Welcome Back, Members!
In our first Membership Meeting of (almost) summer, we have celebrations and solemn updates for you. As always, we can’t do our work without the support of our Coalition Members and we appreciate you tuning in!
In this meeting, we shared:
- Introductions from our new board members and goodbye to a longtime board member
- Updates from the fight against the Seattle Public Drug Use & Possession Ordinance
- A reminder to endorse the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy
- A reminder to attend the Continuum of Care Convening
- Presentations from our library partners, Seattle Public Library and King County Library Services
Check out our YouTube page for a recording for all of our meetings.
Board Member Acknowledgements
Goodbye to Ben Miksch, who has been on our Board for 10 years! Ben was Board Chair as we shifted from being volunteer-run to having staff, a pivotal transition that helped us to greatly scale up our efforts. He has held lots of roles with us, expelled countless efforts, and will be sorely missed.
Hello to Robin Koskey and Harold Odom, who will begin serving 3 years terms on our Board of Directors. Both bring passion, dedication, initiative, and experience in the field of housing justice and human services advocacy.
Check out our YouTube video to hear from Robin directly!
Check out Harold Odom’s bio below:
Key Community Info from Alison Eisinger and Sara Robbins
No New War on Drugs in Seattle!: A Brief History
The Coalition, as well as many other organizations who stand for harm reduction and person-centered human services, have been BUSY working to oppose a new Seattle ordinance to criminalize public drug use and drug possession – and we won (for now)!
This fight began in 2021, when the Washington Supreme Court ruled via the Blake Decision that existing drug possession laws were unconstitutional because of the possibility for people to be convicted of possession in cases where they weren’t aware that they possessed a substance. Following this court case, it became the responsibility of state legislature to determine how to reshape drug possession laws, which was eventually settled in a 2023 special session. This new law declared drug possession to be a gross misdemeanor, and also newly criminalized the act of public drug use, unprecedented in Washington state.
King County Superior Court has jurisdiction over felony and most gross misdemeanor cases, meaning the county will be responsible for prosecuting new public drug use charges. Seattle City Councilmembers Alex Pederson and Sara Nelson and City Attorney Ann Davison introduced an ordinance that would allow the city of Seattle to prosecute these drug cases.
Many of us know that the War on Drugs has been a long one and its legacy continues. The Coalition and our community partners know that laws like this are not only ineffective, but will disproportionately impact people experiencing homelessness, as any drug use is public drug use when you are unhoused and will most deeply burden Black and Brown community members due to the tendency of biased law enforcement, especially around issues of poverty and substance use.
Well, spoiler alert, the city ordinance failed! Due to a swell of efforts from community organizations and our supporters, the City Council narrowly voted against this ominous policy! We held an Emergency Teach-In that has been viewed live and in retrospect more than 300 times. 181 of our supporters sent 883(!) emails to City Council Members and the City Attorney.
However, as usual, the fight against a new War on Drugs isn’t over. But we know that with everyone’s support, we will realize human centered services and will NOT return to the failed policies of the War on Drugs!
Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy: Endorse Today!
As we’ve discussed in past meetings, the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) is a primary source of revenue for all kinds of services! This includes senior centers, food banks, shelter, permanent supportive housing, services for survivors of domestic violence, and much more! This is how we accomplish important tasks like ending veteran homelessness and how we fund services outside of Seattle.
We implore you to VOTE YES on this measure – King County Prop 1 – by August 1st!
In the meantime, if your organization wants to endorse this levy, visit the campaign’s website at yeskcprop1.com.
Want to learn more? Join the King County Alliance for Human Services on Tuesday, June 20th at 3pm, featuring King County Executive Dow Constantine! Call details:
Zoom URL: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87887598612
Meeting ID: 878 8759 8612
Call-In #: 253-215-8782
Continuum of Care Convening – Register Today!
While the name “continuum of care” is less than descriptive, know that WE, our homeless service providers, mutual aid participants, and local government representatives, as designated by HUD, are a Continuum of Care to end homelessness in our communities. The King County Regional Homelessness Authority is hosting its Continuum of Care Member Convening Meeting on Friday, June 23rd at 9am.
We encourage all of our members to attend! To register as a member, visit the KCRHA website.
Once registered, members can join via Zoom at:
Call-In #: 669-254-5252
Presentations from Seattle Public Library and King County Library System
Most of us know that the public library is an excellent resource for people experiencing homelessness. Libraries in Seattle and King County have a myriad of resources for our unhoused neighbors, including:
- Helpful librarians who can navigate resources
- Physical spaces that include free access to bathrooms, courtesy phones, water, and meeting rooms
- Access to technology, such as computers, printers, and rental hotspots
- Employment Resources, Tech literacy classes, and financial assistance navigators
- Access to tax help and public transportation resources, and other helpful community partnerships
- Early literacy programs at Mary’s Place that offers events and books!
- Substance use recovery resources and referrals (specific to KCLS)
Check out our YouTube video for full presentations from Seattle Public Library and King County Library System.
- Join the Coalition for Provider Trainings! Upcoming trainings include:
- Public Benefits are Key: A Deep Dive into Disability Benefits (ABD to SSI/SSDI). Wednesday 6/28, 9am. Register at this link!
- Public Benefits are Key: Medicaid, Medicare, and Spenddowns. Wednesday 7/12, 9am. Register at this link!
- Our Quarterly Provider Shop Talk – a space to share resources and network. Thursday, July 27th at 2pm.
- Register at this link!
- Our annual McKinney-Vento Training is for any providers who want to better understand legal protections for youth experiencing homelessness and how to access educational and basic needs resources. Tuesday 8/1, 9am. Register at this link!
- The Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence encourages anyone to reach out for support regarding any gender-based violence (domestic violence, sexual assault, or human [labor or sex] trafficking). Email Jenn Dela Cruz (she/they) at jenn[at]endgv[dot]org.
- Ideal Option MAT Clinics is hiring a peer outreach specialist to be based out of Renton/Tukwila. Learn more and apply at this link!
- Lake City Partners Ending Homelessness is hiring a Day Center Host for the God’s Lil’ Acre Day Center in Lake City. This is a great role for a student or someone entering into the field of homeless human services. Learn more and apply at this link!