Recap: General Meeting on Examining Criminal Backgrounds and Housing – July 16 ,2015

This month’s meeting was another brought to you jointly by the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Coalition on Homelessness. We brought together a great team of folks to help us examine criminal backgrounds and housing. The room was packed with over 60 representatives from member organizations and more. Among those in the room were API Chaya, Pike Market Senior Center, Housing Justice Project, The Mockingbird Society, King County 2-1-1, Washington Family Counseling Serice, WSCADV, Theraputic Health Services, Organization for Prostitution Survivors, Valley Cities, Consejo, Urban Rest Stop – LIHI, Wellspring, YWCA, YMCA, King County Public Defense, REACH/LEAD, King County Housing Authority, Year Up, Jewish Family Services, Seattle Housing Authority, Housing Development Consortium, Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness, City of Seattle Human Services Department, Victim Support Team, Capitol Hill Housing, Multi-Service Center, City of Seattle Office of Housing, Columbia Legal Services, Carolyn Downs Clinic, Compass Housing Alliance, City of Kirkland, Bellwether Housing, Columbia Care, and the King County Department of Public Defense. Thank you all for joining in a great conversation! On the agenda . . . Announcement: NEW low-barrier women’s shelter is open in Seattle. Check out our previous blog post for more details, and to download a flyer. Please do spread the word through your networks – every best can and should be filled! Just released: the 2015 One Night Count report. If you haven’t received your copy in the mail, be sure to request one through the Coalition’s website.  Coming up: the next Seattle Housing Levy. Mark your calendars for the first planning meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, July 22 from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the WA State Housing Finance Commission office (1000 Second Ave, 28th Floor, Seattle WA). Plus, keep your eyes peeled for notice of an early September meeting hosted by the Seattle Office of Housing and …

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Recap: General Meeting and Street Drugs 101 Case Manager Training – June 18,2015

What a meeting!  Among the friendly faces were representatives from SHARE, YWCA, Plymouth Housing Group, Housing Development Consortium, Child Care Resources, Compass Housing Alliance, Housing Justice Project, Hopelink, REACH/Evergreen Treatment Services, North Helpline, Catholic Community Services, Recovery Cafe, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, Jewish Family Services, Aridell Mitchell Home (Goodwill Development Association), Washington Family Counseling Service, ROOTS, YouthCare, El Centro de la Raza, Multi-Service Center, Year Up, and 2-1-1. Following the General Meeting, representatives from even more organizations and community members joined us for our Street Drugs 101 + Naloxone + Related Laws training. Both were informative meetings – Here’s a brief recap . . .  [Psssst! Don’t miss out in the future — add our General Meeting dates to your calendar.] June 18, 2015 General Membership Meeting Report-back Smoking Ban update – On Thursday, May 28, the Board of Park Commissioners voted unanimously (8-0) to pass a smoking ban in Seattle Parks. This ban will take effect 30 days after the vote, likely beginning in July. While this is still a disappointing outcome, it’s important to remember the impact of our collective action. By speaking up with many community members and organizations, we were able to influence the removal of the $27 citation, ensure a “Right to Dispute” be made available, and see to it that there is oversight of enforcement. An emphasis of education is also a feature of this policy. Read the Seattle Parks and Recreation’s release about the new smoking ban.  Now, we all have continued work to do to ensure that what is “in writing” is put into action, and that whatever plays out is brought to light. This means we need you, your colleagues, your friends and family, and, certainly, the people you serve who are (likely) most impacted by this policy to keep us informed about how the implementation and enactment of …

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Recap: Coalition’s General Membership Meeting — May 21, 2015

You packed the room at our May 21 General Membership Meeting. Among the friendly faces were folks from Farestart, Sound Mental Health, Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, Harborview, City of Redmond, Housing Development Consortium, Hopelink, 2-1-1, Solid Ground, Seattle Community Law Center, Compass Housing Alliance, ROOTS, Catholic Community Services – Aloha Inn, Jewish Family Services, YearUp, Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness, Real Change, Global to Local, City of Seattle Human Services Department, Seattle Parks Department, resident of Pioneer Square, UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry, 45th Street Youth Clinic (Neighborcare), Low Income Housing Institute, REACH, UW Law School, YWCA Landlord Liaison Project. This broad representation from our member organizations and community as a whole helped facilitate important, timely dialogue with Seattle Human Services Department Director and Deputy Director as well as Acting Parks Superintendent. Here’s a brief recap . . .  [Psssst! Don’t miss out in the future — add our General Meeting dates to your calendar.] I. Discussion with Director Catherine Lester & Deputy Directors Heidi Albritton Catherine stared by sharing her background, starting at age 4, to help us understand her motivations, perspective, and reasons why she does what she does. She has five over-arching focuses/goals for HSD: Results. Generate results that are measurable, and that increase equity and decrease disparity. Measures vary, and need to be properly applied (e.g., quality vs performance vs outcome). Public Stewardship. HSD has had audit findings each year for the last four years. This isn’t good for many reasons, two of which are: 1) calls the question about whether HSD can do the job, and 2) risks money that flows to providers. Preferred Employer. Create a working environment that is positive and productive. This absolutely includes ensuring that providers have better, positive experiences working with HSD staff. Innovation.(Let’s continue to honor innovations that already exist.) Spoke specifically towards …

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Reflections on a Peaceful May 1st March for Immigrant Labor Rights

As you likely know, last Friday was May 1st, also known as International Workers Day.  On this day around 5,000 demonstrators rallied together to march for Workers and Immigrant Rights, an event organized by El Comite.  Fridays are my day off so I decided to take part in the march for this important cause! My year long internship is run through the Justice Leadership Program of the United Church of Christ, a program founded on the principles of taking action through advocacy, calling for systemic change.  This is well alined with the Coalition’s work and it has been great to learn from the organizations other interns are placed at as well.  I had the opportunity to march alongside one of my co-interns who is serving at Faith Action Network; another of my co-interns has been organizing around immigration reform and rights as well this year.  It was special to be part of such a powerful and peaceful march and be working with others across the community to speak up for the rights of ALL people in our community, not just those who are US citizens, not just those who don’t face racial prejudice, and not just those who have a place to call home. The march ended with a program in front of the U.S. District Courthouse downtown where messages were shared and calls to action made.  “The selection of the site was very deliberate, as organizers made note to demonstrate in opposition to the U.S. District 5 Court’s challenge to the DACA/DAPA program, which if implemented by the Obama administration, would have provided relief and a temporary deferral of deportation for many undocumented students and their parents (El Comite).” Marchers also spoke up against police brutality and racial injustice.  Anna Hacmkan, one of the organizers of the march, perfectly hit …

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Reflections on a rousing 2015 Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day!

On February 17, 2015, 650 of our closest friends and allies from all across the state of Washington gathered in Olympia at Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day to speak up for affordable housing and an end to homelessness. Driven by an enthusiastic and cheerful bus driver, we headed to Olympia at 7:15 a.m. with 30 Coalition members and friends –  service providers, clients, residents, guests, and others. For some, it was their first time to Olympia and an introduction to advocacy in action. Others were veterans of HHAD. Everyone on the Advocacy Express bus was rearin’ and ready to make a difference, and that they did! The Coalition’s Advocacy Express bus rolled up right on time to the morning activities, and found inspiration from the first of many speakers that day. Housing Alliance staff, State legislators, and superstar Real Change vendor Pam Russell all spoke how POWERFUL we housing advocates are when we speak up and act together. It’s because of our collective action and advocacy that the Document Recording Fee bill came back from the dead last session, remember! Our rally at the Capitol steps was a sight to be seen (and heard!). We were inspired by the voices around us. People who have experienced homelessness personally, service providers, representatives from advocacy organizations, students, community members, and people from all walks of life from all over the state were represented as we chanted from the steps through the buildings of the Capitol: “When they say ‘cutback’ we say fightback!” “Get up, get down, there’s a housing crisis in this town.” We were a sea of 650 people wearing red scarves, red shirts, red hats, and many people wore our One Night Count ‘3772’ and Student Homelessness ‘32,494’ buttons. Even as folks dispersed into their legislative district groups, we were unified and unmistakable throughout the halls of the Capitol. Each button and …

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Q&A – Helping people get on the bus with ORCA LIFT, our Low Income Metro Fare.

Phase 1. Together, we organized, called, spoke, e-mailed, and wrote. Our community voted. And we won ourselves a mighty Low Income Metro Fare. Commence celebration #1. The newly named ORCA LIFT program will begin on March 1. We encourage you to help your residents, guests, and clients sign up prior to March 1, so that they can take full advantage of the program. Phase 2: We know you have a lot of questions about how this brand new program will work, who will really benefit, and, above all, what you should be telling people. We’ve pulled together some of the BIGGEST questions and will answer them in this blog post. Please do also consult Metro’s easy-to-navigate ORCA LIFT website. Oh, and here’s a helpful color copy of the ORCA LIFT brochure! WHO QUALIFIES? Anyone 18 years old or older whose household income is no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL). The chart below shows the federal poverty guidelines by household size. Household Size 200% 1 $23,340 2 $31,460 3 $39,580 4 $47,700 5 $55,820 6 $63,940 7 $72,060 8 $80,180 CAN MY AGENCY QUALIFY FOR ORCA LIFT CARDS AND PASS THEM OUT TO OUR GUEST/RESIDENTS/CLIENTS WHO QUALIFY? No. ORCA LIFT cards must be tied to an individual person who has goes through the verification process with one of the 9 authorized agencies. See more info below.  IS ORCA LIFT A BETTER DEAL THAN THE OTHER REDUCE FARE PROGRAMS? ORCA LIFT is not always a better deal. Here’s some information to consider when helping clients/residents/guests weigh the cost/benefits: FOR YOUNG PEOPLE . . . The ORCA youth card reduced fare is available to young people up until the day of their 19th birthday. While it costs the same as the ORCA LIFT, the youth card is accepted throughout the entire transit system in our region. As of yet, ORCA LIFT …

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Amazing Voter Registration Wrap-up and on to Transportation Prop. 1 Phone Banks

Wow, what an amazing experience it was being able to jump into my internship with Voter Registration!  As of today our count for homeless and unstably housed new and updated registered voters is 176, and the numbers are still coming in from our dedicated member organizations!  So far we have surpassed our numbers from last year by over 60 voters and I want to give a shout-out to our hard working volunteers and our fantastic sites.  Getting to meet so many people who are doing great work in our community as well as community members who are speaking up by registering to vote was a great way for me to get a feel of what the Coalition is all about. Members of Camp Unity were very thankful that we let people know that You Don’t Need A House To Vote. At the Urban Rest Stop I spoke to an individual who did not know his right to vote would be restored after he finished his time under Department of Corrections (DOC) supervision and was enthusiastic to spread the word. At Real Change many vendors were glad to update registrations and register for the first time while picking up their newspapers.  Over 84 people registered at various Compass Housing Alliance programs including the Hygiene Center, CSO, Pioneer Square Men’s Program, and Peter’s place.  We also worked with Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, Nickelsville, Tent City 3, Recovery Café, Aloha Inn, YouthCare and more during our registration drive!  On Monday, the registration deadline, one of our volunteers from DESC Connections let me know that many people she talked with about registering had already registered at Real Change or another site showing that we have reached many community members.  While the registration deadline for the November 4th election has come and gone, it is never too late to register …

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