Essential Work, Essential Workers

Participants in our “Essential Work, Essential Workers” roundtable. We gathered in the lobby of The North Star, beautiful new supportive housing in Seattle’s Bitter Lake neighborhood, now home to 100 residents. A Conversation with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal & Representative Nicole Macri Outside, the rain poured down. Inside the airy lobby of a beautiful new apartment building, essential workers in housing and homeless services talked with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal about their experiences helping people get home, and stay in their homes. We hosted this event last week while construction crews put finishing touches on The North Star: new homes and services for 100 people created by DESC (key funding from King County’s Health through Housing Initiative, which we proudly worked to pass). Coalition staff brought a modest addition as teams got each apartment ready for residents  to move in four days later ~ a personal welcome note, a voter registration form, and a box of tea. Frontline workers spoke movingly about working with youth, families, and adults in shelter, rapid rehousing, and supportive housing at different agencies. They shared ideas, hopes, and fears from co-workers and people they serve. Their stories made plain how the pandemic has exacerbated workforce issues that were already serious — years of suppressed wages and high staff turnover that affect quality and continuity of care — and now threaten our collective ability to sustain and scale up solutions.  An experienced residential specialist, explained how a temporary “Pandemic Pay” boost meant for the first time in 20 years she could make rent and meet her household’s other needs without having to work multiple jobs. Another worker choked up as she described asking her teenage son to set aside his schooling to earn money to help with family expenses, even as she worked full-time to help other parents and …

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Mindfulness in Real Life: Skills for Working with Clients in the Field

Shayla Collins shares mindfulness practices that can be woven into a daily routine as opposed to added to it. This is Mindfulness is Real Life. How one connects with their mindfulness is personal and it should be customized to fit their needs. These accessible practices and accompanying coping strategies can be used to support your overall well being as well as that of the individuals and families you engage with. Mindfulness can help us to build resilience and compassion for ourselves and others. Homelessness and housing service providers show up every day to help care for and support your clients and colleagues. This essential work helps keep people healthy and safe. Learn skills that will help you build resilience and explore ways to care for yourself.  Shayla led us in a great discussion about what mindfulness can offer ourselves and the folks we work with in the context of not having adequate housing resources. She offered four different mindfulness activities: Comforting Touch/Rollercoaster Breath: a tactile approach that helps people reconnect with their bodies and the physical space. Just Like Me: a reflective written activity that helps us reframe negative experiences grounded in compassion for ourselves and others. Three (Four) P’s: this practice (practice is the 4th P!), helps us become present in the moment and pause before we react to any given situation. Peace & Kindness: encourages us to connect with our common humanity. Learn About ShaylaShayla Collins designs and leads mindfulness and compassion programs in the greater Seattle area. She facilitates sessions for parents of children with disabilities or special healthcare needs, providers working with children, youth and families as well as individuals who have interfaced with the criminal justice system. Shayla is a devoted wife & a mother of two young Boys. She enjoys reading, eating delicious vegetarian cuisine and …

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Public Benefits are Key! Medicare, Medicaid, & Spenddowns

Public Benefits are Key! Our Public Benefits are Key! campaign is a partnership with Solid Ground’s Benefits Legal Assistance (BLA) team and REACH, which combines training, technical assistance, and advocacy to ensure public benefits remain accessible. Last week’s training covered eligibility, income and resource limits for public benefits, and best practices for helping clients apply for these benefits. Our goal of offering Public Benefits training is to help case managers and others feel more confident in their ability to support their clients in accessing public benefits, and we are the only organization (to our knowledge) in Washington state offering trainings to access public benefits! Participants can also email questions to the BLA team (please put Ask a Lawyer in the subject line). Training Takeaways We covered a LOT of information on Medicare and Medicaid programs, as well as Spenddowns. If you find it challenging to track the eligibility requirements, how to apply, and how to be a great advocate for your client, then you’re not alone! The Benefits Legal Assistance team at Solid Ground would love to answer your questions and help you navigate these systems in the best way possible. If you have any questions or need clarifying information from the training, please reach out to jody[at]homelessinfo.org. Video Recording and Slides

July 21st General Membership Meeting

King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s (KCRHA) 5 Year Plan The King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) has begun to develop a 5-Year Plan and it’s important that our members share their expertise and help inform this process that will shape services for our community. Recommendations, will guide the KCRHA’s work going forward including budget requests as well as any redesign and procurement of services.  The plan will be released in Fall 2022 and will outline core strategies, how the KCRHA does it’s work, and what it invests in.  At our July meeting we had a lively and engaged discussion with Alexis Mercedes Rinck and Marshall Buxton of the KCRHA around what success looks like for programs, providers, and clients in a setting where there isn’t adequate housing resources. KCRHA shared how the Regional Action Framework and the National Innovation Survey report (from 2018 that focused on community strategies to end homelessness) will be incorporated into the 5 Year Plan, provided an overview about how the RHA would like to think about performance moving forward, and how the RHA plans to follow back up with the community to discuss how the final plan aligns with input or not (and why) from the community. This facilitated a community conversation that focused on the following questions:  How should we think about measuring the performance of particular programs?  How can we think about what success looks like from your perspective as a service provider?  How might we think about success for the clients you serve?  KCRHA continues to hold community listening sessions revolving around different aspects and topics of the 5 year plan, There are 7 components to the plan and several opportunities to participate. Learn more about each component and what to expect during the community engagement sessions.  Measurable Actions, Outcomes, and Goals  Sub-Regional Planning Activities Procurement Processes Terms and Conditions …

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You Don’t Need a Home to be a Voter! A Low Barrier, Trauma Informed Approach to Voter Registration

A training done in partnership with the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle When it comes to voting rights, two key questions are at the base of this work; who is eligible to vote, and can they exercise that right? The answers to both of these questions has changed throughout history and we are still fighting to remove barriers to ensure that eligible voters can participate in our democratic system. The Coalition on Homelessness and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle have engaged in non-partisan voter registration and education work for years. Now we have teamed up to help spread the word about new changes in WA State law about eligibility for people with past felony convictions, key changes for future voters aged 16 and 17, and to how to remove barriers that make it harder for people experiencing homelessness to register to vote and cast their ballot. The Coalition is committed to this work; voter disenfranchisement and social disenfranchisement are intertwined. There are critical intersections between trauma, homelessness, racism, and voter suppression. The people most directly impacted by policy and budget decisions should be included in helping to elect our leaders and in the work of shaping our community. Our goal is to build political power that will help us make systemic changes. But equally significant is the notion that voting can be an important way for people experiencing homelessness to feel connected to their community and to help build resilience that can support one’s path towards healing. Join us in this vital work. Free the vote! Help voters without traditional “home” addresses register, vote, and know their rights. Learn about our non-partisan, trauma-informed volunteer training, and opportunities for you to help strengthen and expand democracy. Voter Registration Materials Here’s the slides from training for reference on voting history, trauma informed approaches, and …

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Mindfulness in Real Life

Shayla Collins shares mindfulness practices that can be woven into a daily routine as opposed to added to it. This is Mindfulness is Real Life. How one connects with their mindfulness is personal and it should be customized to fit their needs. These accessible practices and accompanying coping strategies can be used to support your overall well being as well as that of the individuals and families you engage with. Mindfulness can help us to build resilience and compassion for ourselves and others. Homelessness and housing service providers show up every day to help care for and support your clients and colleagues. This essential work helps keep people healthy and safe. Learn skills that will help you build resilience and explore ways to care for yourself.  This training serves two purposes; an opportunity for direct service providers to slow down, pause, and take a much needed break and to develop mindfulness practices. Learn what type of mindfulness works for you, practice different techniques, and build skills that you can integrate into your busy day. Register Now for our second session of Mindfulness in Real Life On July 28th, Shayla will return to the Coalition for a training focused on how to bring mindfulness into the field to help with clients, this session will build on the first training, but these sessions can be taken a stand-alone trainings and participants will get great tools and benefit regardless of whether they are taken as a series or one-off trainings. This training will be interactive, participation is very much appreciated and always optional.  Mindfulness in Real Life: Skills for Working with Clients in the Field, Tuesday July 28th from 3-4:30pm. Learn About ShaylaShayla Collins designs and leads mindfulness and compassion programs in the greater Seattle area. She facilitates sessions for parents of children with disabilities …

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Public Benefits are Key! TANF & WorkFirst Training

Public Benefits are Key! Campaign Our Public Benefits are Key! campaign is a partnership with Solid Ground’s Benefits Legal Assistance (BLA) team and REACH, which combines training, technical assistance, and advocacy to ensure public benefits remain accessible. Last week’s training covered eligibility, income and resource limits for public benefits, and best practices for helping clients apply for these benefits. Our goal of offering Public Benefits training is to help case managers and others feel more confident in their ability to support their clients in accessing public benefits, and we are the only organization (to our knowledge) in Washington state offering trainings to access public benefits! Participants can also email questions to the BLA team (please put Ask a Lawyer in the subject line). Here are some helpful tips (full training video linked below): • The COVID-19 Hardship Extension, which extended public benefits even for folks over the 60 month eligibility limit, is valid through June of 2023. Even if your benefits were already terminated for being over the 60 month limit, you can reapply for benefits through June of 2023.• Case workers are encouraged to go to eligibility meetings with clients when possible to advocate alongside clients.• While often not advertised, DSHS provides support services for clients in WorkFirst, which can include work clothes, haircuts, relocation expenses, bus passes, etc. Advocate to benefit from support services available!• Eligibility for public benefits is confusing, and ending up in sanctions is an unfortunate result of that confusion. However, clients can appeal with “good reason,” such as family violence or child care difficulties. Clients have a right to an attorney during their appeal, and still receive benefits during the appeal process. For more details about public benefits, check out the full video of the training and PDF below! Video Recording and Slides Upcoming Public Benefits are Key! …

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June 16th General Membership Meeting

Emergency Housing Vouchers A big thank you to Kristy Johnson with KC Housing Authority, Peter Lynn with KCRHA, and Alice Kimbowa with Seattle Housing Authority for sharing and celebrating the good work of our community around the Emergency Housing Voucher’s (EHVs). Stay tuned for an upcoming Request for Proposals (RFP) that will provide money for services for the EHV’s. Naloxone/Narcan Training We had a powerful and informative training on Naloxone/Narcan. Wenye Dang, PharmD, Pharmacy Resident with Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group provided facts about Naloxone/Narcan, how to recognize an overdose, how to use this life-saving medication, and you can GET NALOXONE! to help save lives. A real world perspective on what it’s like to use Naloxone/Narcan was given by staff from REACH and Public Health’s Robert Clewis Drug User Health Clinic. They shared their expertise, how to be more comfortable administering the medication, and the importance of ensuring everyone has access to Naloxone/Narcan. Support Wage Equity Jason Austin from the Seattle Human Services Coalition presented on their Raising Wages for Changing Lives Campaign. Sign on to the letter in support of wage equity! This campaign recognizes that “human service workers are significantly underpaid and . . . this perpetuates poverty and racial inequity” Upcoming Trainings and Meetings Register for July 21st General Membership meeting Public Benefits are Key! TANF & Work First on June 30th from 9-11am. Mindfulness in Real Life! Tuesday, June 28th, 3 – 4:30 p.m. (focus on self/community care & to practice mindfulness)   You Don’t Need a Home to be a Voter! training for service providers on Tuesday July 12th from 3-4:30pm Member Announcements  The Babies of Homelessness board is recruiting new board members to our team. If you know anyone who aligns with our mission and would make a fabulous engaged board member, please help spread the word. …

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Public Benefits are Key! ABD & HEN Program Training

Public Benefits are Key! Campaign In partnership with Solid Ground’s Benefits Legal Assistance and REACH, we are pleased to invite you to the Public Benefits Are Key! campaign. This campaign combines training, technical assistance, and advocacy in concerted effort to ensure public benefits remain accessible to people who need them. A three part training series offered year round will cover a multitude of public benefit programs including Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD), Housing & Essential Needs (HEN), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Work First, and Medicare Savings Program (MSP). The training will cover topics such as eligibility, income and resource limits, the disability evaluation process, and best practices for helping clients apply for these benefits. The training includes a 30 minute “Ask a Lawyer” segment where a Public Benefits attorney will be available to answer specific questions. Participants can also email questions in advance to (please put Ask a Lawyer in the subject line). Through our partnerships with Solid Ground’s BLA team, REACH, and case managers, we can recognize gaps in the programs and systems that create barriers for people and identify advocacy opportunities that help to strengthen those systems that are intended to help people get out of extreme poverty and homelessness. Video Recording and Slides Slide deck from May 24th, 2022’s training on ABD & HEN May 24th, 2022 Training on ABD & HEN programs Upcoming Public Benefits are Key! Trainings These trainings are geared towards case managers working with people experiencing homelessness – both new case managers as well as experienced providers who have questions and would like additional support in navigating public benefits.  Training will go in-depth about strategies you can use to assist people who are experiencing homelessness successfully navigate the application process, and how to troubleshoot issues for people who already have public benefits. You will learn  what you can do …

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May 19th Annual Membership Meeting

Big Thanks to our Special Guests! Our May Annual Membership meeting was filled with peace, inspiration, gratitude, and opportunity!   Shayla Collins, a lead facilitator with the UW Center for Child & Family Well-Being, briefly introduced us to her approach to mindfulness. She led us through a breathing exercised and talked about how to utilize mindfulness in real life. Anthony Blankenship from ACLU-WA and Kelly Olson from Civil Survival Project joined us to share their perspectives on the importance of voting. Both Anthony and Kelly are leaders in the Voting Rights Restoration Coalition, which works to restore full voting rights for anyone impacted by the criminal-legal system. Free Training Opportunities- Visit our Training and Professional Development page to register for all our upcoming trainings! In collaboration with Solid Ground’s Benefits Legal Assistance program and REACH, Public Benefits are Key! ​​​​​​is a three part training series that will focus on five major public benefits. These trainings will build on the Coalition’s Public Benefits 101 training to incorporate technical assistance to problem solve with an expert on navigating the process of applying for public benefits. Using mindfulness to build resilience and compassion for yourself (and others). Registration for these trainings will open during the Annual Membership meeting. We are grateful to host two trainings on mindfulness with Shayla Collins. Save the dates for Mindfulness in Real Life- Tuesday, June 28th from 3-4:30pm & Tuesday, July 26th from 3-4:30pm!   2022 is a mid-term election year and we want to ensure people know their voting rights and are registered to vote in the August 2nd Primary election! In partnership with the Urban League, we will be hosting a Voter Rights and Registration training for service providers on Tuesday July 12th from 3-4:30pm.  This training is for homeless service and housing providers, and case managers interested in helping people experiencing homeless or …

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