Life Lines
March 2011
Moving Forward Together

Dannette R. Smith


As many of you are aware, the Seattle Human Services Department is in the midst of significant changes: we have a new Strategic Plan (see link to plan outline), a realigned structure, and hiring processes are under way.


We also have said goodbye to several departing leaders. I want to take this opportunity to thank former division directors Eric Anderson, Bea Kelleigh and Terri Kimball for their longtime work with youth, young children and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I know a number of you worked with them over the years, and they will be missed.


As we continue to make the transition to the future, I believe we need to honor what the department and staff have done in the past, and at the same time move forward with optimism.


We are on a fast track for recruiting and hiring two new Division Directors and a Deputy Director. After intensive recruitment, we will start interviewing candidates in March and fill most of the positions by April. The hiring process includes several interview panels, including a community panel comprised of providers and constituents. Other panels will include City executives, department managers, and staff.


I am excited about working together with our community partners to create a stronger department, and as a result, better services to our communities. 


I am always available to answer your questions. Please call me at 206-684-0263 or e-mail


Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Update on plans for transitional encampment

Last month, City officials, including Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith and Human Services Department (HSD) Director Dannette Smith, held a community meeting about plans for a transitional encampment for unsheltered homeless individuals on the site of the former Sunny Jim peanut butter factory located at Adams Street, along Airport Way South.


The vision for the project is to offer people the dignity of their own space, the practical necessity of a safe place to leave their belongings, and the kind of help that can help them become more self-sufficient. The site consists of a 20,000-square-foot concrete pad upon which a maximum of 100 individuals will live in tents. A nearby trailer will provide space for programs and offices, and will include a small kitchen, two showers, washer/dryers, storage lockers and restrooms.


HSD will conduct an RFP process to retain a contractor for operations and services and this contractor will work with other agencies to provide referrals to shelter, transitional/permanent housing, hygiene and day centers, medical/dental/mental health services, chemical dependency treatment and employment. Professional "advocates" will be on staff to guide residents towards benefits, paths to housing, and skills training.


For more information, please see Mayor McGinn's blog article.

April 2 Financial Fitness Day offers free help to manage your money

Financial Fitness day posterThe Seattle-King County Asset Building Coalition, in conjunction with numerous community businesses and organizations, presents Financial Fitness Day on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at the Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. S. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. People who attend Financial Fitness Day will receive help filing their tax returns, printing free credit reports, opening bank accounts, creating household budgets, developing plans to get out of debt, understanding foreclosure options, applying for public benefits (food, utilities, child care, health insurance) and shredding confidential documents. All of these services will be completely free. To register for this event or for more information, please visit this Web site or call 888-864-8623.
'Washington Connection' provides online access to public benefits

washington connectionIn these challenging times, it's more important than ever that low-income people in our area have access to public benefits. The state of Washington recently launched  Washington Connection, an online portal to benefits provided by the state Department of Social and Health Services and others, including later this year, the City of Seattle. Clients or those helping low-income people in need of food assistance, child care, health insurance and other services can check their eligibility and apply for benefits online through the portal. These will include Human Services Department's utility assistance and child care subsidies. For more information, please contact Jerry DeGrieck, Seattle Human Services Department, at 206-0684 or

Students learn about leadership, college access at WSU 

Upward Bound girlEarlier this year, nine students from the Human Services Department's Upward Bound and Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) attended the annual Visionaries Inspiring Black Empowered Students conference at Washington State University. The students participated in workshops on leadership and college access and a college fair.

SYEP and Upward Bound senior Elodie Nsabi (pictured at right) and Meskrem Teferi are among the seniors who have been admitted to Washington State University.

Program offers drug dealers a chance to quit

Funded in part by Human Services Department, the Drug Market Initiative (featured in an article in the Seattle Times), offered four Columbia City drug dealers a chance to quit selling and get help or face lengthy prison sentences in an intervention with Seattle police, prosecutors, family members, community leaders, and social service providers. The Drug Market Initiative is led by Seattle Neighborhood Group in collaboration with POCCAN and other community organizations.

Job search workshops for seniors

Senior job program brochureAre you looking for work? Discouraged because of age bias? Help is available at free monthly Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens Age 55+ Employment Resource Center Job Search Workshops. Job Counselors from the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens Age 55+ Employment Resource Center will discuss job search techniques, job lists, Web sites and other resources. 


Upcoming workshops will be held Thursday, March 17, and Thursday, April 21, 2011, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Central Building, Suite 150, 810 Third Avenue.


Call 206-233-7097 to register or e-mail Tina Inay at

HSD seeking sites for summer food program

Sack lunch programThe Seattle Human Services Department is seeking sites for its Summer Food Service Program. The program will be offered again this summer from Monday, June 27, 2011 to Friday, August 26. The program provides no-cost breakfasts, lunches and snacks for children and youth ages 1 through 18. The meals are served to children at approved sites where at least half the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches. For information about eligibility please click  here. To apply, an agency must complete and return an application form as soon as possible but no later than April 1, 2011. For more information, please contact Javier Pulido, Program Coordinator, Human Services Department, at 206-386-1140 or

Nominate human services heroes for 2011 awards

Do you know of an amazing human services agency or organization that deserves recognition? The Seattle Human Services Coalition's annual human services awards is a great way to recognize local heroes in the categories of Outstanding Organization/Program, Innovative Program, Excellence in Advocacy, Stewardship and Anti-Racism. The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2011. Submit your nomination online. For more information, please contact Martha Reyes, Seattle Human Services Coalition, 206-325-7105 or  

 United Way receives grant to combat hunger

United Way logoUnited Way of King County has been awarded a $987,380 Hunger Free Communities Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These funds have leveraged an $800,000 investment form The Boeing Company. United Way will work with a number of collaborative partners on this effort including Public Health - Seattle & King County, WithinReach, Children's Alliance, New Futures, Seattle Tilth and Community Kitchens NW. For more information see this news release.


United Way is also working to end hunger through Hunger Action Week from March 21-25. See how you can participate.

FREE tax preparation available

Free tax graphicUnited Way of King County is currently offering free tax preparation assistance at 18 locations throughout King County. Taxes are prepared by IRS-certified volunteers and e-filed for quick refunds. Tax sites can also prepare tax returns for up to three prior years, and help clients apply for Individual Taxpayer ID Numbers. Services are available in many languages. This service is provided in partnership with the City of Seattle and is for households making less than $50,000 in 2010. For a list of times and locations visit this Web site.

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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