Welcome Back, Members!
As the days are getting shorter and the weather gets drizzlier, you can be sure that the Coalition can put some pep in your step with one of our General Membership Meetings!
This month, we had an energizing mix of community program spotlights, advocacy opportunities, and program updates.
On Thursday, October 19th, we covered:
- A reminder about the Public Health Unwinding and Medicaid coverage and advocacy resources from Northwest Health Law Advocates
- An overview of services from Disability Empowerment Center – including free peer case management, resources, and referrals for your clients with disabilities
- Updates on the Seattle Housing Levy and how you can help to make sure it passes!
- Details on Seattle and King County budget advocacy – we shared our priorities and how you can get involved to pass budget we can be proud of!
Advocacy for Those Who Have Lost Medicaid Coverage
Many of us are aware that as the Public Health Emergency Unwinding continues, Medicaid clients continue to lose their health coverage. For more information about this, King County DCHS has a well-written blog available at this link. In short, Medicaid recipients must verify their eligibility in order to continue receiving benefits – without doing so, their coverage will end. DSHS has been mailing renewal letters to Medicaid recipients, allowing 90 days to verify continued eligibility. We know that our unhoused neighbors are less likely to receive notice due to lack of a consistent mailing address, and therefore may lose coverage as a result.
Do you know Medicaid recipients who still need to verify eligibility?
MAGI Medicaid recipients (people who are 19-64; children; pregnant people who are not disabled) should renew their coverage at www.wahealthplanfinder.org or call the Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633.
Classic Medicaid recipients (people who are 65+, blind, or disabled) should renew at washingtonconnection.org or DSHS at 1-877-501-2233.
People who are no longer eligible for Apple Care due to changes in household size, income, or other life changes, may be eligible for another Qualified Health Plan, which may offer assistance to pay premiums. To apply for a Qualified Health Plan, visit wahealthplanfinder.org.
Do you know someone who has lost their coverage? Northwest Health Law Advocates wants to hear from you. Email nohla[at]nohla[dot]org or call 206-325-6464 to share your experience.
Seattle Voters: Don’t Forget to Vote YES on Prop 1 to Renew the Seattle Housing Levy
Many of you may already be familiar with the Seattle Housing Levy, an important source of city revenue that provides affordable housing, and services to those who have experienced or been at risk of homelessness. Since 1986, this levy has created or rehabbed over 12,000 homes, and currently houses over 16,000 Seattle residents. And it’s time to renew it again!
If passed, the Seattle housing Levy expects to raise $970 million over 7 years – a larger amount than the past renewal because the increased cost of construction, the rate of inflation, and increasing maintenance to keep older housing sites operational for low-income and chronically homeless tenants. Learn more about the Seattle Housing Levy at yesforhomes.org.
We can pass the Seattle Housing Levy and other important measures with your support! On October 14th, we held our Essential Workers Say Yes for Homes Phone Bank, where a passionate group pf advocates, service providers, program staff, and private citizens reached 270 Seattle voters! Sign up for future phone banking opportunities at https://forms.gle/98cA5zU5jDsVKaFd6.
And don’t forget to VOTE YES on Seattle Prop. 1 by 11/7 to renew the Seattle Housing Levy!
There’s Plenty More on the Ballot: Spread the Word!
In addition to the Seattle Housing Levy, there are lots of candidates and measures to vote on all around King County, including city council races and school district levies that need your input!
Many of you may have already received your ballots. However, if you haven’t, it’s not too late! You can register and update your address online and by mail by Monday 10/30, or in person at a King County Voter Center all the way up until 8pm on Election Day (Tuesday, 11/7) – that’s right: you can register to vote and cast your ballot on the same day in Washington! If already registered, you can also reprint your ballot online.
Once you’ve filled out your ballot, make sure return it to a drop box by 8pm on Tuesday, November 7th (click here for drop box locations), or by mail – note that ballots need to be postmarked by November 7th at 5pm.
Find more information on the King County Elections website or call King County Elections at 206-296-8683 (VOTE).
Seattle and King County Budget Advocacy
It’s that time again: Seattle and King County have released their proposed budget updates for 2024 and we need your help to ensure key investments for our essential homeless service providers!
This year, our priorities include:
- 7.5% inflation adjustments for homeless provider service contracts
- 3.5% real wage increases for homeless service providers, in line with recommendations from the UW School of Social Work
- Full funding for programs with one-time funding that provide essential services for people experiencing homelessness in Seattle and King County
So far, our friends at the Seattle Office of the Mayor have proposed a 7.5% inflation adjustment and 2% real wage increases. Less aligned with our priorities is the King County supplemental budget, which may include cuts to human service contracts due to a significant revenue shortfall. And yet, we will persist!
We know that city and county council members are not subject matter experts – but you are! We know that your experiences working with people experiencing homelessness and other hardships are essential to create informed budgets that fully fund our human service contracts and fairly compensate human service providers. This is why we need your support to deliver public comment to City of Seattle and King County – sign up at https://bit.ly/2023budgetadvocacy.
For support with your testimony, the Coalition will be hosting Public Comment Clinics – these will be supportive spaces to practice your testimony, hear constructive feedback, and get kudos for doing important work! Sign up for Public Comment Clinics at https://bit.ly/2023budgetadvocacy.
Hear more from Hali and Alison about budget advocacy on YouTube!
Program Spotlight: Disability Empowerment Center
The final slot in our meeting was saved for a special guest with resources for your unhoused clients with disabilities. Join Cassidy Thorne of Disability Empowerment Center to learn about case management and free resources that respect the agency and independence of those who need access to housing, transportation, employment, and healthcare access.
Our unhoused neighbors face a number of barriers, including disabilities. It is estimated that nearly 2 in 5 people experiencing homelessness have a disability, compared to less than 1 in 5 in the general population. Disability Empowerment Center provides free services for those who live in king County and are 14+. Services include:
- One-on-one skills training
- Peer support groups
- Resources and referrals for needs such as:
- Housing Referrals
- Utility assistance
- Job Search and Employment Readiness
- Transportation support
- Healthcare Access
- …and more!
Hear more from Cassidy about resources for your client and community members with disabilities on YouTube!
To make a referral to Disability Empowerment Center, visit their website at disabilityempowerment.org or call 1-866-545-7055.