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Life Lines
 News about programs and people from the 
 Seattle Human Services Department
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Search for a new director


The most important task I have as Acting Director of the Seattle Human Services Department is leading the search for a new director.


I'm happy to report that that process is under way and going well. Helping me on the search committee, are my co-chairs, three highly respected community leaders:

·         Paul Lambros, Executive Director, Plymouth Housing Group

·         David Okimoto, Senior Vice President, United Way of King County and

·         Molly Stearns, Senior Vice President, Seattle Foundation


I am grateful for their support and guidance. The rest of the search committee includes a diverse group of about a dozen people, mostly from the local human services community. The search is focused on local candidates but we are open to considering candidates from elsewhere. We hope to interview candidates by mid-March and make a recommendation to the Mayor in April. Stay tuned!


Kip Tokuda, Acting Director

Mayor's Youth and Family Initiative kicks off on Feb. 22


Join Mayor Mike McGinn at the first public meeting on the Mayor's Youth and Families Engagement Initiative on Monday, Feb. 22, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. S 98118. This is the first in a series of five public workshops to help define a youth and families agenda for Seattle. Activities for childeren aged 3 or over will be provided. The other four meetings will be held on March 1 at Northgate Elementary School, March 8 at Van Asselt Elementary School, March 15 at Denny Middle School, and March 22 at Garfield Community Center. All meetings will be scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The planning effort will also include smaller "caucuses" and meetings, and other means of public input. The Mayor has named three co-chairs to oversee the Youth and Families Engagement Initiative: former Mayor Norm Rice, former Deputy Mayor Bob Watt, and El Centro de la Raza Executive Director Stella Ortega. For more information please see the Mayor's invitation.

Decline in homeless people on street


The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness completed its annual One Night Count of unsheltered homeless persons on Friday morning, Jan. 29. More than 900 volunteers participated, including a staff team from the Seattle Human Services Department. Preliminary results indicate that the unsheltered count dropped by 5% from last year on a same-area basis from 2,827 last year to 2,759 this year. While the need is still great, the drop is significant, particularly at a time when other U.S. cities are seeing sharp increases.

County Council approves Chinook Building child care


Chinook BuildingIn January the King County Council unanimously approved an ordinance allowing development of a child care center in the County's Chinook Building. Seattle Human Services Department staff have been negotiating with the County and its developer, Wright Runstad, for more than three years on this project. The City is providing most of the capital funding for the project with approximately $1 million through the Child Care Bonus Program. In exchange, the County agreed to guarantee the provision of child care in the building for no less than 20 years. The covenant also guarantees that at least 20% of the clients served at the center will have incomes at or below 80% of the area median. Northwest Center will operate the center starting this fall.

Update on stimulus-funded projects
Since the inception of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the City of Seattle has pursued ARRA funding opportunities in a variety of arenas including assistance to vulnerable individuals and families. To date, the City has been awarded a total of more than $72 million in ARRA funds. Here are summaries of some of the projects coordinated through the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD):
  • With nearly $5 million from the federal Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, more than 2,000 households at risk of homelessness will receive services and financial assistance. One hundred homeless families with children and 60 homeless individuals will move quickly from shelters into permanent housing.
  •  With $1.13 million from the Department of Labor through the Workforce Development Council, HSD's Seattle Youth Employment Program served 324 youth, ages 16-24, who are low-income and face barriers such as disability, homelessness, foster care, court involvement, or dropping out of school. (See related article below.)
  • The City's allocation of $3.2 million in Community Development Block Grant will be used to create jobs, rehabilitate low-income housing, and renovate agency facilities. Funds will be used for improvements to two buildings providing affordable housing to  seniors. Stimulus funds will also help renovate four agencies, JFS food bankincluding a food bank, a child care facility, and a meal program. (Pictured at right is the Jewish Family Service food bank, currently being renovated with $500,000 of stimulus funds. Photo courtesy JFS.) 
  • Seattle will receive $458,000 for senior nutrition programs that will provide 52,500 congregate meals to more than 2,600 people; and for home-delivered food, including 28,053 meals for 150 seniors, and 3,744 produce bags for nearly 900 home-bound seniors. Another $77,104 will provide job training and opportunities for older workers.

    ARRA-funded jobs program under way


    With 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, the Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is providing eight-week paid internships to 30 young adults with education and employment barriers, beginning this month. The program will provide a range of experiences that help young adults to develop work-readiness skills, learn about career pathways, including high-growth sectors, draw connections between classroom instruction and the work  setting, and explore post-secondary school opportunities. Participants may work up to 40 hours per week at $8.55/hour. Work sites include Port of Seattle, Leon Sullivan Health Care Center, Seattle Department of Transportation, Swedish Medical Center, and The Nature Consortium. To support participants' ability to translate this experience to long-term employment, SYEP will provide workshops that will enhance participants' work readiness. As part of this program, SYEP is also partnering with the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to provide seven young adults with disabilities with employment training. DVR is providing job coaches for each young adult to identify and make appropriate accommodations for each disability and to help them be successful in their jobs. For more information about SYEP, visit our Web site or call 206-386-1375. 

    Stimulus projects under scrutiny

    Caregiver PhotoMichael Look, manager of the Seattle Human Service Department's (HSD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, was recently in Washington, D.C. as part of a national conference meeting with various officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). One of the discussion topics was reporting requirements for 2009 economic stimulus funding. HSD has several programs funded by the stimulus money, including the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing program. HUD will be closely examining expenditures. Given the high level of scrutiny, it is imperative that agencies respond quickly and accurately to requests from City staff on projects involving stimulus funding. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Michael Look, CDBG manager, 206-615-1717 or

    $300K for youth violence program


    On Jan. 13, Rep. Jim McDermott announced the allocation of $300,000 in federal funding for the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative  (SYVPI). This funding will help serve at-risk youth who have been victims or are involved in gang and youth violence. The initiative has enrolled more than 650 youth. With the new funding the enrollment goal of 800 youth will be much easier to achieve. HSD manages several key components of the youth violence initiative including Case Management, Mentoring, Aggression Replacement Training, Youth Employment, and three Seattle Department of Neighborhood's Matching Fund sustainability grants.

    Upcoming coffee hour to feature Mayor McGinn


    Caregiver PhotoThe Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens is continuing its popular Coffee Hours in 2010, connecting older adults and City decision-makers in an informal setting. On Thursday, Feb. 18, the special guest is Seattle Human Services Department acting director Kip Tokuda. This coffee hour is scheduled in the Central Building, 4th Floor Board Room, 810 3rd Ave., from 10 to 11 a.m. On Thursday, March 18 the guest will be new Mayor Mike McGinn. This will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall, 600 4th Ave. For more information, please call 206-684-0500 or e-mail or visit

    U.S. Census training on March 6 

    Census logoThe Asian and Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation is sponsoring a 2010 Census Public Education Training & Education Session for Saturday, March 6, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98118. The training will provide census outreach material and strategies and address challenges facing various communities. For more information e-mail or call 206-625-3850.

    Web site features 'universal design'

    A new Web site,, offers information, resources and guidelines to educate and promote the use of "universal design." Universal design is a concept for designing all aspects of the built environment-homes, landscapes, commercial development with the goal of making them accessible to every person, regardless of age or ability. Seattle Human Services Department staff were instrumental in developing and producing the Web site, and will help maintain it. The site offers helpful information for builders, home remodelers, local planning departments, and people who are looking for a place to live that will meet their changing needs as they age.
    Update agency status during emergencies
    Crisis Clinic logoA message to human services agencies and partners: do you want to let your clients and the general public know if you are open or closed during a disaster or snow storm? During or following a disaster or severe weather incident, please contact the 2-1-1/Crisis Clinic Disaster Resource Update Line at 206-436-2992 to update your status. This is a 24-hour voice mail that will be checked frequently during an event. Please leave the following information: 
    • Agency/program name
    • Agency contact person and the best way to reach that person
    • Current status of agency/program - hours of operation, changes to ability to serve clients, etc.
    • If your status changes again during or following the emergency, such as when the agency returns to normal service status, please contact this number again to make an update.
    For more information click here.
    In This Issue
    From the Director
    Youth & Family Plan
    Homeless Count
    Child Care in Chinook
    Stimulus Update
    Youth Jobs Program
    HUD Keeping Tabs
    Youth Violence Program
    Coffee Hours
    Census Training
    Universal Design
    Emergency Planning
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    Contact Information
    Life Lines is published by the City of Seattle's Human Service Department (HSD). The mission of the department is to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work and take part in strong, healthy communities. We welcome your comments. Visit us on the Web for more information. If you have questions, please contact David Takami, HSD, at or 206-684-0253.