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September 2012

Creating safe and stable communities

Dannette R. Smith


I am pleased to report on a new City-community partnership that responds to the spate of violent incidents that occurred in Seattle earlier this year. The Human Services Department (HSD) has been working with Seattle Parks and Recreation on the "Safe & Stable Communities Action Plan" to engage the community and provide expanded services in support of public safety for all residents.

The plan will organize existing resources as well as forge new partnerships to assist vulnerable populations, especially at-risk children and families, seniors, and homeless people.
The goals of the plan are to:  

  • Keep children and families safe
  • Ensure support for vulnerable populations
  • Engage the community in supporting vulnerable citizens
  • Minimize future incidences of violence
  • Limit duplication of effort

In developing the plan with Parks we've developed a community hub model, using the Park's five existing geographic hubs - northeast, northwest, central, southeast, southwest - with an overlay of HSD's seven family centers, which are located in different communities throughout the city. The "geo" hubs will be used to coordinate place-based services and supports for the action plan, as well as points of outreach and engagement.

We are establishing an additional hub at South Shore K-8 School in southeast Seattle due to the closure of Rainier Beach Community Center. The community center will partner with new Holly and Rainier Beach family centers to provide specialized programs, field trips and extended hours.

The services we hope to provide are:

  • Basic needs services, including food banks, cultural specific needs, information & referral
  • Youth development activities that promote healthy youth development, building on existing Parks programs such as Late Night Recreation
  • Family/parenting support for healthy parent/child relationships and to connect families to supportive resources.

Parks and HSD are working to coordinate City resources, co-locating services when possible, including HSD services. Please stay tuned for more developments.

Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Bank of America Foundation grant helps youth job program
SYEP youth at farmers market
SYEP youth at Yesler Terrace Farmers Market 

The Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP), a program of the Seattle Human Services Department, provides economically disadvantaged youth the opportunity to develop employment skills, explore careers, and meet individualized educational goals. This summer, SYEP received a generous $50,000 grant from the Bank of America Foundation to serve an additional 16 youth.  In this seven-week program, youth were placed at various high-growth sectors such as health care, trade/transportation and information technology, and involved private businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Site supervisors and SYEP employment counselors partnered throughout the summer to expose youth to green jobs and post-secondary options; develop work-readiness skills needed to increase employability; move youth onto well-paying careers and move youth towards economic self-sufficiency.

City departments embark on Career Pathways pilot project

The Office of Economic Development and the Human Services Department are exploring strategies to help low-income residents with limited work experience and other barriers to employment in a pilot project called Career Pathways.

The focus of this pilot, scheduled to launch this fall, is on populations with multiple barriers to educational and economic opportunities. Examples of those barriers include limited work experience, low basic skills, lack of post-secondary credentials, limited English proficiency, lack of housing, criminal history and the need for immediate income.

Because of the complexity of these barriers, this population is in need of a range of comprehensive services and support to prepare for and access good-paying jobs with long-term career pathways. The goal is to create an integrated system that prepares individuals and increases access to jobs and training needed to attain well-paid, career-path jobs. For more information on this project, please contact Marie Kurose, Human Services Department, at or 206-386-1010. 


Caregiver forum on Seattle Channel

HHSHC Brown BagThe Seattle Human Services Department's Aging & Disability Services, Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata and the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging and Disability Services hosted a special brown bag forum on caregiver stress and support services on July 31 attended by downtown Seattle employees and other members of the public. The forum was also broadcast on the Seattle Channel. 


Audience members heard the personal stories of caregiving, and the forum served as a public service to let people know about programs and resources to help caregivers. For more information on ADS' caregiver support program, please contact Doug Ricker at or 684-0292.

Homeless programs RFI closes

The Communities Supporting Safe and Stable Housing Request for Investment (RFI) closed on August 24th. HSD received 31 proposals requesting more than $8.1 million; $4.4 million is available. The RFI covers services to assist homeless and formerly homeless persons with community drop-in day/hygiene services and with housing stabilization and support services, including programs for families with children and assistance for domestic violence survivors. An 18-member review panel is evaluating proposals and will make recommendations to the HSD Director this fall. The panel includes funders, community, clients, advocates, City of Seattle and King County staff, and business leaders.

HSD is also seeking investment proposals from current contractors of shelter, transitional housing, domestic violence shelter/housing and permanent supportive housing through a "Letter of Intent" process. About $9.9 million is available in 2013. Proposals are due on September 24, 2012. For more information please visit this Web site

Waterfront homeless focus group

Wash St Boat Landing In August 2012, Human Services Department staff conducted a survey and a focus group discussion with individuals who are sleeping along the Seattle waterfront. The group spoke about the desire for housing, and identified several barriers to housing such as income, employment, and long housing waiting lists. Participants identified a need for public restrooms/hygiene facilities, secure and accessible storage, increased day labor opportunities, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) support, and other services. HSD staff are following up with specific shelter requests.

Counting homeless young people

Count Us In A final report on a point-in-time count of homeless youth and young adults was released earlier this summer. The count ("Count Us In") took place on May 16, 2012 by a group of youth service providers and key community members from across King County. Data was also drawn from Safe Harbors, the county's homeless management information system, to create a profile youth homelessness.


Multicultural job training

Funded by a grant from the Human Services Department (HSD) and a Broadband Technology Opportunity Program, a new program takes a multicultural integrative approach to youth job readiness training for low-income families with youth with disabilities who are English language learners.


The HSD grant was awarded through the Request for Investment for the immigrant and refugee youth job readiness training program. Twenty youth are enrolled in the program, which covers workplace expectations, hygiene, conflict resolution, and communication in the work place and the use of computers and assistive technology. The program also includes 12 hours of parent training to support student attendance and academic engagement, and monitor their child's progress in school and job readiness skills. Ginger Kwan, Director of Open Doors for Multicultural Families and Oscar Escalante STAR Center Director joined forces to provide these valuable skills to the youth in four languages. Open Doors staff includes four cultural brokers in Chinese, Spanish, Somali, and Vietnamese and STAR Center includes a technology teacher, an Independent Living Skills specialist, and an administrative support staff.


Fall prevention workshop

Cane and person As part of the fall prevention mini-grant received from the State Department of Health, staff from the Human Services Department's Aging & Disability Services conducted the first of two fall prevention workshops in South King County, targeting older Russian-speaking adults. More than 30 case management clients and their caregivers participated in the two-hour workshop in Auburn which included translated information on the components of fall prevention (exercise, eye exams, medication reviews, and environmental assessments) and demonstrations on balance and strengthening exercises. A second workshop was held on July 25 at the Ukrainian Community Center in Renton. Follow-up workshops are scheduled for September.


September Senior Coffee Hours

The Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens is sponsoring two Senior Coffee Hour events in the month of September.

  • Terrie JohnstonOn Thursday, September 20, at 10 a.m., Terrie Johnston, Crime Prevention Coordinator with the Seattle Police Department will speak on local crime prevention and crime prevention techniques. This event will be held in the Central Building, 810 3rd Avenue (between Columbia and Marion Streets) in downtown Seattle, 1st Floor Conference Room. See this event flier.
  • On Thursday, September 26Felicia Yearwood, Seattle Office of Civil Rights, will speak on Age Discrimination in a Community Senior Coffee Hour event at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center, 4655 S. Holly Street, Seattle 98118, from 10-11 a.m.
Free financial advice for DV survivors

The YWCA has announced a series of free English and Spanish-language financial education classes for victims of domestic violence this fall from September 5th through November 7th 2012 in a confidential location in South King County. Both classes will be every Wednesday afternoon from 12:00-3:00 p.m. Child care will be provided on site and transportation assistance is available

To register, women who wish to take the class in English please contact Lydia at 206-250-9956 or  Women who want to take the class in Spanish should call 425-226-1266 x1036 or e-mail

For Spanish language flier click here. For English flier click here.  


Mayor seeks nominations for Latino hertiage award

Mayor Mike McGinn and the City of Seattle Latino City Employees Organization have announced that nominations are being accepted for the Eighth Annual Latino Heritage Award. Nominations are due on September 14. Please see this news release for more details.  


Increased revenues bode well for City budget

Job growth and economic activity in Seattle is outperforming the Puget Sound region and the rest of the country, according to statistics presented by Mayor Mike McGinn in early September. This growth, combined with prudent fiscal management of City dollars, has led to improvements in the City's General Fund outlook for 2013. For details, please see this news release

Metro's Ride Free Zone ends on Sept. 29

Metro buses On Saturday, Sept. 29, Metro Transit's Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle will end.


At the same time, riders will be required to pay on entry for all trips in King County.  


For a list of commonly asked questions and answers please visit this Web site.


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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