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August 2011

Re-engineering HSD's funding & contracting systems 

Considering that the Seattle Human Services Department invests nearly $100 million in services provided by more than 200 community agencies, our contracting system is fundamental to the way we conduct business.


In order to ensure that we are being accountable stewards of public funds, it is vitally important that our funding, contracting and agency monitoring practices and processes become more efficient with improved accountability, monitoring and data collection.


Review of our funding, contracting and monitoring processes began early this year, and has included interviews with other jurisdictions and funders about their practice, discussions with other City departments such as Law and Purchasing, and staff task forces charged with identifying areas for improvement in our Request for Investment and monitoring practices.


We have also initiated a comprehensive assessment of all department contracts to better understand the breadth of our contracts, gauge contract performance and work toward ensuring uniformity and consistency in how we write and review contracts.


Once we assess our internal processes, we will be better able to provide technical assistance to our contractors.


Moving forward over the next few months, we will continue to discuss the plan with staff, our community constituents and stakeholders, and the Mayor's Office and City Council. More details will be available soon and I will continue to keep you informed.


Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Reading camp partners with summer food program
SFSP Mayor

On July 25th, Mayor Mike McGinn paid a visit to the Rainier Beach Libarary, where Solid Ground's Washington Reading Corps linked with the Seattle Human Services Department's Summer Food Service Program to provide elementary school age children with reading tutoring and a free nutritious lunchtime meal.


The City of Seattle partnered with the Washington Reading Corps through Cities of Service for five five-week summer reading camps, including the site at Rainier Beach Library.


The reading support was especially critical this summer as Seattle Public Schools was forced to cut summer school due to budget considerations.

Free or low-cost preschool available
Step Ahead logoSeattle Human Services Department preschool programs are now enrolling 4-year-olds from low- to moderate-income families.

Seattle Step Ahead and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) still have free or reduced-cost spaces available for 609 children at 21 sites in southeast and southwest Seattle this school year.

To be eligible, a family must live in Seattle and have a child who will have turned 4 by August 31, 2011. For ECEAP, a family of four earning up to $24,585 per year is eligible, and for Step Ahead, a family of four earning up to just under $67,068 annually is eligible.

Step Ahead is funded by the Seattle Families and Education Levy, and ECEAP is funded by the State of Washington. For more information about these programs - locations, eligibility and applications - please call 206-386-1050.
Homeless prevention proposals due on Aug. 26
The Seattle Human Services Department and Building Changes are seeking Request for Investment (RFI) proposals from qualified organizations for programs designed to prevent homelessness in Seattle. Approximately $1.67 million is available for the period of January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012. The deadline for investment proposal submittal for this RFI is August 26, 2011. For more information and application instructions please visit this Web site.
Homeless youth to be housed in Gossett Place
Gossett PlaceGossett Place, a new housing facility in the University District opening in September 2011, will include a minimum of 10 permanent apartments for chronically homeless young adults. Seattle Human Services Department staff have worked with homeless youth providers to identify appropriate candidates for this program. Staff hope this pilot will expand the "housing first" model so that more chronically homeless young adults will receive permanent housing in conjunction with medical and/or mental health support.
Volunteers needed to provide supplies for homeless students
Project CoolThe Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness helps homeless students start the school year right by providing backpacks, school supplies, and gift certificate for new shoes through Project Cool. To make this another successful year, the project needs your help. Volunteer for an hour or all day to help sort, group, and pack school supplies into backpacks on the following dates:
    Monday, August 8
    Wednesday, August 10

To sign up, contact Jennifer Pargas, Volunteer Coordinator, at 206-926-9300. If you don't have a lot of time, but a lot of heart, donate online. Donations are tax-deductible.
Program will help immigrant & refugee youth with employment
At the Wednesday, July 27 meeting of the Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee, Human Services Department Director Dannette R. Smith and staff gave a presentation on the Immigrant and Refugee Youth Program. The program is a family-based approach to job readiness training for immigrant and refugee youth coordinated with support for parents. To view the video of the meeting, click here.
Learn about local Bhutanese, Burmese communities
A workshop on Tuesday, Aug. 9 will provide information and understanding of cultural differences and barriers in two recently arrived refugee communities, the Bhutanese and Burmese. The goals of this workshop are to increase cultural awareness for providers and increase access to services for community members. Sponsored by the Nonprofict Assistance Center, the workshop will be held on Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 4 to 6 p.m., at the 2100 Building, 2100 24th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118. For more information, please call 206-324-5850 or visit
Youth shadow doctors in 'Students in Medicine' program
School in MedicineIn early July, Seattle Youth Employment Program participants participated in an inspiring three-day intensive job shadowing opportunity through the "High-School Students in Medicine" program, sponsored by Swedish Medical Center, the Seattle Science Foundation, the Gossman Center for Advanced Pediatric and Perinatal Simulation, and the Swedish Neuroscience Institute. The goal of the program is to expose motivated high school students to a variety of careers in the health sciences. During the first two days, youth interacted with physicians at Swedish Medical Center, performed dissections in the Bioskills Lab at the Seattle Science Foundation, met with patients, and participated in other hands-on activities. On the third day at the Gossman Center, students participated in simulated medical scenarios using state-of-the-art, high fidelity patient simulators.
Outreach for homeless people living in cars
The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is involved in the City's new parking scofflaw program in two important ways. The department already has a policy to provide outreach services to families with children or vulnerable individuals who are homeless. As the new parking law is enforced, HSD has started a concentrated 12-month program to reach families and vulnerable individuals who may lose their vehicles to ensure they are aware of the available options and the actions they need to take to remove themselves from the parking scofflaw list. HSD staff have also worked out an agreement with the Seattle Animal Shelter to provide emergency shelter and other services for animals/pets of homeless people whose vehicles are impounded due to the new scofflaw program.
Aug. 18 Senior Coffee Hour on earthquake preparedness
Earthquake prep clip artJoin Barb Graff, Director of Seattle's Office of Emergency Management at the next Senior Coffee Hour on Thursday, Aug. 18, 10 to 11 a.m., to share stories and good ideas about how we can get our community better prepared to deal with earthquakes and other disasters. Sponsored by the Seattle Human Services Department's Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, the Coffee Hour is held at the Central Building in downtown Seattle, 810 3rd Avenue (between Columbia and Marion streets).
Aging & Disability Services wins national innovation award
Last month, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) recognized the Seattle Human Services Department's Aging and Disability Services (ADS) for its success in creating an effective care management program for high-risk, high-cost Medicaid patients with multiple health issues. ADS received a 2011 Aging Innovations Award, the N4A's highest award, for King County Care Partners, which provides community-based, RN-led care management, education, and coordination of medical services for clients with multiple medical, mental health and substance abuse disorders. The partnership comprises ADS, Harborview Medical Center, and four community health centers - Country Doctor Community Health Centers, HealthPoint, Neighborcare Health, and SeaMar Community Health Centers.
Aug. 19 training focuses on gang prevention

Dr. James Garbarino

An all-day gang prevention training on Aug. 19 at Seattle University will focus on proven gang prevention practices, and strategies to address juvenile justice, school failure and gang involvement. The Seattle Human Services Department, in collaboration with Seattle King County Gang Prevention & Outreach Work Group and Seattle University, is sponsoring the event. The training will feature renowned national expert Dr. James Garbarino, the lead trainer from Loyola University Chicago, who will discuss risk factors and proven gang prevention strategies. He is the author of "Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them." More than 200 service providers, policy professionals, educators, and legislators have registered for the training, which is funded by a U.S. Dept. of Justice grant. Please call Tanya Kim, Seattle Human Services Department, at 206 386-1189 for more information.

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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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