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February 2012

Implementing our Strategic Plan


Dannette R. SmithWe've reached an exciting and important milestone in making our Strategic Plan a reality. We are beginning to implement some of the infrastructure changes in the Human Services Department (HSD) that will help us better implement the plan.

Effective, Wednesday, February 15, 2012, several HSD management and supervisory positions will experience a shift in responsibilities in order to more intentionally group and use our leadership resources. Some changes in the reporting structure for staff will also occur.

The context for these changes is important to note. In July 2010, the Mayor and City Council charged HSD with three goals: (1) create a seamless service delivery system; (2) reorganize, redesign contracting infrastructure and processes; and (3) develop a data-driven environment that guides investments.

In late 2010, the department completed a strategic planning process which involved staff from throughout the department and input from a wide diversity of community members. In the first quarter of 2011, we began a realignment effort to eliminate barriers to collaboration, increase operating efficiency, and more effectively meet the needs of constituents. We consolidated from five to four divisions.

HSD's four divisions - Youth & Family Empowerment, Community Support & Self Sufficiency, Transitional Living & Support, and Aging & Disability Services - now more accurately reflect the continuum of care our core business represents, affecting the lives of individuals and families from birth through the later years of life, as well as periods of vulnerability and risk.

The rationale for the infrastructure changes are to 1) align staff to the core functions of system building and investing; 2) create opportunities for synergy within and across divisions; and 3) maximize efficiencies in light of shrinking resources.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. I can be reached at 206-684-0263 or


Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Job training for immigrant and refugee youth and their families

Immigrant/refugee youth news conferenceIn January, Mayor McGinn announced that the City will provide $465,000 for the Integrated Job Readiness Training for Immigrant and Refugee Youth and Families program, funding that will be awarded through a competitive Request for Investment (RFI) process.


The RFI is in response to community feedback heard during the Mayor's Youth & Families Initiative community meetings and the Human Services Department's Strategic Plan community engagement. The RFI is unique in its approach to involve both established agencies that serve this population and smaller "developing" agencies that are based in the community. The application process includes technical assistance to those developing agencies.


The RFI targets youth age 15-20 years old and their families who speak the nine most common non-English languages in Seattle Public Schools. Immigrant and refugee youth have the lowest high school graduation rates. At the same time, immigrant and refugee parents face multiple challenges making a successful transition to life in America such as obtaining a living wage job and overcoming language barriers.


The program includes a family-based approach to job readiness training for immigrant and refugee youth coordinated with support for parents, and bilingual job readiness training for youth with paid summer employment.


Applications for the RFI are due on February 14, 2012. Contracts are scheduled to be awarded in April 2012 and services are scheduled to begin in May 2012.

For more information visit this Web site. To view the Mayor's news conference on the program click here

A new plan for City's investments to prevent and end homelessness

The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) has developed a long-term plan for the City's human service investments to prevent and end homelessness. The plan will guide the City's future investments in emergency shelter, transitional housing, day centers/hygiene centers and supportive services for adults, families with children, youth and young adults, and domestic violence survivors who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness.


HSD plans to release the Communities Supporting Safe and Stable Housing Investment Plan in early spring. Information about the Investment Plan and the community meeting to introduce the plan will be posted on this HSD Web page. For more information, please contact Andrea Akita, HSD, 206-684-0113 or

HSD's winter storm response

The Human Services Department (HSD) played an important role in the City's response to last month's snow storm. A couple of highlights:

  • Shelter: HSD opened an additional winter shelter for homeless people in the Rainier Room at Seattle Center, and staff monitored the nightly count of homeless people sleeping in this space, and at our other winter shelters at City Hall and the Frye Hotel. Staff also worked with providers to expand hours at day centers, where people could spend the day out of the cold weather. Staff monitored the status of food banks and meals programs (open or closed) each day.
  • Vulnerable clients: Aging & Disability Services case management staff contacted high-risk clients to check on their health and provide warnings not to bring barbecues or generators indoors due to the carbon monoxide risk. In December, staff had distributed "To Go" emergency preparedness kits to these same high-risk clients. Kits included: a hand crank radio/flashlight; a water jug with instructions; and a list of personal items for clients to add to the kit in case of evacuation, e.g., spare eyeglasses, list of medications. When south King County experienced widespread power outages during the storm, case managers checked on clients to pass along information about shelter and warming centers. 
Oral health grant will provide dental services

Washington Dental Service Foundation approved an Aging & Disability Services grant request to integrate oral health into our service delivery system through education and training of staff, increasing access to oral health services and information for our clients, and by promoting the importance of oral health to the broader community. The $20,000 grant will fund training and materials for ADS Case Management and Family Caregiver Support staff, oral hygiene kits for case management clients, and mobile dental services for the highest need clients.  

Outdoor Meals Program update

The Human Services Department (HSD) has proposed to move outdoor meals program (located under I-5) indoors to better connect participants with services they may need. HSD contracts with OPERATION : Sack Lunch to run the program with $133,000 a year in funding. After a meeting in lte January, HSD and OPERATION: Sack Lunch jointly agreed to convene a task force to develop a plan over the next six months. The task force will include service providers, representatives from Pioneer Square/Belltown businesses, and the Downtown Seattle Association. For more information and updates, please visit this Web site.
Seniors flock to computer training program
Senior volunteers
Volunteers with the Seniors Training Seniors program 

Seniors from their 50s to their 90s are flocking to computer training with the popular Seniors Training Seniors in Computer Technology program run by the Human Services Department's Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens.

"We want to provide the best information, training and resources for their personal success in learning for personal growth or future employment," says program coordinator Patti-lyn Bell.

The program offers beginning to advanced classes taught by an enthusiastic group of 12 volunteer teachers. Seniors who are currently unemployed can take job-related classes and workshops relating to resume writing, online applications, job search, interviewing, and personal computer security. Computer classes are held every month January through June, and September - November.

To learn more about the classes or volunteering, please call Patti-lyn Bell, Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, at 206-684-0639 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays) or e-mail

 Contracting update
Did you know that the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) invests more than $80 million a year in community-based agencies providing services in Seattle and King County? As a funder, HSD develops more than 500 contracts each year as the legal vehicle for getting those funds to the community. Our busiest contracts "season" is late fall, as staff work with agencies to develop 300 contracts scheduled to begin January 1.

This year we set an ambitious goal to have all of our contracts complete by January 1 - a change from prior years when contract development could continue into January and February. By ensuring our contracts are in place on time we will be better able to support agencies to serve clients and receive City payment on time, critical during these times of shrinking budgets.

As a reminder, HSD is in the process of restructuring and realigning funding, contracting and agency monitoring processes to be more strongly based on equity, efficiency and accountability. This work directly responds to the department's new Strategic Plan, and incorporates feedback from staff, partners and community. You'll hear more about this important work as it progresses.  

Senior Coffee Hour features Dep. Mayor Darryl Smith on Feb. 16

Seattle Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith will be speaking at the Mayor's Office for SeniDarryl Smithor Citizens' Coffee Hour on Thursday, February 16th, 10 a.m., in the first floor of the Central Building (810 3rd Avenue). Please join us at this event.

Deputy Mayor Smith leads community engagement efforts aimed at neighborhoods, small businesses and civic organizations. He also supports Mayor McGinn's efforts to more deeply engage citizens in their Seattle community. Priority projects include revitalizing neighborhood business districts and creating more opportunities for green jobs in Seattle. 

 Youth, education, and career fair on Feb. 22

SYEP flierWant to meet local employers, college representatives and learn about jobs and other community resources? Seattle young people between age 14 and 21 are invited to attend the 2012 Youth Education, Career and Resource Fair on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. S in Seattle. This event is sponsored by the Seattle Human Services Department in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, Metrocenter YMCA, Sea Mar and YouthCare.

HSD 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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