuances of the DVR program.

Pioneer Human Services  

  • Roadmap to Success is a job-readiness program for formerly justice involved individuals who are seeking full time employment
  • To be eligible for the Roadmap to Success program, clients must have a criminal background and they must want to go to work and be able to do so. Roadmap to Success is a 3-week class where students go through cognitive behavioral training, targeted resume and cover letter creation, job development and vocational assessments, hard and soft skills of interviewing, and support in connecting to employment.
  • You can submit your application here. For more information contact Rudy or reach out to pioneertraining@p-h-s.com  

Multi-Service Center

  • Career Ready is a 10-week aerospace manufacturing training for adults 18 and older who are receiving SNAP food benefits. This ensures tuition paid in full through the BFET program
  • Anyone living in the South King County area, who is low income and seeking a new industry to enter is encouraged to apply.
  • Those interested should contact Julie Sanchez, 206-549-6236 or email at Julies@mschelps.org   

Foundational Community Supports Supported Employment

  • Foundational Community Supports (FCS) is a program offering benefits for supportive housing and supported employment for Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries with complex needs. Amerigroup Washington, Inc. will work with housing and employment providers to help clients find and maintain jobs; acquire stable, independent housing; and gain the necessary skills to be successful.
  • The Supported Employment program provides one-to-one person centered supports to find and maintain paid employment. The FCS SE program can help in looking for the right job, getting ready for the interview, and improve job success by teaching helpful routines and working with their employer to ensure they get the aids and supports they need to be successful
  • To see if you client is eligible for services through Foundational Community Supports, you can submit a FCS Supported Employment Assessment Form (English). Spanish language form here.
  • All referrals should be submitted directly through Amerigroup. To apply, contact Amerigroup at FCSTPA@Amerigroup.com, call 1-844-451-2828 (TTY 711) or fax 1-844-470-8859. Amerigroup can be reached Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM at the phone number provided.
  • For more information about Supported Employment services please email Krystal Baumann or call 360-522-2363 

WELD Works

  • WELD Works serves as a transitional labor program to connect people with employment opportunities in construction, clean-up, and general labor services.
  • Serving King and Snohomish Counties, the program’s model facilitates transitions from temporary to permanent employment as a part of successful reentry. WELD Works is a division of Weld Seattle, whose mission is to equip system impacted individuals with housing, employment and resources conducive to recovery and successful reintegration. To apply:
  • Those interested in applying are encouraged to fill out this referral form, or contact Jay Pershing at (206) 972-8033 or email works@weldseattle.org

TRAC Associates Career Development Program  

  • TRAC Associates provides comprehensive vocational assistance services to job seekers regardless of employment background.
  • Their team of employment navigators and mental health councilors have locations across King County to connect applicants to a variety of job skills training programs and have relationships with employers across a variety of industries.
  • For more information contact Carrie Lewis at 206-466-7432

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 December 10 Public Benefits 101 Workshop

The Coalition hosted a Public Benefits 101 Workshop on Tuesday, December 10 as part of our on-going series of Case Manager Trainings. Over 90 direct service providers joined us for a three-hour training covering the basics of public assistance programs offered by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Thank you to presenters Sara Robbins and Katie Scott from the Solid Ground Legal Benefits Assistance Program who led the training and shared their knowledge and passion with the room. A brief summary of the programs covered below.

Click here for slides from 12/10/2019 Presentation

The workshop began with an overview of cash programs administered by the state. The Aged, Blind and Disabled program (ABD) and Housing and Essential Needs Program (HEN) are the primary cash benefits available for single adults without children. Formerly called Disability Lifeline, ABD provides $197/month to adults with a disability who do not receive significant income from work or another public benefit program. HEN has similar eligibility requirements but does not result in a direct cash payment. Details differ by region, but the primary benefits consist of a rental payment voucher and case management services. Visit Washington Connection to see if you or your client may be eligible to apply for cash assistance.

For families, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) is the primary cash assistance program available. TANF has a work requirement called WorkFirst that mandates TANF recipients be looking for work or be enrolled in some sort of job training program. Clients are required to sign off on an Individual Responsible Plan (IRP), failure to meet this requirement can result in a reduced or terminated award. The presenters stressed to the room that case managers should request copies of their clients IRPs and review them closely, noting they have found success in reinstating benefits when they can point to unreasonable or inconsistent items in the plans. Katie also shared that WorkFirst can provide additional financial resources to those on TANF looking for employment help, but that this can be difficult to access. There is a support services directory that outlines what this entails, she encouraged the room to tell clients to print out a copy to bring with them when requesting assistance.

The most widely used DSHS program is EBT food benefits, as confirmed by the 67 attendees who completed our pre-workshop survey. This benefit scales based on income; an average food stamp award offers around $125/month. Check out this benefit calculator to see how much you or your client may be able to claim in food benefits. The presenters stressed that there is no minimum age requirement for food assistance, meaning that minor children not living with their parents can apply and receive benefits. Presenters encouraged case managers working with youth denied food assistance to refer cases to their program.

Working Connections Childcare program (WCCC) provides a subsidy for daycare that is paid directly to the provider. Families qualify either through enrollment in Workfirst or based on income, and homeless families who qualify for neither can still receive services through a homeless grace period. The grace period currently lasts four months, partial months count towards the total and childcare providers are hesitant to accept payment due to these restrictions.

Fortunately, there is help for families in need of assistance. We were joined by Alexandria Barbaria and Norma Renteria Lobo from Child Care Resources who shared information on their program that helps families navigate the childcare system. Childcare Resources helps families experiencing homelessness in King and Pierce county apply for WCCC and can assist in finding childcare providers. They have also been active in advocacy efforts around expanding the homeless grace period, an effort they plan to take into the 2020 legislative session starting in January.

DSHS offers an appeal process to those who have had any of the above benefits reduced or terminated. If you or someone you work with has an issue with their benefits and wants to understand their legal options, reach out to the following for more information.

Solid Ground Public Benefits Legal Assistance Program provides legal help and information to single adults and families whose public benefits have been reduced, terminated or denied.  Call 206-694-6792 or email benefitslegalhelp@solid-ground.org

The Northwest Justice Project provides low cost assistance to those involved with non-criminal legal problems including public benefit disputes. For a free screening call 2-1-1 or fill out an online referral form at nwjustice.org/apply-online

Washington Law Help: Online directory of civil legal information.

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.