We debriefed the recently wrapped up state legislative session, discussed policy wins and next steps in implementation with Representative Tarra Simmons, Representative Nicole Macri, & Senator Patty Kuderer. We were joined by our newest team member Sara Robbins who will preview an upcoming Coalition public benefits training series to help you navigate new and expanded state and federal assistance programs. You got a chance to meet our new prospective Board of Director candidates and find out how your organization can become a Coalition member to be eligible to cast a vote in our Board election. We reflected on the past year of our collective work and express our thanks to meeting attendees with a small token of appreciation. Our meeting closed with the joy and healing powers of music from special guest musical performance from the one and only Reggie Garrett
Read on for details, and If you find this content useful to you in your role as a service provider, please sign up for our Homeless Service and Housing Network email list.
Statewide Legislative Advocacy Debrief
The state legislative session has ended. Thank you all for speaking up during this state legislative session. Your advocacy helped us pass laws that will house ~1,600 people experiencing or at risk chronic homelessness in King County (HB 1070, which ensures the count can purchase properties to implement their Health through Housing initiative).
You have also helped us pass laws that prevent homelessness and strengthen tenant protections (HB 1277, SB 5160, HB 1236). Other wins include more inclusive zoning laws that ensure cities can’t ban shelter or supportive housing (HB 1220), and voting rights restoration to people on community custody (HB 1078). We will highlight these wins and more on Thursday.
Public Benefits Training Series
Thanks in part to your advocacy, historic new investments in State and Federal public assistance programs are making their way to our community. Public benefit programs are a lifeline to the people we serve but can be tricky to navigate. The Coalition has brought on Sara Robbins, a public benefits attorney and advocate with decades of experience to help us develop an on-going training series to help you navigate these systems.
As we develop these training materials, we want to hear from you and the people you work with on what would be most useful to your work. Please take two minutes to fill out our training needs survey here.
Stimulus Checks for the Unhoused
Click here to view the recording and materials from our May Tax Filing 101 Workshops with United Way King County.
Millions of Americas have struggled to claim their Economic Impact Payments, particularly people experiencing homelessness (check out this article in the Seattle Times for details). Those who have not yet claimed some or all their stimulus funds can still claim their benefit by filing a 2020 tax return.
The Coalition, in partnership with United Way of King County, have put together a workshop to help homeless service providers help the people they serve get the funds they are entitled to. Click here to view a recording of the workshop along with a host of materials.
Stimulus Check Advocacy Follow Up
Community Mail programs (and they clients they serve) have reported issues with receiving stimulus checks from the IRS. We believe these addresses have been flagged due to fraud concerns. After collecting extensive feedback from clients and staff at our member organizations, we brought our concerns to our allies in the Federal government in hopes of reaching a solution.
Thanks to feedback from our members, the IRS will be re-issuing stimulus checks to countless unhoused folks in King County.
On Friday May 7, the IRS agreed to remove the address suspicion flag from locations we reported to them, and have agreed to re-issue all retuned paper stimulus checks to those who receive their mail at the affected addresses. Payments will be re-issued within the next 3-4 weeks, we encourage you to follow up in mid-June to confirm payments were received. This would not have happened without dedicated advocacy and follow up from our members in direct service positions. We want to say thank you to Dawn Whiston and the outreach case managers on the REACH team for elevating this, and to the staff at Representative Pramila Jayapal’s office for taking this information and pushing for a solution.
Address flags have been removed from the following locations:
- Reach- 2133 3rd Avenue, #116, Seattle, WA 98121
- Compass Housing Alliance- 77 S Washington St, Seattle, WA 98104
- Ballard Food Bank- 5130 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
- St. Vincent de Paul Georgetown Food Bank. 5972 4th Ave S, Seattle 98108
- New Bethlehem Family Day Center. 11920 NE 80th St, Suite 100, Kirkland WA 98033
- Kent Family Engagement Center. 1225 W Smith St, Kent WA 98032
- Federal Way Day Center. 33505 13th Pl S, Suite D. Federal Way, WA 98003
We believe there are other social service addresses that may have been flagged as well. If you believe your program has been impacted, please email Jason@homelessinfo.org so we can pass the information along to Representative Jayapal’s staff.
Board of Directors Election
The Coalition on Homelessness is a membership driven organization. Each year, organizations that are current on their membership dues have an opportunity to cast a vote on our slate of Board or Director candidates. This year, we are honored to introduce the slate of three candidates to serve a three year term on the Board of Directors:
- Patricia Allen-Dick,
- Keiko Budech,
- Nancy Connolly.
If your agency is current on their 2021 Coalition membership dues, we will be following up with your designated voting representative with online voting instructions soon. Online voting will open during our membership meeting on May 20 and will close at 5pm on Thursday, May 27. If you are unsure who your designated voting representative is, please contact Aline Carton-Listfjeld, Coalition Operations Director for assistance.
If your organization has not yet renewed their membership with the Coalition, now is the time! For your organization to be eligible to vote, Coalition staff must receive the attached membership form and dues (or commitment via email that dues will be paid within 30 days) by Friday May 28. Please see our membership materials for more information, and contact Aline Carton-Listfjeld, Coalition Operations Director for assistance.
We took time to reflect on our collective work this past year, you can view our slideshow here. From the passage of JumpStart Seattle and King County Health Through Housing, to our project-based work in voter registration and Project Cool for Back to School, we wanted to thank our members for powering our work. Thank you to Joy Scott for sharing information on our South King County Forum meetings, click here to learn more. And thank you to Dietra Clayton from Sophia Way for discussing the Eastside Homelessness Advisory Committee, which meets again on Thursday June 3 from 10:30am to Noon. If you are an interested eastside service provider, click here to join the meeting. We also heard from Stephanie Page with Hopelink, who shared the details of an on-going case manager training series the Coalition helped bring to the community. Their next workshop is all about how to navigate credit reports, click here for more information.
A huge thank you to Reggie Garrett for closing our meeting with a wonderful musical performance, including a recently released ballad dedicated to the one and only Stacy Abrams. You can browse his past performances here on his YouTube channel, and if you wish to support Reggie and purchase some of his work you can do so here.