Annual Membership Meeting – May 18th, 2023

Welcome long-time and new members to our Annual Membership Meeting!

As a Coalition of 50+ organizations of compassionate care providers, adept administrators, and fierce advocates, we know that membership means PROGRESS via collective action!

In the past year, through our collective actions, we have sent over 9,500 messages to our elected officials at the city, county, and state. Together we took action to oppose anti-homelessness ordinances, fight for inflation adjustments in the City of Seattle and King County 2023-24 biennium budgets, improve ABD, fully fund the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program, and to advocate for an increased rate for the 2023 Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services levy.

This annual meeting is a space for celebration of our members! We also shared:

  • Introductions of our new and returning Board of Director candidates
  • A hearty and reflection on the 2023 WA legislative session from champions Rep. Emily Alvarado, Rep. Nicole Macri, and Senator Rebecca Saldaña

See our full meeting on YouTube!

Coalition Announcements

  • The Coalition is providing more member engagement spaces than ever before! Between General Membership Meetings, Senior Leader Meetings, Public Benefits are Key! Trainings, Service Provider Shop Talks, and Essential Work, Essential Worker meetings, we have reached nearly 1,000 people just in 2023!

Make sure to opt in to emails to keep up with new chances to learn, advocate, and connect!

  • The Coalition is hiring for two positions! – Community Policy Manager and Communications & Development Lead. These roles will help to keep us funded, report our work to our communities, and advocate via legislation and litigation. Submit your application by Monday, May 29th!
  • Sara Robbins, our skilled and big-hearted Policy Manager, former Board Director, and long-time volunteer, is leaving her role at the end of June. Sara has not only provided our community with legislative victories and guidance on complicated public benefits and systems changes, but has been a pleasure to work with and will be missed. Thank you for your service, Sara!
  • Marc Dones, CEO of King County Regional Homelessness Authority, is stepping down after two years. This decision impacts all of us who work to serve our community members experiencing homelessness. Marc has consistently brought a spirit of urgency, action, and equity in programming and the funding of the system. . While some of our community has voiced challenges to KCRHA’s processes and contract timelines, we note their role is a hard one for anyone to tackle. We recognize the turmoil this transition will cause our members, but encourage us to work together, in the spirit of collective action, so that we can together support the tens of thousands of people experiencing homelessness in King County to achieve their basic goals.
  • The Coalition is hosting an IN-PERSON Voting Rights and Registration Volunteer/Staff Training on June 7th! Informing all community members of their voting rights is more important than ever, not only as a means of equitable civic engagement, but to pass meaningful local funding, such as the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy! Help us spread the word by joining our Training – register at this link!
  • Join our June General Membership Meeting – we will feature Seattle Public Library and King County Library System to share what services they have focused on people experiencing homelessness and we’ll talk in more depth about the VSHSL – register at this link!

The Magic of Membership

Members are the heart of our work! The Coalition has a powerful voice due to its 50+ organizational members – our members share information, advocate at many levels, and despite some setbacks we ultimately make change. Check out Sara Robbin’s testimony below for why membership at the Coalition matters to her on YouTube.

Do you want to inform the Coalition’s work by sharing feedback? Contact Jody at jody[at]homelessinfo[dot]org or tim[at]homelessinfo[dot]org.

Meet our New and Returning Board Members

Welcome new Board of Director members Megan Stanley, Sherry Wu, Robin Koskey, and returning Board Members Derrick Belgarde and Jenn Romo!

Check out our recording on YouTube to hear more about all of our candidates.

2023 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

We were fortunate to be joined by Rep. Emily Alvarado, Rep. Nicole Macri, and Senator Rebecca Saldaña, who reflected on their 2023 policy and budget priorities, victories, and opportunities for 2024 and beyond!

We had a Major Win with House Bill 1260!

Our community advocates and legislative champions pushed hard to reform the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) benefit to provide increased benefits for low-income, disabled Washingtonians. However, advocates at DSHS helped to make this reform a reality!

Starting in 2025, House Bill 1260 will eliminate the requirement that ABD beneficiaries repay their ABD benefits when approved for Social Security Disability benefits. DSHS requested this legislative reform, taking responsibility for an effective program that still has room for improvement. This is not a cheap solution, as it has a fiscal note of about $50 million for the biennium. However, we at the Coalition strongly believe we should not fund our state on the backs of very low-income, disabled people. Furthermore, we applaud the fact that that money will go back into the pockets of those with the lowest incomes in Washington.

THANK YOU to Babs Robert, Suzy Young, and Erik Peterson from DSHS, and to everyone in our community who testified, made phone calls, and sent emails in support of this bill!

Rep. Alvarado, Rep. Macri, and Senator Saldaña weigh in on the 2023 Legislative Session

Rep. Nicole Macri, LD 43
Rep. Emily Alvarado, LD 34
Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, LD 37

We had the opportunity to have a rich conversation with some of our housing champions in Olympia, and got their honest takes on this year’s session. High-level takeaways were:

  • Despite the end of federal ARPA funding, our advocates managed to maintain many human service contracts, even increasing funding to offset inflation!
  • Our advocates removed some of the barriers from the TANF program; however there is still work to be done to improve this essential cash benefit.
  • This was not a great year for renter protections, but the fight continues in 2024!
  • Next year, a major priority is measuring the exact scope of need for housing and social supports in Washington.
  • Eradicating poverty in an equitable and inclusive way is a priority for all three of our guest legislators! THANK YOU to all of your hard work!

To check out this rich conversation in full, check out our recording on YouTube!