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Life Lines
 News about people and programs from the 
 Seattle Human Services Department
MARCH 2010
2009 Accomplishments
Caregiver PhotoLast year, the recession continued to strain our "safety net" with the most severe impact felt in our low-income communities. One-time federal stimulus funding helped, but the City budget was extremely tight and the Seattle Human Services Department's role to help people in need became more vital than ever. I'm proud of the work of our staff and community partners do to serve the city's most vulnerable people. We will continue this work in the upcoming budget process, which will be extremely challenging as well.
Below are just a few highlights from the past year. For a more complete summary, click here. In 2009, the City  
  • Spent $40 million to support homeless people, including helping more than 1,390 homeless households move into permanent or transitional housing
  • Enrolled 516 4-year-olds in Step Ahead Preschool, 87% of whom were assessed as school ready
  • Placed 611 young people enrolled in the summer Seattle Youth Employment Program in internships and group projects
  • Provided services or support for caregivers to 34,000 older adults and adults with disabilities to help them remain in their homes
  • Helped through City-funded agencies thousands of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault with services, shelter, transitional housing and legal assistance
  • Helped through the PeoplePoint program more than 11,000 people access benefits including food assistance, child care, preschool, utility assistance and health insurance.

Serving Muckleshoot Indian elders


Native American CaptionLocated about 34 miles southeast of Seattle between Auburn and Enumclaw, the Muckleshoot Indian tribe is a mix of several Native American tribes that have lived in our region for centuries. The Muckleshoot Senior Services Program provides supportive services to nearly 600 elders, age 50 and older. Some of the services include congregate and home-delivered meals, chore services, transportation, cultural activities, and much more. "We strive to offer quality services and to maintain a program that captures the voice of our elders," says program manager Wendy Burdette.


One of the program's 2009 highlights included the Traditional Foods Feast, an intergenerational activity that marked an historical renaissance of traditional foods. Muckleshoot teachings emphasize that the way to offer someone healing is to feed them. Youth workers from the Muckleshoot Drop-in Center, along with volunteer cook mentors, harvested and prepared the meal which included duck, geese, salmon, clams, oysters, deer, elk, huckleberries, and huckleberry leaf tea.


The Muckleshoot Tribe partners with the Seattle Human Service Department's Aging and Disability Services division (ADS) to provide case management services to the tribe's elders and community members. For the past four years, Keith Rapacz, an ADS Case Manager, has worked as a liaison which has helped improve communication between ADS and tribal staff. "My success as a liaison is all about relationship building with clients, their families, and tribal staff." says Rapacz.


Among the tribe's goals for 2010 are plans to develop a new facility for seniors to include a new senior center, assisted living facility, and condos.


By Karen Winston, Seattle Human Services Department, Aging and Disability Services

Get involved in the Mayor's Youth & Family Initiative


Youth & Family InitiativeFive large workshops for city residents to discuss the Seattle Youth and Families Initiative are under way - but there are other ways to participate. The Youth and Families Initiative, announced by Mayor Mike McGinn during his inaugural address, will shape the City of Seattle's agenda on youth and family issues. The Youth and Families Initiative is committed to eliminating racial disparities in education, child care, children's health and the criminal justice system.


Initiative coordinators plan to hold up to 100 "community caucuses" around Seattle between March 22 and April 30. These caucuses are part of the City's commitment to active involvement by Seattle's diverse communities and neighborhoods, including communities of color and immigrant and refugee households. Learn more about the Seattle Youth and Families Initiative and get involved by volunteering at a workshop or helping put together a community caucus with friends and neighbors.

U.S. Census forms being mailed


Census logo largerBeginning on March 8, letters announcing the 2010 Census will be mailed to households throughout Seattle and King County. In just two weeks, the census forms will arrive in the mail. Please watch for your census form and respond quickly by mailing it back. Census workers will visit households that do not return the forms to take a count in person.


The census helps determine population figures, but also our representation in the U.S. Congress as well as how more than $400 billion in federal funds are spent annually on senior services, child care subsidies, pre-schools, lunch/meal programs, health care, violence prevention, homelessness services and housing, and more. In short, it affects every family in our city. If you have questions or are interested in learning more about the census, visit the City's census Web site.

$7.7 million grant for homeless youth
Last month, YouthCare and another nonprofit agency, ROOTS, were awarded $7.7 million from the Raynier Institute & Foundation. In 2009, YouthCare served more than 3,000 homeless youth but had to turn away many kids because of a lack of funding. The new grant dollars will help the agencies provide shelter beds and a housing program to help young people turn around their lives. The City of Seattle provides $1.4 million annually to YouthCare for a variety of programs helping primarily homeless youth. For more information on the new grant, please see this article in the Seattle Times. 

Mature job seekers learn about employment prorgrams


MOSC Katherine at computerKatherine was an administrative assistant at a nonprofit agency before she was laid off due to budget cuts. Linda retired to raise her children and wonders now if she has any hope of finding a job. Both turned to the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens Age 55+ Employment Resource Center for help. Katherine (pictured at right) and Linda are among the newest jobseekers to enter the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Linda's daughter, who lives in London, found the Age 55+ Employment Resource Center's job search workshops online. Linda attended one and found out she was eligible for a SCSEP training position.


Katherine and Linda have received a wealth of information about how to look for jobs and write effective resumes and cover letters. In their training positions, they are learning to organize files (paper and electronic), revise documents, screen callers for services, and provide other administrative support. Although the job market is bad, Katherine and Linda believe they are players and will win the game of finding work.  For more information, call 206-684-0500 (TTY/TDD 206-233-2778) or visit the Web sites for the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, Age 55+ Employment Resource Center, or the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

Huchoosedah Native American after-school program 


Caregiver PhotoThe Seattle Public Schools' Huchoosedah Native American Education Program helps Native American children succeed in school. The program receives funding from the City of Seattle through the Seattle Human Services Department's Early Learning and Family Support division for an after-school program for 24 children in kindergarten through fifth grade.


The Huchoosedah after-school program provides tutoring, homework assistance, academic enrichment and family involvement activities that honor cultural identity and community-building. Students and their families participate in monthly "culture night and community gathering" events with Native American artists, dancers and storytellers. Program participants have demonstrated increased homework completion and submission, improved school attendance and improved academic success. Program staff also support parents in advocating for their children with school staff, through participation in parent-teacher conferences and other school events. For more information, please contact Kathleen Groshong, Human Services Department, at or 206-684-0520 or visit the program Web site.

City raises funds for prostituted youth program


As of the end of January, the City had raised enough money to fund the initial year of operations for a pilot residential recovery program for prostituted children. The total cost for the two-year pilot program is nearly $1.5 million. To date, the City has raised more than $1.2 million, including $150,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $10,000 from the Women's Funding Alliance and $10,000 from the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation. Stone Gossard and Mike McCready of the Seattle rock band Pearl Jam are among a number of major private donors. The new program will provide residential recovery services for prostituted youth age 14 to 17 in King County. The Seattle Human Services Department will contract with YouthCare to serve up to 20 prostituted youth per year.


Donations to fund the second year of the project are still being accepted. For more information, please click here. 

HSD blog debuts: 'Human Interests'


HSD blog heading


The Seattle Human Services Department now has a new blog called Human Interests. It's part of a collection of City department blogs - CityLink - and will provide timely updates about human services programs, services and events. Content will include department news releases and announcements, event and meeting information, links to reports and studies, and much more. Check it out today!

Need data? Try 

Sixty City of Seattle datasets are now accessible online at, which is part of Seattle's municipal Web site. The new site holds significant amounts of information about operations and infrastructure, such as locations of City facilities, schools, and food banks. is a first step in making data publicly available to meet the City's goals for an open, transparent and accountable government. The site initially posts datasets from My Neighborhood Map (a feature on the City's Web site) and will add data managed by City departments. Some of this data is already available on department Web sites, but centralizes the information on a single site.

Seattle convenes conference on open government


Caregiver PhotoOpen Gov West is a large, two-day conference on open government. The conference is being hosted by Seattle's Department of Information Technology and Knowledge As Power, a local nonprofit agency focused on people becoming informed and effective in government. The conference is being held on March 26 and 27 and will bring together 500 decision makers, IT managers and citizen activists from private industry, City and state government, agencies and organizations from Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Idaho and Montana. For more information visit this Web site.


Volunteer for commission for people with disabilities

The City of Seattle is seeking volunteers to serve on the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities. The commission is an advisory body that makes recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on issues of importance to people with disabilities. For more information, visit this Web site. The deadline for applications is March 11, 2010.

Free tax prep in Seattle area


United Way logoIn partnership with the Seattle Human Services Department, the Seattle-King County Asset Building Collaborative and others, United Way of King County is providing multi-lingual free tax preparation services at 17 sites throughout the county until April 15. 2010. There are eight locations at City of Seattle sites including the Downtown Public Library. Basic free tax preparation assistance is available for taxpayers who made less than $50,000 in 2009. At 11 of the 17 free tax preparation sites, paid staff and/or volunteers are on hand to screen clients for eligibility for PeoplePoint public benefits (Basic Food, child care, utility/energy assistance, health insurance) and help clients complete applications. Details, including site locations, times, and languages spoken, can be viewed at United Way's Web site. People who are self-employed with net household income less than $50,000 can receive free tax help from StartZone; call 206-878-3710, ext. 6510, or ext. 3388, or e-mail

In This Issue
2009 Accomplishments
Muckleshoot Elders
Youth, Family Initiative
U.S. Census
Homeless Youth Aided
Mature Job Seekers
After-school Program
Fundraising Success
HSD Blog
Open Government
Volunteers Needed
Free Tax Prep
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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. For more timely or breaking news visit our new blog, Human Interests. If you have questions, please contact David Takami, HSD, at or 206-684-0253.