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January 2012

Give of your time, resources and energy


Dannette R. SmithOn Monday, January 16, we will mark the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a national day of service. This year consider reaching out to your community food bank, hot meals program or agency that serves homeless people by donating your time, resources or energy.

According to the Seattle Food Committee, in the last four years, Seattle food banks have seen a 30% rise in the number of clients coming to them for help. At the same time a new report on hunger and homelessness by the U.S. Conference of Mayors shows a 31% decline in the amount of food donations in the area.

The winter months and the continuing recession have also made the need more urgent for homeless individuals and families.

While we are grateful that the Mayor and City Council preserved funding for emergency and homeless services in the 2012 City Budget, many organizations that serve our most vulnerable residents also rely on volunteers and community donations.
For more information on where to volunteer or donate, please click here.
Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department


City, County receive $22M in federal homeless assistance grants

Federal homeless assistance funds totaling more than $21.8 million have been awarded to the City of Seattle and King County for 2012-2013, making it possible to continue to provide a range of housing and supportive services for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the renewal grants on Dec. 20, 2011, following the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announcement of $1.5 billion awarded nationwide.

Community-based organizations joined the City and County in submitting the annual joint application for McKinney Continuum of Care funding that supports local governments in providing homeless housing and supportive services. The funding is crucial to the ongoing work of the Committee to End Homelessness and the implementation of the regional Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness. For details and a list of projects, please see this news release.

Young people explore career paths

Seattle U career path workshopIn early December, students in the Human Services Department's Seattle Youth Employment Program and Upward Bound attended the first of five career exploration opportunities for the Experience Business Project, a series of getherings related to business in a broad array of fields including food service and nutrition, medical research, small business entrepreneur, and world-wide corporations. The workshops are part of a business immersion/career development project with low-income high school students in Seattle organized and hosted by graduate students in the Executive Leadership Program at Seattle University. Two other sessions have been scheduled in January 2012, one on January 13th, when students will visit the Boeing Company and one on January 27th. The program will conclude in June. The training also includes job search and application skills such as interviewing and resume writing. Other partners include: Microsoft, Bon Appetit Management Co., Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream, Benaroya Research Institute, DigiPen, Costco, and Boeing.

Housing search system set to debut

Housing NW logoIn February, the City, King County and other partners will launch a new affordable housing locator system called Housing Search Northwest ( The City 's Office of Housing, King County, the Seattle Housing Authority and the King County Housing Authority are co-sponsors of this system. For more information, contact Amy Gray at (206) 684-0262 or

New division director joins HSD

Grace McClellandGrace McClelland will join the Human Services Department as the new Division Director for the Youth & Family Empowerment Division, beginning on Monday, January 9, 2012.

Ms. McClelland brings a wealth of experience in the human services field. She is an energetic leader with more than 27 years of direct experience in the nonprofit arena. Most recently, Ms. McClelland has been consulting with nonprofit agencies on infrastructure and program development, as well as grant writing and fundraising. Prior to her consultation work, she held leadership roles with agencies serving at-risk and vulnerable children and youth in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law/Criminal Justice from Rowan University.

Born and raised in Deptford, New Jersey, Ms. McClelland is thrilled to join the leadership team at HSD and looks forward to having an impact on serving vulnerable youth and families. "Kids are suffering in this economy, and I can't just sit back and watch it happen," she says. "Every child, youth and family deserves the best."

Families & Education Levy RFQs released

Four Requests for Qualifications for the 2011 Families and Education Levy have been released. Information sessions are scheduled for each RFQ starting on January 12. Registration is required. The submittal deadline is February 14, 2012. For more information, please see this Web page.
Data Integrity position posted

This week, we posted the job opening for the Director of Data Integrity position. Applications will be accepted until Tuesday, Jan. 31. For more information please see this job description


Native American young people speak out

Native American forum notesThe Human Services Department (HSD) reached out to Native American youth at a forum on December 3, 2011, in partnership with Red Eagle Soaring, School's Out Washington, and Seattle Public Schools' Huchoosedah Native American Education Program.

More than 40 participants included youth from Seattle Ryther Child Center and Bridge Program from Pierce County. The youth discussed current issues that Native youth face including community strengths, what success means to them, barriers to their success and input of what is needed from HSD to be successful.


The impact of the recession on vulnerable families

After more than 10 years as a social services counselor at a South King County school district, Diane found herself in an almost unimaginable role reversal. With her 3-year-old son and teenage daughter, Diane moved to a family emergency shelter - one of the same shelters to which she referred her clients. How is the recession affecting the lives of economically vulnerable families raising young children in King County? To find out, Communities Count interviewed a diverse group of low- to middle-income parents. In this post, Communities Count explores the economic borderland that few middle-class parents ever imagine they will inhabit. From the perspective of this unfamiliar world, the post examines the essential role of social service benefits in helping families work their way to self-sufficiency. 

 Web portal promotes walking

For those of you whose New Year's resolution includes more physical activity, please visit this Web site. HSD's Aging and Disability Services collaborated with DoIT to promote walking organizations, events, and resources for older adults. The page includes links to local walks and hikes, neighborhood walking maps, and volunteer opportunities like shelter dog walking as well as a selection of 5Ks and 10Ks by month. 

Older workers staying on the job
In case you missed it, this Seattle Times article explores the growing trend of older adults remaining in and returning to the workforce. According to the Times, the percentage of senior citizens working has nearly doubled in the past two decades. Now roughly one in seven Washington residents 65 years and older is employed. The trend is expected to accelerate as more baby boomers approach retirement age. Workers 55 and older accounted for less than 10 percent of the state's workforce in 1990, but more than 20 percent by the end of 2010. The article quotes a job counselor from the Human Services Department's Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens.

 Share your thoughts with the Library

Do you check out books or DVDs from the library? Do you come to the library for story time, to use a free computer or listen to an author? The Seattle Public Library wants your input on priorities for improvement in four essential areas:  hours, books and materials, computers and online services, and maintenance. The community meetings are scheduled as follows:


* 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 7, Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Microsoft Auditorium (206-386-4636)
* Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, Beacon Hill Branch, 2821 Beacon Ave. S. (206-684-4711)
* 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, Ballard Branch, 5614 22nd Ave. N.W. (206-684-4089). 


If you cannot attend a meeting, please visit this Web site to share your feedback. 

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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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