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 …

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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!

January 2017 General Membership Meeting: Accountable WA, Legislative Advocacy

Thanks to those who joined us on Thursday, January 17 for our first General membership meeting of 2017! We had an action packed agenda complete with a call in to Olympia to start off our 2017 legislative advocacy. We were joined by community members from Catholic Community Services & Catholic Housing Services, Crisis Clinic, Friends of Youth, Housing Development Consortium, Jewish Family Services, Low Income Housing Institute, Plymouth Housing Group, REACH, Real Change, Recovery Cafe, All Home, Youth Care, and more! We heard a great presentation, called in to Olympia about legislative priorities, and signed famous Coalition Advocacy Postcards. Please read on for a summary of our meeting & important actions YOU can take before our next General Membership Meeting on Thursday, February 16th. Accountable WA, Kelli Smith, WA Budget & Policy Center As we know, Washington State had one of the most inequitable tax structures in the country, we do not have an income tax and therefore rely on sales tax and property tax to fund vital programs our communities need and to raise revenue. This structure causes people with lower incomes to pay disproportionately more of their income to taxes than people in the highest income bracket. The WA Budget and Policy Center, working with many organizations, has developed a package of legislation that would fix some of our tax problems, and make it so that people who are earning the least are not contributing the most in taxes (currently people who are in the lowest 20% income group contribute 16.8% of their income as WA state and local taxes, compared to those in the top 1% who contribute just 2.4% of their income to WA state and local taxes). There are two main goals of Accountable WA, we encourage you to learn more at the links below and click …

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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 …

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Accessing Coordinated Entry for All at King County 2-1-1

At last week’s Coalition on Homelessness General Membership Meeting, Coalition members were joined by Danielle Winslow from All Home who discussed with us the Coordinated Entry for All (CEA) program, which is run by King County. The goal of CEA is to connect individuals experiencing homelessness to housing in the most efficient way. It does this by using a standardized assessment tool to matches the right level of services and housing resources to the individuals seeking these resources. To learn more about the basics of the program and where Regional Access Points are located, visit www.kingcounty.gov/cea. To schedule an appointment for a CEA assessment, people need to call King County 2-1-1 to set up an appointment for an assessment. 2-1-1 is currently experiencing high volumes of calls and appointments are filling fast. Alex Williams with King County 2-1-1 sent us some tips, information, and realistic expectations that people should have when calling 2-1-1 to access CEA. CEA Access and Information at King County 2-1-1 as of September, 2016  General Information on 2-1-1 King County 2-1-1 is open to receive calls Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. CEA assessment appointments are made on Wednesday mornings. Dialing 2-1-1 on a cell phone will connect you to the 2-1-1 that serves the area where your phone is based. You can also call King County 2-1-1 directly by dialing (206) 461-3200 or toll-free at (800) 621-4636. If your cell phone connects you to another 2-1-1 contact center in Washington state, they can transfer your call to King County 2-1-1 if you are calling during our hours of operation. Specialists at King County 2-1-1 can assist callers in English and Spanish. To use an interpreter for other languages, push ‘5’ when prompted after calling 2-1-1. This option will connect you to a Specialist who speaks …

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Recap: Families with Children Meeting – KidsPlus Training and Coordinated Entry for All – June 22, 2016

Big thanks to all who were able to join us for last month’s Families with Children committee meeting. As always, it was great to see a room full of familiar and new faces! We were joined by Mary Dunbar from Kids Plus (Public Health – Seattle & King County), who offered a training on working with guests to address their mental health needs. Danielle Winslow (All Home) provided timely Coordinated Entry for All updates with the group. Highlights and resources from these two folks are below: A list of mental health services available for children can be found here. The YMCA also operates the Children’s Crisis Outreach Response System (CCORS), which offers urgent crisis outreach as well as short-term stabilization resources to children and youth in King County, as well as their families. King County Mental Health’s wraparound services offer additional supports to children to help stabilize them in the community. More information and application processes for this program can be found on the King County website. Adults and folks of all ages can access mental health services at the locations listed on this document. The Crisis Clinic is an excellent resource for folks to call if in need of immediate crisis help, and they also provide information about suicide warning signs and crisis intervention strategies. King County Crisis and Commitment Services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide initial outreach services to folks not already accessing outpatient care in King County as well as evaluation of people with mental disorders for possible involuntary detention in psychiatric facilities according to the mental illness law in the State of Washington. Throughout King County and the state of Washington, low-cost and free clinics are available for folks to access mental and physical healthcare needs. Mary suggests looking into Consejo, Cornerstone, and Project Access Northwest …

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Transit Riders Union Human Services Bus Ticket Campaign

The Transit Riders Union (TRU) is organizing to ensure that everyone in our community can access transit options, especially with the recent expansion of the Light Rail and subsequent changes to some bus service. As a reminder, the ORCA LIFT low-income fare is now available for anyone in King, Snohomish, or Pierce county who makes less than 200% of the federal poverty limit ($23,760 for a household of 1, $40,320 for a household of 3). Visit www.orcalift.com for more information! The following information was shared at our April 21 General Membership meeting, and prepared as a guest blog post by Katie Wilson, General Secretary of TRU. PDF version here. Human Services Bus Ticket Campaign progress report & call to action April 25, 2016 Progress! The problem: Toward the end of last year TRU started realizing that the expansion of Link Light Rail and the Metro bus service restructure would raise barriers for people who use bus tickets, since the tickets and paper transfers are not accepted as proof of payment on light rail. The pressure: After a letter and meetings with councilmembers produced inconclusive results, we started a petition and announced a public action for April 16th. The KC Exec’s office quickly got in touch to tell us they were working on a solution. The solution: This “combo-ticket” will be available starting mid-June, at a cost $11 for a booklet of 10. (It is priced at 20% of the value of the bus tickets, with no extra cost for the light rail pass.) It will also be possible to swap out tickets already purchased. Until then, King County Metro has said that if organizations purchase Sound Transit Link day passes at $1 each, they will throw in twice as many bus tickets for free (Contact: Brandon Banks, brandon.banks@kingcounty.gov, 206-477-6664.) More in the works… Raising the cap: Since we’ve heard from …

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