Life Lines masthead

March 2012

HSD's role in the Families & Education Levy


HSD held three 'community conversations' to discuss the department's investments in early learning. Photo by Anthony Harris.

One of the most important initiatives of the new year for the Human Services Department is implementing the Families & Education Levy. Last fall, Seattle voters renewed the Levy for another seven years and HSD is the lead partner with the Office of Education for the $61 million in early learning investments. In this role, HSD will be managing five processes for investing dollars in the community through either a Request for Investment (RFI) or Request for Qualification (RFQ). The five processes are:


  • Step Ahead Preschool: full and part day preschool for children that are not served by either Head Start or the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). RFI release: March 15, 2012.
  • Professional Development: comprehensive training and mentoring for preschool providers to increase their effectiveness; and support for parents and other adult caregivers in understanding and supporting positive development for their children. RFI release: April 12, 2012.
  • Home Visiting: home visiting services to families with young children; research tells us that home visiting helps with early childhood literacy and school readiness; HSD is teaming with United Way of King County on this strategy. RFI release: TBD.
  • Assessment: Assessment of young children, classroom environments, teacher practice and program administration to ensure program and to help us make informed instructional and program decisions. RFQ release: April 26, 2012.
  • Health & Mental Health: health and mental health services to children being served in child care and preschools so that positive early learning is enhanced.  RFI release: May 9, 2012.

For more information on HSD's early learning programs, please contact Sonja Griffin at or 684-8835.


Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department



Older workers returning to the job market


55+ job programOlder workers are staying at their jobs longer and some are  coming out of retirement to seek work. KING 5 TV aired a story on this phenomenon, highlighting the Human Services Department's Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens and its 55+ Employment Resource Center. The story aired on Feb. 28, 2012. 


Update to City Council

HHSHC CommmitteeHuman Services Department Director Dannette R. Smith and Deputy Director Catherine Lester provided the City Council's Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee with updates on key department programs and initiatives.


This was the first of three regular briefings before the committee. The other two briefings will occur in May and September.

Find an apartment you can afford at

Housing NW logoRenters now have a new resource for finding an apartment they can afford in Seattle and King County., a free service for both landlords and renters, provides information about real-time vacancies in rental housing. Renters can search by features like neighborhood, affordability, amenities and more. The Web site is accessible 24 hours a day, while a toll-free call center (1-877-428-8844) is open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Interpretation in a number of languages is available through the call center. is sponsored by the City of Seattle, King County, the Seattle Housing Authority, the King County Housing Authority and the United Way of King County, and supported by the Tenants Union and the Rental Housing Association.


'Cyber camp' for youth

In late February, 16 Seattle Youth Employment Program youth participated in a Cyber Camp hosted by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE). Over a week, youth learned the skills to develop and create their own 3-D game. By the end of the camp, youth gained skills in writing code, creating graphics, and incorporating more advanced concepts such as physics into the game.


Changes to PeoplePoint program 

With the addition of City of Seattle benefits to the Washington Connection portal, the focus of PeoplePoint is shifting from an in-house direct service model to supporting the online application process through Washington Connection. PeoplePoint will continue to support Seattle residents who have applied for benefits online and will provide a minimum amount of direct service as needed to fulfill our contract with WithinReach for Basic Food (food stamps) applications and enrollments. Help with the online application process is available at several family centers and community center "RecTech" sites throughout Seattle. For contact information visit this Web sitePaper applications are available by directly contacting each benefit program. For more information visit this Web site.


HSD's Community Advisory Committee

The Human Services Department has formed the Human Services Community Advisory Committee, and the group held its inaugural meeting on February 2, 2012. The Advisory Committee brings together diverse stakeholders and perspectives to help shape the department's priorities and improve accountability to the communities we serve. It includes representatives from communities of color, immigrant and refugee groups, the LGBTQ community, service providers, system partners, advocates, and coalitions. The group also includes members with expertise in early learning; community health; aging and disabilities; domestic violence prevention; homeless services; and community organizing. This group is different from a traditional advisory committee. Rather than a focus on individual programs or initiatives, the committee will consider systemwide priorities and approaches, looking at programs across a continuum. The committee will meet every other month. For more information about the committee, please contact Marie Kurose, Human Services Department, at or 206-386-1010.


 2012 Master Agency Services Agreement update 

Agencies receiving City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) funding will soon receive an updated Master Agency Services Agreement for signature via our electronic signature system (Docusign) or via hard copy if your agency does not use Docusign. The MASA specifies all of the general terms and conditions included by reference in any Project Services Agreement held between a contracted agency and HSD. The updated 2012 version includes new or updated language related to reporting and documentation, non-discrimination, outreach and inclusion of women and minority business as subcontractors, the City Ethics Code and termination of contracts. If you have questions about the changes to this agreement, please contact Sara Levin, HSD, at 206-684-8691 or

Free service helps caregivers

If you care for an older friend or family member or an adult with a disability, then you're probably under a lot of stress. Between activity planning, meal preparation, managing health care, financial, and/or legal issues, and dealing with challenging behaviors often associated with care situations, you may feel your own life unraveling. Fortunately, help is available--and it's free! Unpaid caregivers can consult with a caregiver specialist by contacting any one of nine agencies in the King County Caregiver Support Network. Free consultations, advice, and coaching, or even respite care (respite services are charged on a sliding fee scale) help you maintain your own well-being and help you to provide even more effective care for a loved one.


The King County Caregiver Support Network is sponsored by Aging and Disability Services, a Seattle Human Services Department division that serves as the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle-King County. For more information, visit this Web site, call toll-free 1-888-4ELDERS, or e-mail


 HSD reports on Community Development Block Grant, other programs 

The City's draft annual report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on its use of certain federal funds for program year 2011 will be available for public review beginning March 12. The funds reviewed include the Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Emergency Shelter Grant Program, and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program. Together these funds provided the City with nearly $20 million to provide services, housing and economic opportunity for low- and moderate-income persons and special needs populations. Comments are welcome on the draft, and the final report will be submitted to HUD on March 30, 2012. You may view the draft on HSD's Web site or you may contact the Community Development Block Grant Administration Office at 684-0288 for a copy.


 City focuses on food in our community 

VegetablesThe City of Seattle is working to increase access to healthy food for everyone in Seattle, not just those who can afford it. The City recently hired a new Food Policy Advisor, who is working in our Office of Sustainability and Environment to create an action agenda that further improves people's ability to grow, eat, and sell local and healthy food in Seattle. Almost every department at the City has been engaged and working together to create a city where all Seattleites have enough to eat and have access to affordable, local, healthy, culturally appropriate food. Some of these programs are long-standing, such as the P-Patch program, senior meals, and food waste recycling. HSD's Farm to Table program has been helping preschools and senior meal programs get more fresh, healthy food from local farmers onto kids' and seniors' plates. If you're interested in being part of our effort to increase access to local, healthy, food in our community, contact


 City establishes Office for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs  

Last month, Mayor McGinn signed legislation creating the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, designed to help the City of Seattle to better meet the needs of its immigrant and refugee communities. This office will improve how the City coordinates the delivery of services to immigrant and refugee communities and how we engage these communities in our democracy. It will help us address the injustices and disparities that currently divide us in education, jobs, health and access to opportunity. The new office will reside in the Mayor's Office, but its work will be informed by the communities themselves and those who are already working to serve them.

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.

Join Our Mailing List