Life Lines
February 2011
One Night last month

Dannette R. Smith

 

In the early morning hours of Friday, January 28th I was honored to take part in the annual One Night Count of homeless people in Seattle and King County. Hundreds of volunteers initially gathered at the Compass Center in Pioneer Square; from there we fanned out across the city to count people sleeping on the streets, under bridges, in cars, on public transit, in temporary shelters and in makeshift campsites.

 

The 2,442 people counted were 317 fewer than a year ago representing a nearly 12% decline. Combined with last year's 5% drop, the number represents a very promising trend. It's clear that we and our partners are making progress with efforts to help people leave the streets and find safe and stable housing, and yet, we have much left to do. Data from the One Night Count, along with the data in Safe Harbors and other sources, are key to helping the Seattle Human Services department and our partners understand who is homeless in Seattle/King County, tailor our services appropriately, and advocate for federal and other resources to end homelessness.

 

The One Night Count is organized by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. For more details please see this press release. 

 

Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
HSD seeks community input for Strategic Plan

The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is beginning a series of community conversations and meetings to solicit input and participation in the development of the department's Strategic Plan, "Healthy Families, Healthy Communities.  Input from these meetings will help advance the community priorities identified through the City's Youth and Families Initiative. They will also guide strategies to align HSD and other resources to connect people with the resources and solutions they need to build healthy, safe and thriving families and communities.

 

The outreach and engagement will include two phases:

1.     Community Meetings and Focus Groups (February - March): HSD seeks to engage with a broad and diverse range of stakeholders including human service providers, advocacy groups, community coalitions, funders and other system partners, as well as individuals and families using human service programs.

2.     Action Teams (March 2011): Interested community members and subject matter experts will help identify and develop strategic plan deliverables, for instance, how specific areas such as early learning and senior programs can collaborate and develop measurable outcomes.

 

If you are interested in participating, you can:

         Convene a focus group or meeting of constituents

         Participate in a focus group or meeting

         Join an action team

 

Please contact Marie Kurose for more information at marie.kurose@seattle.gov or 206 386-1010.

City, County receive $22M for homeless assistance

The City of Seattle and King County will receive federal homeless assistance funds totaling more than $21.5 million, providing renewed funding for 65 existing housing and supportive service programs helping people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the award on January 19, 2011 following the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announcement of $1.4 billion awarded nationwide. 


Community-based organizations joined with the City of Seattle and King County to submit the annual joint application for funding from the federal McKinney-Vento Act. McKinney funding allows local governments and their many partners to provide essential housing and supportive services for homeless people, including 818 units of transitional housing, 849 units of permanent housing for homeless people with disabilities, and two Safe Haven facilities that offer supportive housing for severely mentally ill adults. Also renewed was funding for the Safe Harbors Homeless Management Information System, which collects data on services provided to homeless people. 

 

For more information, please contact Eileen Denham, City of Seattle McKinney Programs Coordinator, 206-684-0915 or eileen.denham@seattle.gov. For more details and a list of funded programs, see this news release.

 

Helping persons with AIDS find housing

AIDS logoWhen he was still able to work, Mr. "M" and his wife and two children lived in a two-bedroom apartment in a Seattle suburb. Money was tight, but the M family had a decent place to live and a good, safe neighborhood in which to raise their kids. Then Mr. M became ill with AIDS, lost his job and was forced to rely on Social Security disability income -- less than $600 per month. Unable to continue paying full-market rent for their apartment, the M family tried without success to find affordable housing in the same vicinity. They were close to being evicted when they were given the opportunity to move into a "scattered-site" housing program funded by the federal Housing Opportunity for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program.

 

More than 550 individuals, most of them single adults, received supportive services in King and Snohomish counties from the (2009) HOPWA program grant administered by the Seattle Human Services Department. More than one-third of these people also received rental assistance (204 households or 37%), which helped to prevent evictions/homelessness and enabled homeless individuals to move into affordable housing.

 

For Mr. M and his family, this housing has brought peace-of-mind and stability. "We are very happy and extremely grateful [to live here]," Mr. M said. "The location is very convenient, close to the best schools in the area, and very safe." 

 

For more information about the HOPWA program, please contact Jim Betts, Seattle Human Services Department, at 206-684-0273 or jim.betts@seattle.gov.

Seattle included in homelessness report

Hunger Homeless reportThe recently released Hunger and Homelessness Survey published by the U.S. Conference of Mayors provides information on 27 cities in the country, including Seattle. Among the featured "best practices" is Seattle's Landlord Liaison Project (LLP) which connects families and individuals who are homeless to rental housing. LLP was developed by the Committee to End Homelessness; it is funded by the City, King County, and the United Way of King County, and managed by the YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County. LLP is a partnership among landlords, property managers, participating human services agencies, and homeless people with barriers to accessing permanent housing. The goal is to house homeless families and individuals who could not otherwise access housing due to rental barriers. For details, see the complete report.

From Farm to Table to people in need
Farm to Table

Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Food Network 

The Farm to Table program celebrated its first delivery in January when staff at Chicken Soup Brigade/Lifelong Aids Alliance received 50 pounds of freshly harvested leeks from 21 Acres Farm in Woodinville.

 

The Chicken Soup Brigade provides home-delivered meals and grocery bags to older adults and people living with HIV/AIDS and other life challenging illnesses, and is a partner in Farm to Table, a project funded by Public Health - Seattle & King County through a federal grant from Community Putting Prevention to Work (through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The intent is to make healthy foods affordable for senior congregate and home-delivered meal programs and child care centers by cooperatively purchasing fresh produce directly from local farmers. The Seattle Human Services Department's Aging & Disability Services division is the project lead for Farm to Table and is working in partnership with HSD's Early Learning & Family Support division, King County Housing Authority, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and HSD-funded senior meal program and child care centers.

 

Many thanks to Farm to Table partner Puget Sound Food Network whose staff helped connect 21 Acres Farm with Chicken Soup Brigade.  Read more about the first Farm to Table produce delivery on the Puget Sound Food Network's blog: http://psfn.org/blog/. 

Education and career fair to help youth on Feb. 23

Seattle youth  have a chance to meet with potential employers and learn about post-secondary school opportunities at the Youth Education, Career and Resource Fair later this month. Sponsored by the Seattle Human Services Department the fair will be held on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rainier Community Center in Seattle. Youth ages 14-21 who live and/or go to school in Seattle are invited to attend.

 

The fair is a great opportunity for youth to network with potential employers, to talk to representatives from colleges and universities, and to learn about a host of other community resources. Workshops for youth will also be offered on: Finding and Keeping a Job, What to do After Graduation, Career Interests/Resume Writing Green Jobs, and Making a Career out of Helping in the Community.

 

For more information please call the Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) at 206-386-1375.

 

 Coffee Hour to feature HSD Director

On Thursday, February 17, 2011, please come to the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens Coffee Hour, this month featuring Seattle Human Services Director, Dannette R. Smith. The Coffee Hour is held from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Central Building, 810 3rd Avenue (between Columbia and Marion Streets).

 

The Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens' Coffee Hours bring community elders closer to City officials, providing elders an opportunity to learn more about City programs and services and officials an opportunity to hear from elders. Coffee and cookies are served. Coffee hour speakers and dates subject to change. For more information, e-mail seniors@seattle.gov or call 206-684-0500.

 

City of Seattle logo 

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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