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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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! …

Read more

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. …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

April 21st General Membership Meeting & Legislative Debrief

Key Issues from the 2022 Washington Legislative Session Thank you to our legislative champions on homelessness and housing for joining our April General Membership meeting and sharing insights into all their hard work this past session. Representative Nicole Macri (LD43) shared with us some details around the workforce budget proviso that includes 55 million for worker relief and stabilization in the homeless service sector. 20,000 WA State workers will be helped with these stipends. The Department of Commerce will contract with providers to provide the stipends, in the amount of $2000 per worker, if programs receive public dollars. The proviso also includes an element of retention, where if a someone is employed at the same place for six month, they would be eligible for a second stipend. The state will also study the issue of workforce stability to see what role it can play to ensure appropriate compensation for workers. We’ll be providing regular updates about how people can access these stipends at our meetings, and opportunities to help shape the study that will be conducted. You can read the proviso language about the workforce stipends are on page116 of this budget document. A huge thank you to Representative Strom Peterson (LD21) for being the primary sponsor of HB 2075, the DSHS Access bill, he shared great insight into all the work that many of us put into making this bill pass both the House and Senate with overwhelming bi-partisan support. He also spoke about the disappointing news that HB 2075 was vetoed by the Governor a few weeks ago. Read the Coalition’s full response here. Representative Frank Chopp (LD43) discussed Apple Health & Homes, HB1866, which received strong bipartisan support. Five significant goals of the act include: Treating chronic homelessness as a medical condition Investing in preventative services and …

Read more

March 17th General Membership Meeting & 2 Years of Living and Working Through a Pandemic

WA State Legislative Highlights & Appreciation! A big THANK YOU to Representative Strom Peterson (LD21), primary sponsor of HB 2075, and all the Coalition members and allies who worked to help ensure DSHS offices will remain open and accessible to all including in future states of emergency! E2SHB 2075, a bill that will set minimum service standards for DSHS passed! The final state capital budgets include great investments for housing & homeless services, support for frontline workers, and for people living on extremely low incomes, including:$45 million for rental assistance, $45 million for services to help transition people experiencing unsheltered homelessness into affordable housing, $55 million in stipends for frontline homeless service workers,$15 million for homeless youth facilities, $2 million for pre-eviction legal aid, and a permanent increase in the Aged, Blind, and Disabled Cash Assistance program from $197 a month to $417 a month!   Marking 2 Years of Living & Working Through a Pandemic KC Jobs & Housing Program We were joined by Nancy Yamamoto & Sasha Gourevitch and learned about new employment and housing opportunities through the King County Jobs & Housing program: good-paying jobs that can help folks get paid work experience, training, help with housing, and a foot in the door for regular employment. Check out their FAQ. Voting Rights & Restoration Coalition April 7, 2022 marks one year since Washington restored the freedom to vote to more than 20,000 Washingtonians with past convictions! In a time when some states are trying to silence the voices of its citizens, it is more important than ever to appreciate this historic win. We invite you to join Free the Vote! Celebrating Voting Rights Restoration in WA on April 7th @ 6 pm PT. This will be a joyful time for directly-impacted voters to share stories, educate the community about the new …

Read more