Life Lines
December 2010
Meetings with agencies inform HSD Strategic Plan

Dannette R. SmithAs I mentioned last month, the five meetings I held with Human Services Department (HSD) community providers this fall were enjoyable, enlightening, and highly informative.


These meetings dovetailed perfectly with our efforts to create a new Strategic Plan for HSD: a 50,000-foot view of the department that we are calling "Healthy Communities, Healthy Families." The plan will provide a road map for our organization as we envision a seamless, family-centered approach to delivering human services to people of all ages and backgrounds.


In light of continuous budget challenges and the need to do business differently with fewer resources, the development of a new Strategic Plan is more important than ever.

After a draft of the plan is presented to the Mayor and City Council, I will be bringing it out to the community for review and comments early in the new year. Please stay tuned!


Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Final City budget preserves human services

The City of Seattle's adopted 2011-2012 budget preserves funding for direct services that meet basic human needs during the continued recession. Government revenues have dropped significantly, and the City began the 2011-2012 budget process looking at a $56 million gap for 2011. At the same time, there has been increasing demand for services in the community.


As a result of the Mayor's proposal and Council's additional actions, HSD's direct services to the community were preserved, and the final adopted budget even features some additions, including funding for the White Center Food Bank, funding to make the existing severe weather shelters permanent for six months of the year, support for ongoing emergency shelter, and funding for two domestic violence initiatives - the Safe Havens program in Kent, and a training program for homeless housing providers. HSD is taking some staff cuts or reductions and other administrative reductions. For more information on the City budget, please visit this Web site.

City opens severe weather shelters for homeless people

Cold weatherIn response to the cold weather just before Thanksgiving, the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) opened severe weather shelters for homeless people beginning on Thursday night, Nov. 18, 2010. Open were two "regular" severe weather shelters, one at City Hall, located at 4th Avenue and James Street (capacity 75), and the other for women only at the Frye Hotel at Third and Yesler (capacity 25).


When the weather became snowy and even colder, HSD opened an additional shelter at the Seattle Center with a capacity of 100 persons. City of Seattle severe weather shelters open in the event of two or more days of heavy rain, when the temperatures reach 32 degrees or colder, or when snow is on the ground. We hope to keep the City Hall and Frye Hotel shelters open through the holidays. 

Meal programs, food banks during holidays

Food bank clipClick on the following links for information about meal programs and food bank hours in Seattle during the holidays.


Please call ahead to make sure that there haven't been any last-minute schedule changes due to weather or other circumstances.


Homeless youth collaborate with Elliott Bay Books

Elliott Bay BooksThe University District Youth Center hires homeless youth and young adults as interns for its Zine Project, a pre-vocational writing program funded by the Seattle Human Services Department. For eight weeks interns write poetry, personal essays, and make art to publish in Zine magazine. The Elliott Bay Book Company has recently agreed to sell Zine in its magazine section with an explanation about the Zine Project and the homeless youth it serves. Elliott Bay will charge a consignment fee of 30%, so 70% will go back to the project and the youth. The collaboration will help distribute the magazine more widely. For more information on the project, please contact Shaun McMichael, University District Youth Center, by phone at 206-536-2992, or by e-mail.

Meeting with federal children and families agency

Dannette with Steve HenigsonIn mid-November, the Seattle Human Service Department's Executive Leadership Team met with federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Regional Administrator Steve Henigson and his staff, setting the stage for future collaboration in a number of areas. ACF staff at the meeting represented child welfare programs, maternal and child health, runaway and homeless youth, senior programs, Head Start and anti-human trafficking.


Pictured here are Seattle Human Services Director, Dannette R. Smith, and Steve Henigson.

Early enrollment night for kindergarten
Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Early Education Collaborative, coordinated by the City of Seattle, are sponsoring Early Enrollment Nights for parents to sign up for kindergarten in Seattle Public Schools. One more enrollment night remains:
  • Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, 6 to 8:30 p.m., Leschi Elementary, 135 32nd Ave. 98122
Schools and City staff will be on hand to help parents fill out applications and answer questions about the transition from preschool to kindergarten. Interpreters are available on request. Light dinner and children's activities will be provided. Additional sponsors include Child Care Resources and the Seattle Human Services Department.
5-Year Action Plan for Pre-K to 3rd grade

Boy with blocksResearch shows that the years between preschool and 3rd grade create the foundation for school achievement in later years. In early 2010, Seattle Public Schools, the City of Seattle, and the New School Foundation came together to design a new system to more effectively align and integrate Pre-K-3rd grade education in Seattle. The resulting Five-Year Action Plan involved many months of brainstorming, dialogue, and a strategic focus on improving educational achievement for Seattle's children.


A successful educational continuum would effectively connect Pre-K to the early elementary school grades (K-3) by creating partnerships between early learning providers and the elementary schools their "graduates" will enter. They will work together to align curricula, instructional approaches, expectations for students, assessments and the use of student data to inform instruction, planning and continuous improvements. For more information, please contact Sonja Griffin, Seattle Human Services Department, by phone at 206-684-8835 or by e-mail.  




Mural projects by youth

Mural by youth

Seattle youth receiving services through King County Superior Court (KCSC) had the opportunity to work in two Urban Artworks employment projects this past summer. Both the Fremont Project and the Queen Anne Project involved youth enrolled in the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI), and the Seattle Human Services Department contracted with KCSC to offer its SYVPI Youth Employment Program. The court-involved youth placed in the Artworks projects were able to work side by side with community volunteers, and together, they completed two very impressive murals. This was a great opportunity for youth to learn the value of teamwork and other employment skills as well as to get to know community members from diverse backgrounds. As of October 2010, more than 45 high-risk juvenile offenders had successfully participated in comprehensive education employment services through this program. The youth worked more than 3,000 hours in the community and only one youth participant re-offended.

Family Centers provide myriad services

Family center 2Southwest Family Center's Teen Parent Program is connecting young parents with resources they need. At the New Holly Family Center, staff are helping families successfully negotiate the complex steps to access food stamps and other benefits. Rainier Beach Family Center supports families with a variety of services, including the Parent Child Home Program, infant\child CPR skills, and parent support groups.


These are just a few of the programs at the seven Family Centers in Seattle funded by the Seattle Human Services Department. Family Centers work with other agencies and programs to offer many social, educational, and recreational activities for families. Some other examples include the Community Speaks program at High Point Family Center that brings storytellers from many cultures to the center to share their stories with families, and inspire others to do the same; North Seattle Family Center's home visiting program that models for parents how to interact with young children; and the International Family Center's efforts to help families find housing and jobs.


For more information on Seattle Family Centers, please visit this Web site or contact Wendy Holman, Seattle Human Services Department, by phone at 206-233-7090, or by e-mail.

Resource fair for immigrants and refugees

On Nov. 13, the first Immigrant and Refugee Citizenship and Resource Fair was held at Garfield Community Center. The all-day event was funded through the New Citizen Program (NCP), which provides funding and technical support to agencies serving members of the immigrant and refugee community in Seattle who want to become citizens. Fair attendees learned about the citizenship process, how to access important resources like housing, and the importance of civic engagement.


The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) partnered with Seattle Parks and Recreation for the event and OneAmerica, a Seattle-based nonprofit agency, organized the fair. Other participants included Seattle Police, Pea Patch Project, Seattle Public Library, Office for Civil Rights and HSD's PeoplePoint, as well as many community-based agencies. For more information on the New Citizen Program, please visit this Web site or contact Maythia Airhart, Seattle Human Services Department, by phone at 206-233-7084 or by e-mail.

Save water, money with high-efficiency toilets

Free toiletsThe Seattle Human Services Department's Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens is collaborating with Seattle Public Utilities and Senior Services' Minor Home Repair program to provide low-income homeowners with free toilets. Toilets offered by Seattle Public Utilities flush well, help conserve water, and save homeowners money. According to Seattle Public Utilities, replacement of older toilets with high-efficiency models can save a family of four up to 24,000 gallons of water and $140 each year.

If you meet the following criteria and income guidelines, you can qualify for free toilets and installation by a licensed professional plumber:
 You are a homeowner of any age with a Seattle Public Utilities account
 You currently live in the home you own
 Your existing toilets were manufactured before 1994
 You meet income guidelines for your household size

To sign up or get more information, contact Minor Home Repair at 206-448-5751 (TTY 206-448-5025) or e-mail

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Life Lines is published monthly by the City of Seattle's Human Service Department. Our mission 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. For more timely or breaking news, visit our blog, Human Interests, or visit our Web site. If you have questions, please e-mail David Takami or call 206-684-0253.

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