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September 2011

Dannette R. SmithPreschool helps children succeed
As children return to school this month, it's important to note that many are thriving because of the learning and enrichment they received in preschool - including two preschool programs sponsored by the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD).

Last month, Mayor Mike McGinn helped HSD promote our free and reduced-fee preschools with a news conference at La Escuelita Bilingual School. More than 250 openings were available in our two preschool programs, Step Ahead and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). Step Ahead is funded by the Seattle Families and Education Levy, and ECEAP is funded by the state of Washington.

Recent brain research tells us that children learn more at an earlier age than previously thought. High quality preschools allow children to acquire and master skills they will need in kindergarten and beyond. Benefits of preschool include higher test scores in school, lower rates of grade repetition and special education placements, and higher rates of high school graduation.

Mayor at preschoolAccording to the Office for Education, 95% of Step Ahead preschool children will be heading to kindergarten this fall with the skills they need to succeed in school. Preschool can also help reduce "achievement gaps" that persist for children of color, children from low-income families, and children living in certain areas of city. For more information about HSD preschool programs - locations, eligibility and applications - please call 206-386-1050

You can also view a video of the Mayor's news conference, read the news release about the event (scroll down to August 31), and watch a related TV report on the importance of preschool.
Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department


Winter shelters to open in October 

The Seattle Human Services Department's Winter Shelters at City Hall and the Frye Hotel are set to open from October 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012.

Previously the shelters were opened only under certain severe weather conditions. Last year the program expanded so that shelters are open from mid-fall through winter to reduce health risks to people who are exposed to winter weather conditions.

The City Hall program is located at 601 5th Avenue and will serve adult men and women nightly from 8:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. The Frye Hotel will serve women only from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.

During extreme temperatures, when overnight exposure is life threatening, HSD will open additional emergency shelter sites, such as at the Seattle Center.

Upward Bound students take 'Fantastic Voyage'

Upward Bound sailing tripLast month, two Upward Bound students joined 22 other high school students to participate in a five-day sailing trip around the San Juan Islands.


This experiential educational trip called "Fantastic Voyage" is offered by the nonprofit Sound Experience to educate young people and adults about the history and geography of Puget Sound and the craft of sailing. 

Agreement strengthens public health system

The City of Seattle and King County recently codified and clarified its already strong working relationship in the arena of public health with the signing of the Public Health Interlocal Agreement.

Public Health - Seattle & King County is a joint County-City department with King County responsible for core public health services and the City providing funding for "enhanced services" (see below for examples).

The Interlocal Agreement maintains the strong working relationship between the County and City, while strengthening the role of the Board of Health and the City's Health Policy Advisor. Under the agreement, Public Health will be more involved in City government at various levels including subcabinets, interdepartmental teams and emergency preparedness efforts.

The City's contracting relationship with Public Health will continue under the new agreement. HSD oversees more than $14 million in contracts for enhanced health services provided by Public Health. These services include intensive public health nurse visiting to first time pregnant and parenting teens and their children, the Healthcare for the Homeless Network, medical care and dental care for the uninsured and underinsured, and school-based health services funded through the City's Families & Education Levy. 

For more information, please contact Jerry DeGrieck, Seattle Human Services Department, at or 206-684- 0684 or see this presentation on the agreement to City Council.

More support available for family caregivers

Caregiver PhotoIf you need support for taking care of a family member or friend, help is on the way. A nearly $1 million boost in state funding will help hundreds of family caregivers who take care of loved ones in their own homes.


Family caregiving plays a vital role in helping some of the most vulnerable members of our community remain in their homes and stay independent, but caregiving also takes a heavy toll on the caregivers including stress, depression and increased chances of developing chronic illnesses.


The Family Caregiver Support Program, run by the Seattle Human Services Department's Aging and Disability Services (ADS) division, received an increase of $987,000 for one year beginning in July 2011. The added funding brings the total program budget to $2.5 million and will allow the program to serve approximately 430 county residents who are taking care of family members.


In Seattle and King County an estimated 210,000 adults (14.5 percent of the adult population) spend at least some time caring for a loved one. More than half of these informal caregivers provide care to persons over age 65. About 20 percent of those who care for elders spend more than 20 hours a week on caregiving. An estimated 58,000 (three percent) are primary caregivers. More than half of all baby boomers (age 47-65) have one of more parents living.


If you help care for a family member or friend and need support, please call the Family Caregiver Support Program at 206-448-3110 or 1-888-4ELDERS.

Engaging with Asian Pacific Islander youth 
API youthThe Seattle Human Services Department hosted a community engagement event for Asian and Pacific Islander youth on August 25th at the Wing Luke Asian Museum. More than 40 people participated. In partnership with the Mayor's Office and SafeFutures Youth Center, youth learned about HSD services and the City's Youth and Family Initiative. Planning for a Native American youth forum is under way. 
Update of housing and community development plan

The City of Seattle announced the release of its proposed 2012 Update to the 2009-2012 Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development. The 2012 Update includes proposed uses of approximately:
 $10.8 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG);
 $ 4.6 million in HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME);
 $735,068 in Emergency Shelter Grant Program (ESG); and
 $1.7 million in Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).

The Consolidated Plan outlines how the City intends to use these funds to address the housing and community development needs of the City's low- and moderate-income residents.

The 2012 draft Update of the Consolidated Plan will be available for public review at this Web site by mid-September, 2011. Public comment is welcome and will be accepted until October 19, 2011.The public is invited to attend a public hearing to discuss the community and economic development needs of Seattle at the City Council's Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee meeting on Wednesday, September 28, 2011, City Hall, Council Chamber - Second Floor.

Family homelessness RFP 

King County Department of Community and Human Services, Seattle Office of Housing, Seattle Housing Authority, United Way of King County, and Washington Families Fund have released a Request for Proposal as part of the Fall 2011 King County Combined Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Approximately $14.2 million for operating support, rental assistance, and supportive services, and up to 70 Housing Choice Vouchers are available to be linked to non-time limited housing for people experiencing homelessness in King County.  Application materials are now available on the King County Web page.

Applications are due on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.
For more information, please contact Kelli Larsen, King County, at 206-263-9260 or

Still time to comment on City's Comprehensive Plan

Comp planLast month, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development released a survey asking residents to rank and prioritize the goals driving the Comprehensive Plan review and update. Your input will help determine the best way to leverage expected new growth (120,000 new residents and 115,000 new jobs by 2031) to improve Seattle's housing, create business opportunities, enhance our neighborhoods, and provide more services like grocery stores, parks, and transit.

If you haven't had a chance to take the survey, please do so now. It only takes a few minutes and your responses will directly affect how we shape Seattle's future over the next 20 years. For more information, visit Comp Plan 101.

Data on homeless students in Washington state 

Students raising handsA report from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State provides data on the number and extent of homeless students in the state.



Visit this Web site and click on "Research & Data."


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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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