February 18, 2021 Membership Meeting

Click here to Register for our Next Membership Meeting on Thursday, March 18 at 9am

Video timestamps found in YouTube video description.

9am Welcome
9:10 Chante Stubbs, preview of “Real Talk about COVID-19 vaccines” with frontline staff
9:15 Shaun Glaze, Black Brilliance Research, Participatory Budgeting
9:45 Jacob Kuykendall, Civil Survival, Reentry Legal Aid Project
9:55 Coalition Legislative Advocacy Update, week 6 advocacy, Public Safety bills
10:15 Member Updates
10:25 Coalition Staff Updates
10:30 Close

Healthcare for the Homeless Network “Real Talk” Series

Our meeting started with brief remarks from Chante Stubbs, who described a planned series of “real talk about COVID19 vaccines” virtual events for front line service staff, emphasizing the needs of BIPOC service providers. The purpose of these conversations is to create a space for informal dialogue and discussion about how to best connect COVID19 vaccines to people without homes and staff who work in homeless services and housing. Anyone working directly with people experiencing homelessness in encouraged to join. Details to come.

Black Brilliance Research Project

In the summer of 2020, a coalition of black led organizations wrote the 2020 Blueprint for Police Divestment and Community Reinvestment. This plan detailed a flexible framework for how to invest money to create thriving communities. One of the main features was the creation of a Black-led collaborative research program to conduct a rigorous analysis of what exactly creates true community safety and true community health for all residents in Seattle and the surrounding areas. This research is a part of that plan, community members have been meeting to do this research. Read more about this effort here.

The next stage in this project will consist of brining community members together to better understand the collective needs of our region. BBRP is offering both paid and unpaid opportunities to interested community members and wants your help in circulating this as far and wide as possible. Click Here to Complete the Survey. If you are interested in signing up for bi-monthly updates on this and related projects, you can do so here.

What is participatory budgeting?

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a cycle of engagement that is integrated into a regular budgeting process. A typical PB process follows these steps and will be adjusted to fit the community’s needs.

1.      DESIGN THE PROCESS. A steering committee that represents the community creates the rules and engagement plan, with approvals from the community. Community resources prepare community for PB, including expanding internet access

2. BRAINSTORM IDEAS. Through meetings and online tools, communities share and discuss ideas for projects.

3.      DEVELOP PROPOSALS. Volunteer “budget delegates” develop the ideas into feasible proposals that reflect Black priorities as identified in the Black Brilliance Research Project.

4.      VOTE. Residents vote on the proposals that most serve the community’s needs.

5.      FUND PROJECTS. The City, County etc. funds and supports implementation of winning proposals. Evaluate project success and lessons learned for rooting this process in equity.

State Legislative Advocacy

We are roughly 1/3 of the way through the State Legislative Session, and several key bills related to the intersecting crises of COVID-19, homelessness, and systemic racism need our support.

Police Accountability Bills: Maya Manus from the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle presented on a suite of police accountability bills and how members can support them. You can read the full list of proposed legislation here. Maya highlighted two bills that need your support to become law this legislative session.

  • SB 5051 would expand the conduct for which a police officer or corrections officer’s certification may be revoked, Click here to send your lawmaker a message in support of this legislation.
  • HB 1202 would eliminate qualified immunity for police officers, which would make it easier for police departments and officers to pay for wrongfully harming people and have an incentive to prevent bad conduct in the future. Click here to send a message of support to your lawmakers.

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle has created an email sign up to help you track these and other important pieces of legislation this session. Click here to sign up for alerts, and if you want to learn more about statewide efforts around police accountability and reform check out the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability.

Coalition on Homelessness Legislative Updates and Action Alert: Use this link to send a message to your lawmakers in support of the three bills listed below:

  • HB 1441Sponsored by Representative Melanie Morgan, this bill will help reduce future barriers to housing for renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring landlords cannot discriminate against prospective tenants for nonpayment of rent or eviction during this public health emergency.  
  • HB 1465: Sponsored by Representative Tina Orwall, this bill will help will make changes to Washington’s estate tax and establish the Equity in Housing Fund. The Equity in Housing Fund would help finance behavioral health and homelessness services for those without homes, as well as rental assistance and foreclosure prevention to help prevent a rise in homelessness.
  • SB 5160Sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer, this bill will help prevent evictions and homelessness by requiring landlords to establish payment plans for unpaid rent with tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, help both landlords and tenants access rental assistance programs, and provide legal representation for people who face eviction.

Speak Up Pop Up Workshop Series: Want to gain and practice advocacy skills and help build a strong community of housing justice advocates? Join us at our Speak Up Pop Ups! These drop-in workshops will occur every Tuesday from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. throughout the legislative session and are open to people of all levels of interest and experience with legislative advocacy. You do not have to attend all the workshops, but we invite participants to attend multiple session to help you learn and practice advocacy skills, build a community of housing justice advocates, and ensure sustained momentum throughout the legislative session. Click here to register.

Civil Survival’s Reentry Legal Aid Project

Civil Survival has recently launched their first legal aid program, The Reentry Legal Aid Project, which is aimed at providing pro bono legal services across the State of Washington to help people with post-conviction issues. As these legal aid clinics are opened county by county, community members will be able to seek guidance on specific post-conviction matters, such as how to manage and pay down their Legal Financial Obligations. Legal financial obligations, or LFOs, are the fines, fees, costs, and restitution imposed by the court on top of a criminal sentence. Nearly every person convicted in a Washington court receives a bill for LFOs at sentencing. The average amount of LFOs imposed in a felony case is $2,540. LFOs can include the cost of a public defender and a flat charge for each day spent in jail. Learn more about Legal Financial Obligations here.

The Reentry Legal Aid Project can also aid in vacating past convictions, which can act as a barrier to employment and housing opportunities due to the prevalence of backgrounds screenings in rental and employment applications. Civil Survival is compiling a list of volunteer attorneys across the state to lend a hand. If you or someone you work with might benefits from these services, please complete this online form so your case can be reviewed.

In addition to civil legal clinics and statewide advocacy efforts, @Civil Survival also hosts a running series of community webinars, including a COVID-19 Information Dissemination Event coming up this Wednesday, February 24th at 4:30pm. This webinar will cover how to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure, what to do if a person is directly or indirectly exposed to COVID-19 and how best to care for them, and how to get a free at-home COVID 19 test. To register, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KDrO7AIxSOW4t_-59wFcbQ

Coalition Member Updates

New WHEEL Shelter at First Pres: Before COVID, the WHEEL shelter at Trinity hosted at least 60 women most nights. Now they are open 24/7, but at half capacity due to COVID restrictions. WHEEL pushed hard for more shelter space, writing letters, calling in to City Council meetings and standing with community members at the Women in Black vigils. Thanks to these organizing efforts, WHEEL has secured a large shelter space for up to 60 women at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Seattle that is open 24 hours.

The First Pres shelter opened last Friday night and stayed open round the clock through the duration of the snow spell. First Pres is a loving, low-barrier shelter open to any woman, in any condition, at any time of night. Shelter entry is at 715 Spring St. There is no entry prerequisite. The WHEEL office number is (206) 956-0334. First Pres is now operating between the hours of 8pm to 8am until they can staff up enough to run both shelters 24/7. They are staffing up as quickly as possible, so please refer applicants! Contact wheelorg@yahoo.com

The Coalition is honored the celebrate the addition of 60 shelter beds, an achievement made possible thanks to dedicated organizing efforts led by WHEEL members. To learn more, visit http://www.wheelforwomen.org/

New Youthcare South Seattle Shelter: After two years of rotating between multiple temporary locations, Youthcare’s South Seattle shelter has finally found a permanent home at 9416 Rainier Ave S. This space has limited openings and is available to clients between the ages of 18 to 24 years of age (clients will be exited to adult shelter services on their 25th birthday). 20 total beds available in a 24-hour shelter model, clients may stay on-site during meal rotations and daily disinfections that are conducted to meet public health safety guidelines. No ID or prior HMIS enrollment required for entry, criminal background and credit checks are not conducted, cannot accept anyone who is a level two or higher registered sex offender.

Both daytime day center and overnight shelter services are available. A weekly medical pop-up clinic provided by Kaiser Permanente and weekly behavioral health services provided by Ryther are available to clients, along with housing navigation and employment assistance. Clients are encouraged but not required to access case management services, which can include GED counseling and help securing identification. For more information or to request an intake, call 206-331-2363 any time or email info@youthcare.org.

Allen Family Center Case Management Services: The Allen Family Center is a new facility offering daytime case management services to families and young adults in South Seattle. Located at 3190 S Hanford St, Seattle WA 98144 in the Mt Baker neighborhood, this project offers permanent supportive housing to families on-site in addition to their drop-in day center. The day center is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm, and can be used by community members that are either families with children or young adults under the age of 25.

On-site housing is managed by Mercy housing. Housing navigation assistance is available to day center patrons is thanks to a collaboration with Mary’s Place staff. Childcare Resources has partnered to offer childcare payment assistance to qualified families, and the Refugee Women’s Alliance has partnered to offer culturally appropriate health and employment assistance to ESL communities. No resident or ID requirements, although clients are asked to complete an intake assessment upon first visiting the facility. For more information please call 206-584-2832 or email Savannah Mable, Family Engagement Specialist at Savannah.mable@mercyhousing.org

Coalition Community Resources Update

Coalition Case Manager Training: Getting Through the Month. Presented in partnership with Hopelink, this training will explore how to track income and public benefits with an eye toward understanding garnishments and deductions, payment options, and how to increase net earnings. We hope you will join us on Wednesday, February 24 from 11am to Noon, Click here to register.

Path with Art Remote Enrichment Opportunities: A Seattle based nonprofit dedicated to healing transformation through art and art therapy. Their mission is to connect with those carrying various form of trauma and harness the power of creative engagement as a bridge to community and a path to stability. Path with Art partnering with the Coalition on Homelessness to bringing remote enrichment opportunities to Coalition member organizations working directly with individuals and families experiencing homelessness in King County. If your program is interested, please complete this survey or email jason@homelessinfo.org.

Pandemic EBT Benefits For the 2020-21 School Year: Pandemic EBT benefits are a food voucher program available to families with children who qualify for free or reduce price meals at the school or daycare they attend. The goal of this program is to offset the cash value of meals lost due to remote learning, valued at $6.82/meal. Households received this funding in the 2019-20 school year as part of the CARES act, and the program has been expanded and renewed for the 2021 school year. P-EBT benefits will be issued on a card that can be spent on non-prepared grocery items like SNAP. This will not impact eligibility for other school-based food programs, it is meant to supplement these resources. The amount offered to each household is based on the number of days the student engages in remote learning. Student who are learning remote five days a week will receive $128/mo., $99/mo. for those learning remote four days a week and so on. These benefits are retroactive to September 2020, a large lump sum will be provided on the initial funding dispersal with additional payments to follow.

Eligibility: Households already enrolled in SNAP, as well as households who are enrolled in free or reduce price school meals. Low-income households may also qualify if they have a child age 0-6 who was enrolled in a daycare program that has been impacted due to COVID-19. P-EBT eligible families will receive a notice in the mail the first week of March containing a P-EBT card with the first round of funding loaded. If you are working with a family and you are concerned about them receiving this benefit, the best thing you can do is contact the school they are enrolled in and confirm the primary address they have on file for the student. If you do not have a good point of contact at the school district your clients live in, the Coalition has compiled a list of all McKinney-Vento Liaisons along with a host of other resources for supporting school age children experiencing homelessness which you can view here.