Happy near-end of January, everyone! We’re in the midst of one of our busiest month’s at the Coalition on Homelessness. But that doesn’t mean we’re giving up on our new Recap Tradition. Without further ado, here’s what happened at the Coalition’s General Member Meeting, held on January 16, 2014.
As a reminder, the General Member Meeting takes place every third Thursday of the month from 9.00 – 11.00 a.m. at the East Cherry YWCA (2820 E. Cherry Street in Seattle). For more information, check our website’s Members’ tab for a link to the ‘Committees & Meetings’ page, or simply follow this link to take you there directly. Our next General Member Meeting is Thursday, February 20, 2014.
Introducing the new Director at Committee to End Homelessness King County
- Mark Putnam, who last worked for Building Changes, is now the new Director at the CEHKC.
- Mark spoke about why this work is important and what his goals and hopes are as Director. Here’s a quick paraphrase of Mark’s words:
- Our community is vast and large, and we are committed to listening. Will be holding many community meetings to get input and hear from folks.
- Speaking with Legislators about legislative priorities.
- Understands that people are looking for solutions and leadership beyond incarceration/police involvement, moving folks who are homeless from one neighborhood to the next.
- We’re thinking hard about what’s next — the long-term, clear goal is focus.
- Please do get connected with CEHKC — attend the Governing Board meetings, which are open to all.
Committee to End Homelessness: Governance changes and process
- Kate Speltz, King County – Homeless Housing Programsm, and Eileen Denham, City of Seattle Human Services Department, joined us to give background and information on next steps. Here’s a quick paraphrase of what they shared:
- Reminder: King County receives $24 Million in McKinney funding.
- Useful terminology: HEARTH Act is the re-authorization of McKinney.
- Useful terminology: Continuum of Care = all of us who work together to end homelessness.
- Considering the Federal requirements, we’re aiming to be competitive and solid, asking ourselves, “How can we work better.” This is why we are looking at the structure of CEH.
- (Side Note: The Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH) holds positions on CEH’s Governing Board and Interagency Council. Expect to get quarterly reports on both at our General Member Meetings.)
- In spring, CEH will hold large, community-wide meetings re: Continuum of Care.
- Taking a step back: Good things have come out of the HEARTH Act, such as 71 projects that are funded, Continuum of Care, CEH, and HUD is even providing money to fund a staff (as opposed to the City of Seattle and King County subsidizing staff).
- Kate and Eileen posed three questions to the group: (1) What recommendations do you have for getting input from the community? (2) What kind of communication is most helpful? (3) What other questions or concerns do you have?
- As a group, we all shared our connection (if there is one) with CEH. Answers ranged from no involvement to too much information to digest each month (send a monthly one to two-pager!) to make language accessible to I don’t know about it but want to hear more (PR campaign?).
- Please contact Eileen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kate (email@example.com) to get more information and/or provide feedback. All of it is very welcome.
2014 Legislative Session Update
- Tony Lee of Solid Ground spoke about the current Legislative session, which runs from January 13 – March 13, 2014. Here’s a quick paraphrase of what he said:
- This short session is all about fixing technical problems and adding to the Supplemental Budget.
- EDUCATION. House Democrats and the Governor want to put more money into K-12 education. Remember that the State Supreme Court just ruled to retain jurisdiction (very unusual!) over the case, saying that our State isn’t doing enough to fully fund basic education (see: McCleary decision). The Court wants $4-6 Billion more to fund basic education, which means we either need the revenue to do so or there will be more cuts to Health and Human Services (HHS). Governor Inslee says that he won’t create a crisis in HHS to fund the K-12 crisis. Big question right now: how will the State deal with this over the next 4-5 years?
- BASIC NEEDS. Speaker Chopp will protect the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program. His big concern is about the budget being swept to the General Fund.
- BASIC NEEDS. Preserve Aged, Blind or Disabled (ABD) Cash Assistance program. Most folks on ABD are there because they are waiting to get onto SSI. For those who qualify for SSI, the State is refunded; it’s only a small percentage of people on ABD who don’t qualify. A big problem right now is that folks who moved from HEN to ABD are losing their Section 8 housing.
- BASIC NEEDS. There are concerns about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) because there will be a surplus and it’s important this money not be swept to the General Fund. Remember, surplus is not for lack of need — it’s because (1) the 5-year time limit and (2) we’ve restricted the grant size, which directly restricts recipient qualification.
- South King County and East King County have swing Legislators and they will determine a lot of what happens. So, please call and have everyone you know out that way call, too.
- A question was asked about the Housing Trust Fund. Tony’s response was that the Housing Trust Fund is the best method to decrease homelessness among school-age children. We must put pressure and call out Governor Inslee and the Legislature on this issue without attacking. The Governor is a passionate, decent person, so being politically active is the way to go. “If poor people and advocates don’t make noise, bad things happen.”
New Legislation briefing: Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP)
- Merf Ehman and Melissa Lee of Columbia Legal Services presented on this new piece of legislation.
- Here’s the FAQ and one-pager: Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity QA and Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity.
- Applies to almost all crimes. Sex offenses cannot qualify at this time.
- The $50 fee can be waived if one cannot afford it. Remember that the fee is a document recording fee, which funds our work in homelessness. It’s important for us to advocate with people who need the fee waived.
- Rep. Walkinshaw (new 43rd District Representative) is working the House Bill. There will be a Senate Bill.
- Unique piece of legislation because King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg is partnering on this issue. He is working on re-entry issues.
- Big Ask: Please share stories with Merf (Merf.Ehman@ColumbiaLegal.org) and Melissa (Melissa.Lee@ColumbiaLegal.org). As they said, this is a small but important step to moving forward. We need more justice and less homelessness.
Access to Public Transportation Advocacy: Reduced Fare proposal advances!
- Doug Hodson of Metro and April Putney of MoveKingCountyNow came to discuss this new, exciting proposal. Here’s what they had to say:
- [April says…] Starting this fall, there will be 17% cuts to Metro because of the Transportation gridlock in Olympia. King County Executive Constantine said that we are moving forward without the State.
- [April says…] MoveKingCountyNow is a broad, fast-moving coalition that supports a fairer fare. The timeline for this campaign is a short three-step: (1) February 4, 2014 public hearing on if Metro should save bus cuts; (2) February 10 and 24, 2014 – King County Council will take action; and (3) Vote YES! on your ballots come April.
- [April says…] Yes, it’s grossly inadequate funding sources, but this is all we have; this is where we are. (Remember, we used to have a tax on the value of a car but that option was taken off the table after an Eyman-driven vote.)
- [Doug says…] All current fares are subject to a 25 cent increase — includes Youth, Seniors, and people with Disabilities. The reduced fare would not be subject to an increase.
- [Doug says…] About the reduced fare proposal:
- 200% of Federal Poverty Line will qualify.
- One-year eligibility
- Goal is for it to be non-stigmatizing, ready to work
- $54/mo unlimited pass would be available
- This will help increase the circulation of Social Service tickets by approximately 30%.
- SoundTransit is aware and involved on this issue as it will affect how they move forward with their plans.
- One Night Count
- King County Winter Shelter advocacy
- Federal Reserve Bank
Save these dates on your calendar:
- 2014 One Night Count will be overnight Thursday, Jan. 23 to Friday, Jan. 24.
- Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day is Tuesday, Jan. 28. Register at www.wliha.org.
- Homelessness Advocacy 101: Beyond the One Night Count Workshops: Saturday, February 1 FREE , fun, interactive! In Seattle and Kent. Register at www.homelessinfo.org.
- Have a Heart for Kids Day: Monday, Feb. 3
- Youth Advocacy Day: Friday, Feb. 14. Register with Mockingbird Society.
- Legislative Session runs January 13 – March 13, 2014
We look forward to seeing you at the next General Member Meeting on Thursday, February 20, 2014! And be sure to check back here for a Recap following each meeting.