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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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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Who says “we can’t build our way out of homelessness”?

Guest blog post by Rachael Myers, Executive Director, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. We frequently hear the phrase “we can’t build our way out of homelessness.” It’s a talking point that people often use when advocating for important strategies like safe places for homeless folks to camp or rapid rehousing programs. Everyone is making the same, valuable point – given our current resources, we need to address the problem using all the tools we have available. I know we all agree on that point so let’s start saying that directly. “We can’t build our way out of homelessness” doesn’t accurately convey what we mean and is in fact harmful to our efforts to generate more resources to expand housing for people experiencing homelessness. A few thoughts about why this is a problem: The statement assumes that there is a resistance or ignorance among federal, state, and local policy makers regarding housing people experiencing homelessness in ways other than building housing. In fact federal, state, and local policy makers have for years recognized and invested in other methods of getting people housed like Section 8 vouchers, state and local vouchers, or other rapid rehousing efforts. It is harmful because it singles out one valuable approach to housing people experiencing homelessness as ineffective. If we can’t build our way out of the problem why should we invest in the Housing Trust Fund or tax ourselves for our local housing levy? The fact is given enough resources we can build our way out of the problem. We could potentially also voucher our way out of the problem, again with enough resources, enough landlords willing to accept people experiencing homelessness, and supportive services for those who need that level of help. We need to do both, and more. Again, the point we all agree …

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Coalition Support helps the Homeless Student Stability Act stay Alive!

Katara Jordan of Columbia Legal Services shared the following message with supporters of the Homeless Student Stability Act (HB 1682), which is alive and well (currently scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education at 8am, Thursday, March 19).  She especially wanted to thank Coalition members for their great support, calls, and postcard signing which was critical to keeping this bill alive and moving.   Keep calling in and letting your legislators know that our state needs better support for students experiencing homelessness and this is possible with the Homeless Student Stability Act! Visit our bill tracker for most up to date info. Friends, Friday, February 27 was critical in the fight to increase state support for homeless students. That morning, it appeared that the Homeless Student Stability Act would not receive a hearing in either the House or Senate budget committees. The 27th was the last day for bills to pass out of state fiscal committees. And generally bills must receive a public hearing before they are allowed to do so. Your effort calling your Representatives helped us secure a public hearing in Appropriations on the Homeless Student Stability Act —a necessary step to increase state support for homeless students. You were genuinely instrumental in securing a hearing for this bill! THANK YOU!   We have even more exciting to news to share! On March 6, the House overwhelmingly passed HB 1682 (the Homeless Student Stability Act) in a vote of 82-16! Representatives Fey, Stambaugh, and Magendanz all gave great speeches on the importance of supporting homeless students and their families! This bill would provide increased in-school support for homeless students as well as create new housing partnerships between school districts and community organizations. With this bill, we could not just shelter …

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