Julia’s reflection on the 2015 Homeless and Formerly Homeless Youth Advocacy Summit

Six weeks into my internship with the Coalition on Homelessness, and my experiences have been above and beyond any of my expectations a month ago. Two weeks ago, I was excited to be a part of the 10th Annual Homeless and Formerly Homeless Youth Advocacy Summit (October 5-6, 2015). While doing advocacy work in Minnesota, I learned that I would constantly learn and grow by witnessing folks advocate around issues that impact their lives, and my time at the Youth Advocacy Summit proved to be no exception to this rule! Having just supported the Coalition’s 2015 Voter Registration drive, one of the highlights of the Summit for me was witnessing young people choosing to participate in advocacy by exercising their right to vote. Over the course of the Summit, I was particularly excited to watch people think in a different, new way about voting. On the first day of the Summit, one participant was pretty vocal in their choice to not register to vote, feeling that their vote wasn’t enough to make change. Through conversations with other Summit participants, discussions about our elected officials in city and county government, and time to reflect, this participant changed their mind and decided to register! They are ready to have their voice heard in the upcoming election, and will do so through their vote as well as their conversations with Councilmembers during and beyond the Youth Advocacy Summit. Participants at the Youth Advocacy Summit took on no small task! I was impressed by these advocates’ commitment over two very full days (three days for Peer Leaders!) of discussing some of the hard work that needs to be done in this community. Advocates worked on and presented one of four issues throughout the Summit: 1 – Need for an increase in the numbers of available permanent and affordable housing units 2 – Issues specifically impacting People of …

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Recap: Families with Children 5/27/15 meeting: with the American Muslims Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA)

Arsalan Bukhari, Executive Director of the American Muslims Council on American-Islamic Relationships in Washignton State (CAIR-WA) joined the FWC committee to present on topics of Islamic practices and working effectively with American Muslim clients.  Arsalan’s presentation was timely as many of our service providers work with Muslim clients who are getting ready to move into the month of Ramadan (starts on/around June 17, 2015).  Committee members were engaged and had a variety of questions answered through both Arsalan’s presentation and a Q&A.  We hope to have Arsalan back in the future to talk more in depth about these topics and how they interact with homelessness and housing. View slides for the presentation here.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact CAIR-WA.  You can also find CAIR-WA on Facebook with photos from our meeting. www.cairseattle.org 206.367.4081 info@cairseattle.org Thank you Arsalan!   Coalition updates from the meeting: Sign up to volunteer for Project Cool 2015 or let Hillary know if you want to host a supply drive. Ask your dentist to be the tooth fairy for homeless students with this letter. Legislative Session Updates We’re into our second special session and still pushing for a fair budget for a safe, healthy, housed Washington.  Make sure to keep calling Olympia to let your legislators know what you support (1-800-562-6000).  Sample messages are below. Invest (at least) $80 million in the Housing Trust Fund. Pass HB 2263 which will allow local communities to raise the funds necessary to help create more affordable homes & maintain valuable mental health services. Restore cuts to families receiving TANF benefits. I urge you to make sure that the final budget restores at least 9% of the 15% cut from TANF grants, and fully funds State Food Assistance. Support our 2-1-1/ WA Telephone Assistance Program / Community Voicemail systems. …

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In Support of Organized Tent Camp Ordinance by City of Seattle

The following comments, written by Alison Eisinger, Director of the Coalition on Homelessness, were shared at the Seattle City Council Meeting on Monday, March 30, 2015 in support of CB 118310, an Ordinance to permit transitional tent camps for homeless individuals as an interim use on City-owned or private property.  Hillary Coleman, Social Justice Intern at the Coalition, read Alison’s remarks as Alison was out of town at a conference.  We are glad to say that the ordinance passed unanimously!  We also supported an amendment by Councilmember Sawant to review permitting camps in residential zones which passed as well!  Thank you City Council, let’s keep working together to provide more shelter and housing options for our community.  View testimony from many Coalition friends here.  Hillary reads Alison’s remarks at 45:40.  Thank you for taking up Mayor Murray’s version of CM Licata’s original proposal to create more opportunities for organized tent camps in Seattle. The Coalition strongly supports passage of this proposed legislation. We also support the amendments that would address the fact that homelessness is not confined to specific neighborhoods, cities, or communities, and the solutions to homelessness — both interim and permanent — must not be restricted geographically either. People who are without basic shelter in our community are currently living in all kinds of neighborhoods. When 1100 volunteers counted 3.772 people outside during this year’s One Night Count, they counted people in Queen Anne, Ballard, SoDo, Lake City Way, Georgetown, and Ravenna.  They also counted people in Renton, in Kent, Kirkland, ,Kenmore, Vashon Island, Bellevue, Redmond, and Des Moines. In considering making additional city-owned property available for organized tent camps, the council should not seek to limit which neighborhoods they can occur in. Our city policy should reflect our values: people who are homeless should be living in residential neighborhoods- …

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Two opportunities to make sure the voices of our homeless and low income community are heard: Tent Cities & Transportation in Seattle.

Share your thoughts and input about Transportation Levy to MOVE SEATTLE! Last week, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray introduced Move Seattle, his ten-year transportation vision that integrates our plans for transit, walking, biking, and freight.  We encourage you to check out the information on the proposal, take this online survey, and attend one of three community conversations to share your input. Saturday, March 28, 10am – 12pm at New Holly Gathering Hall: 7054 32nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118 Monday, March 30, 6pm – 8pm at Roosevelt High School: 1410 NE 66th St, Seattle, WA 98115 Tuesday, March 31, 6pm – 8pm at West Seattle High School: 3000 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 Read all about the proposed levy and stay up to date here. Seattle City Council to vote on Homeless Tent City Ordinance on Monday, March 30.  A zoning ordinance to permit transitional tent cities for individuals experiencing homelessness on Seattle City-owned or private property was recently passed out of the Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee and will come to vote by the Full Seattle City Council this Monday, March 30 at 2.00 p.m. (This proposal is based on Councilmember Nick Licata’s original legislation from two years ago, which we helped develop, and has been reworked  by Mayor Ed Murray as a result of the recommendations of the Unsheltered Homelessness Task Force this year.) The Coalition supports safety for people who are homeless outside, including organized tent cities, and calls on all members of the Seattle City Council to vote yes and pass the proposed ordinance.  Along with our members, we will be present at the City Council meeting to share our collective voice on this important issue. We will also remind City Council members that they must work with Mayor Murray to ensure that he keeps his …

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