Welcome Back, Members!
In this action-packed meeting, we discuss the importance of investing in essential workers and how that impacts the services we provide our clients. Keep reading (or watch the recording below) to learn about the end of the HEN program waiver, opportunities for service provider budget advocacy, updates to WA voter eligibility, and other community updates.
The End of the HEN Waiver
As the COVID-19 State of Emergency ends in WA, some of our clients may be losing (and some may have new access to) Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) benefits– read our End of HEN Waiver blog for more details on this.
We were joined by Trisha Matthieu and Teresa Dillard from Catholic Community Services to share information about important changes with the HEN program and their new Transportation and Essential Needs services.
Trisha and Teresa provided the following updates:
- If your client has been declared ineligible, housing benefits will end on 1/28/2023. Contact DSHS as soon as possible to restore eligibility and avoid a lapse in benefits!
- King County is the only county in Washington that has chosen to extend current client’s HEN assistance to January. We appreciate our King County service providers and advocates!
- Eligibility letters have already been sent, which direct people who may be ineligible for HEN to contact DSHS to reapply
- Catholic Community Services pledges to double-check the eligibility of every recipient to avoid
- Catholic Community Services will follow up with everyone receiving SSI or SSDI to share resource options
- Transportation resources are available to HEN-eligible clients starting on November 15th. No appointment is necessary! Walk-in hours at LOCATION on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Check out the CCW HEN webpage for updated information.
Need more info? Read more about HEN program offerings and updates on our blog.
Have client-related questions?
- Reach out to Teresa at TeresaD@ccsww.org or Teresa at PMatthieu@ccsww.org.
- You can also email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org (please put “Ask a Lawyer” in the subject line).
Spread the Word: Most of us are Eligible to Vote!
Coalition member Tim reminded us that Election Day is rapidly approaching! Remind your friends, family, and community members to submit their ballots by November 8th – and an extra reminder that you don’t need a home to vote and those of us with felony convictions CAN vote in Washington! Read more at on our blog.
We want to make it easy for you and your clients to vote, let us know how we can support you! The Coalition is working to spread the word about voter eligibility and the importance of elections. If you want the Coalition to share education and resources to your clients following the General Election, email Tim!
Budget Advocacy: Fund our Essential Service Provider Contracts!
Homelessness and housing service providers know best that we have been living through a homelessness crisis for some time now, which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing housing affordability. In turn, our homelessness crisis will be exacerbated by a workforce crisis, as homeless service providers will leave their positions if they are not compensated fairly.
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and King County Executive Dow Constantine have transmitted their proposed budgets to Councils. Now Seattle City Council and King County Council have mere weeks to adjust these proposals before they vote on final budgets November 21. Mayor Harrell’s budget would effectively CUT millions of dollars from human services contracts, reducing workers’ wages in this sector even further. The Coalition is asking for a revised budget that provides human service contract allocations include at least a 7.6% increase to be in line with record-breaking inflation.
Read more about city and county budget advocacy on our Budget Advocacy Landing Page.
We were joined by Phoebe Feldsher from OPEIU Local 8, who shared their experience of continued advocacy for livable wages for homeless service providers. They shared a few important points:
- Mayor Harrell is trying to balance the budget by cutting pay of human service workers
- We cannot exploit the compassion of human service workers!
- Underfunding human service contracts is a structural problem, which is why we will need a structural solution in the form of long-term cost-of-living increases in line with inflation.
- A 7.6% inflationary increase to human service contracts is the minimum increase to prevent backslide – moving forward, we also need to increase the value of our contracts
We were also joined by Angélica Cházarro from Solidarity Budget, who makes connections between police accountability, true community safety, and housing/houselessness. Check out their plans for budget advocacy over the next few weeks on their website! You can also email Angélica with questions!
Want to Advocate for Fair Service Provider Wages?
We at The Coalition value your work and know that council members will be more likely to amend the budget if they hear from you!
Visit our Budget Advocacy Landing Page to sign up to give public comment at the Seattle City Council or King County Council.
Do you work or live in Seattle and value human services? Sign in to deliver remote testimony on the Seattle City Council website! The next opportunity is Tuesday, October 25th at 9:30am.
Amarinthia Torres, a policy advocate from the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence, as well as our own Alison Eisinger, have a few tips for giving effective public comment:
- Get to the point of what you’re asking for quickly – you have a limited amount of time to speaks can run out of time
- Use plain language and specifically describe your work – not all policymakers understand what a typical day may look like, so give examples
- Share the impact your work has on community members
- Frame your argument positively, not deficit-based – “funding can allow us to house people”, not “without funding, we can’t do our jobs”
Expect more from us very soon – such as a tip sheet for delivering public comment!
Stay Tuned for these Community Events and Updates!
Stimulus Checks and Tax Benefit Briefing
Your client way be eligible for unclaimed federal benefits! The IRS is working to outreach to approximately nine million Americans who have not claimed important benefits such as 2021 stimulus checks and several tax credits. Beneficiaries will need to claim these benefits by November 17th, so act fast!
For more information, join the Coalition for Stimulus Checks and Tax Benefits: A Special Briefing on Tuesday, November 3rd, 1-2pm. Register at this link!
Apply for Student Debt Relief
President Biden announced his administration will be canceling $20,000 of federal student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 of federal debt for other borrowers, reaching a total of 43 million borrowers. Do you have student debt? Apply now on studentaid.gov!
November General Membership Meeting
Join The Coalition at our November General Membership Meeting on November 17th at 9am!
Topics will include provider resources in response to a change to the public charge rule, information about the new 988 and existing King County Crisis Line, and updates on on Essential Work, Essential Workers campaign.
December General Membership Meeting
Join The Coalition at our November General Membership Meeting on December 15th at 9am!
We will be joined by some of our favorite housing advocates for a preview to the 2023 WA state legislative session.
Ballard Food Bank is Hiring!
Do you want to support community members to achieve their goals and gain important resources? Want to belong to an organization that provides access to nutritious food, financial resources, referral, and mail services? Ballard Food Bank may be the right place for you! Apply for their Case Manager position, which offers a salary of $65-70,000 and a comprehensive benefits package.