Membership Meeting – April 18th, 2024

Welcome Back, Members! Thanks for joining us for another Membership meeting! Join us Thursday, 4/18 at 9am for: It’s not too late to register! Share the sign-up link with your friends and comrades – https://bit.ly/GMM-April2024.

Public Benefits are Key! Working Families Tax Credit – March 28th, 2024

In this special edition of our Public Benefits are Key! Series, we were joined by: Marcy Bowers of Statewide Poverty Action Network, a fierce advocate and negotiator that shaped the Working Families Tax Credit Patricia Bowen of Solid Ground, a skilled public benefits attorney and frequent collaborator on Public Benefits are Key! Trainings The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) has had a long journey from inception to incentive – it took 13 years for advocates and lawmakers, strategize, pass, fund, and implement this tax credit. Champions such as Marcy Bowers are thrilled for the WFTC to be in it’s second year as it provides a cash resource available to low- and moderate-income Washingtonians, who are most affected by living in a state that is tax-burdened due to an upside-down tax code. This is a uniquely inclusive public benefit, which does not impact a person’s access to other benefits like TANF (cash benefits), EBT (food benefits), or Social Security benefits, offers higher awards to those with greater need, and can be accessed to non-citizens who file their taxes with ITINs. What is the Working Families Tax Credit? The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is a resource that… And it is expected to have huge impacts! Who is Eligible for the WFTC? To obtain this tax credit, you must fit four criteria: Income limits depend on number of dependents and whether you are filing as head of household or jointly. See below for exact 2024 income limits. Credit amounts vary by number of qualifying children and other factors. See below for a full list of maximum credit amounts based on number of qualifying children. More information on income eligibility and credit amounts can be found at the Department of Revenue website. NOTE that non-US citizens are eligible for this tax credit if they have an Individual Taxpayer …

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Membership Meeting – March 21st, 2024

Welcome Back, Members! Welcome back to a very special edition of our monthly Membership Meeting! Spring has sprung, and the Coalition is here to celebrate the transition and renewal that this time of year brings. And as we spring forward, you can expect us to keep opportunities for learning and advocacy flowing.  In our latest meeting, we shared: Tax Prep Resources and Tax Credits for our Unhoused Neighbors AND Their Providers Casey Lantz from United Way King County shared time-sensitive information on how we can access FREE tax prep resources in-person and virtually in King County.  Check out Casey’s slides below to learn how service providers and their clients can file for free and access cash resources via tax credits! A few highlights you need to know: Hear directly from Casey on our YouTube recording. Our 2024 Legislative Recap During the short legislative session, we know that our hopes often exceed what our lawmakers can achieve. While we have more work to do next year to achieve rent stabilization, permanent funding for the Housing Trust Fund, and preventing cities from discriminating against shelter and supportive housing, we did achieve important outcomes that provide funding for housing and human services and improve access to public benefits. Read more about the results of this session on our blog. As we reflect on what we can do next year, all of our lawmakers echo one important point: our experiences as renters, service providers, and those with barriers to housing are VITAL in convincing our lawmakers to make necessary policy changes, especially for politically tenuous strategies such as rent stabilization and expanding funding for permanent supportive housing. As Rep. Macri stated “when lawmakers hear from constituents, this outweighs fear-based messaging from the opposition”. And Rep. Bateman brings this to a point when saying, “we need …

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Public Benefits are Key! TANF and WorkFirst – February 29th, 2024

We All Agree: Public Benefits are Key! As our frontline human service workers, you know the difference public benefits can make! One of the most vital benefits is TANF, a cash assistance program that is accessed by over 800,000 families in the United States. Check out our updated presentation to learn about TANF eligibility, benefit limit exceptions and extensions, WorkFirst requirements, client advocacy tips, and recent program updates from Patty Bowen and Brittany Lowell of Benefits Legal Assistance at Solid Ground. ***Do you have specific questions for a client? Need help challenging a denial, termination, or sanction? Providers can contact Solid Ground’s Ask a Lawyer Program at benefitslegalhelp[at]solidground[dot]org – include “ask a lawyer” in the subject line – or call 206-694-6742. What are TANF Benefits? Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a cash assistance program available to low-income families with dependent children. A family may be eligible for TANF if they: Child-Only TANF is also available for some children, even when other household members, including kin caregivers, are ineligible due to non-citizenship. Tribal TANF is available for Native American and Alaskan Native families. They are administered by specific tribes and distinct from state benefits. To apply for any form of TANF benefits and other state benefits, visit https://www.washingtonconnection.org or call DSHS at 877-501-2233. Questions about eligibility? Visit washingtonconnection.org Eligibility depends on a person’s income and resources: a 2-person household must earn less than $1,140 per month in earned income. They must also have less than $12,000 in liquid resources, such as cash on hand, checking or saving accounts, or vehicles – note that as of 2024 the value of one vehicle is excluded when used by the household for transportation. A note on earned vs unearned income: Earned income is typically income from employment. Unearned income is income from another source, such as Social Security benefits or unemployment insurance. …

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Membership Meeting – February 15th, 2024

Welcome Back, Members! Amidst a short state legislative session, our February is jam-packed with advocacy and program updates that help us all to be better advocates – check out our agenda and pass it on! In our February 15th meeting, we shared: Check out our full meeting recording on our YouTube page. ID Card Access for those facing Housing Barriers Many of us know that a big barrier to accessing housing, public benefits, and many community resources is lacking a state ID card or driver’s license. Due to the transient nature of many people’s lives when they are unhoused, it can be especially easy to lose track of documents that are essential to prove someone’s identity, necessary to obtain an ID card. Lori Carnino from the WA Department of Licensing joined us to share a few helpful tips and tricks that can make it easier for unhoused community members to obtain an ID. A few recommendations for service providers and their clients include: To hear directly from Lori, check out our YouTube video. An Announcement from Leo Flor Since 2018, we have been lucky to work with Leo Flor as Director of King County Department of Community and Health Services. DCHS hosts a number of essential programs, including King county veterans Program, Best Starts for Kids, and Health through Housing, which have all benefitted under Leo’s leadership due to his sense of urgency for serving those experiencing homelessness, particularly during the COIDI-19 Pandemic. Hear directly from Leo and members of our community in our YouTube video. Legislative Advocacy from Mockingbird Society and the Coalition On January 30th, 2024, 25 of our most fearless homeless and housing service providers, program staff, and advocates took off from Pioneer Square and Burien to participate in the first in-person Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day …

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Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day 2024

In Person for the First Time since 2020! On January 30th, 2024, 25 of our most fearless homeless and housing service providers, program staff, and advocates took off from Pioneer Square and Burien to participate in the first in-person Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day since 2020! What We Accomplished Not only did we make an impressive drive and got to greet our fellow champions from Spokane to Sequim, we got to make powerful arguments directly to our lawmakers why they must prioritize affordable housing, human services, and public benefits! For more on the 2024 Legislative Session, bookmark our blog for frequent updates!

Public Benefits are Key! SSI and SSDI – January 25th, 2024

Welcome Back to Public Benefits are Key! For those mystified by Social Security benefits and want to make sure people with disabilities get the cash benefits they need, this is the training recap for you! In this training, our public benefits experts answer the following questions: We were lucky enough to be joined by knowledgeable staff from Benefits Law Center (email them with any questions!): What is Benefits Law Center? The Benefits Law Center (BLC) has existed since 1997 to provide legal advice and representation to low-income individuals with disabilities in their pursuit of Social Security benefits. BLC is committed to delivering high-quality advocacy centered on a client’s needs, honoring the humanity of every client, and providing a continually inclusive, collaborative environment for all. Visit their website to learn more! Unlike many other public benefit law firms, BLC works with people who have been awarded benefits with the intent to maintain them – some examples of advocacy include responding to overpayment notices, managing threats of termination or cessation, and ensuring a smooth process when it is time for a Continuing Disability Review. Do you or a client need help applying for or maintaining Social Security disability benefits? Contact Benefits Law Center! Call (206) 686-7252 or email info[at]benefitslawcenter[dot]org. What are Social Security Disability Benefits? Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) are cash benefits disbursed by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), a federal governmental agency that provided benefits for over 65 million Americans in 2021, providing income to those who are unable to work due to a disability and to qualifying members of their households. It is important to note that the SSA has been a very effective anti-poverty tool for beneficiaries of all backgrounds, however it was built with racist intentions. Check out this article to learn more. SSI and SSDI are both disability benefits, …

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General Membership Meeting – January 18th, 2024

Thanks for Joining our January General Membership Meeting! At the Coalition on Homelessness, we are proud to hold programming that is useful for people of all stripes – including service providers, housing justice advocates, and concerned neighbors! This meeting was no less true, offering an agenda that included: For a full recap, check out the recording below. Visit our YouTube page for full meeting recordings of past meetings and trainings. Local Advocacy: Burien is Better than a Ban As it has been reported in publications like the Seattle Times and PubliCola, the Coalition has filed a lawsuit with three co-plaintiffs who are unhoused residents of Burien due to their recent ‘camping ban’. While a lawsuit is serious business, we want to emphasize that we do not believe that  Burien is not a bad place – in fact, we believe that Burien is better than a ban! We do believe, however, that the ban imposed by the Burien City Council makes it impossible for those without homes to exist in Burien, and part of our role as an advocacy group is to use every tool in the toolbox to ensure we achieve our mission: to challenge systemic causes of homelessness and advocate for housing justice! If you live or work in Burien and have feedback about the camping ban or its impacts on unhoused Burien residents – we want to hear from you! Please email us with your thoughts as you find them helpful. Hear from Alison directly on YouTube. Updates to the Seattle Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher List Dani Fitts, Deputy Director of the Housing Choice Program at Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), shared information about their voucher list, and what that means for those who are seeking vouchers for subsidized rent in the Seattle private housing market. Importantly, their …

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Thanks for Joining our 2024 Legislative Preview! 

Every year, it is our pleasure to bring our members and lawmakers together to reflect on past policy, discuss priorities for the upcoming year, and encourage all of us to engage in advocacy. This year was no different, featuring:  For a full recap of our Legislative Preview, check out our YouTube recording.  Remarks from Reps Macri and Alvarado  Rep. Nicole Macri (43rd LD) and Rep. Emily Alvarado (34th LD) shared select priorities for housing and human services investment in 2024, while also offering some words of wisdom to guide us as we renew our advocacy.  A few key points from our representatives:  Hear directly from Rep. Macri and Rep. Alvarado on YouTube!  Remarks from Rep. Tana Senn and Senator Patty Kuderer  Rep. Tana Senn (41st LD) and Senator Patty Kuderer (48th LD) also have distinct, but connected priorities that invest in affordable housing and prevent youth homelessness.  A few key points include:  Hear directly from Rep. Senn and Senator Kuderer on YouTube!  Advocacy Partner Priorities  Next we heard from some of our advocacy partners on their 2024 legislative priorities. These priorities are informed by people with lived experience of homelessness, poverty, incarceration, and many other barriers to safety and stability.  We heard from Lianna Kressin of Statewide Poverty Action Network, who announced efforts to reduce administrative fees and arbitrary timelines that reduce TANF benefits for low-income families. Poverty Action invites you to their IN-PERSON Lobby Day – Monday, 1/15 (MLK Day) in Olympia! Register at this link.  Contact Lianna with any questions. Hear more about Poverty Action’s priorities on YouTube!  We heard from Kelly Olson of Civil Survival, who announced a bill to prevent the loss of voting rights for people  who are incarcerated in WA, and an effort to make it easier for people with misdemeanor convictions to vacate …

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General Membership Meeting – December 14th, 2023

Welcome Back, Members! As we are getting closer to end-of-year holidays and a sense of coziness takes over, you can trust the Coalition to keep you engaged in important advocacy opportunities and program announcements! This month, we have a special two-hour meeting with special guests that can keep you in the know and motivated to follow the 2024 WA Legislative Session! *NOTE* that this will be held on the 2nd Thursday of this month to accommodate end-of-year schedules. On Thursday, 12/14 at 9am: See you soon! -Tim, Hali, Jody, Rachel, and Alison