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November 2012

City departments prepare for disaster 

Dannette R. Smith


As the massive multi-state response to Hurricane Sandy has clearly shown, communities cannot be too prepared for a disaster. With this in mind, the Seattle Human Services Department teamed up with Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Seattle Animal Shelter, the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities and Public Health - Seattle & King County Medical Reserve Corps to hold a lively full-scale emergency shelter exercise on October 16th at Yesler Community Center.

More than 100 people and 10 animals participated in activating a human shelter with an adjacent pet shelter. Community members and City staff volunteered to act as shelter residents, and participants included people with access and functional needs. The exercise also unveiled the City's Pet Emergency Trailer-Seattle (PETS) unit, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This is important because, as studies of the Katrina disaster have revealed, many people will not evacuate their homes if it means leaving their pets behind.

Shelter exercise For several hours, the community center was dedicated to emergency response. The lobby was used to register shelter residents. The gym was set up with cots for overnight stay. A pet shelter was set up in the ground floor garage. Public Health staff triaged people with health issues in a side office. And the multipurpose room and kitchen were used to plan a multi-meal shelter menu.

The purpose of the exercise was to put staff and players in as real a situation as possible to test the City's sheltering plans and obtain feedback and ideas for improvement. Other partners in the exercise included the American Red Cross of King and Kitsap Counties, and the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center.

It was a great way to test our readiness and learn how to improve upon our response. To learn how to get you and your family prepared in case of a disaster, visit the Office of Emergency Management's Personal Preparedness Web page.


Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Grant will help educate seniors about oral health

What happens in the mouth is often a reflection of what happens in the body. Oral health has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and other serious conditions. Seniors are particularly at high risk for gum disease and oral cancers. Yet an average of only one in five seniors visits the dentist, and only 22 percent of seniors are covered by dental insurance. Medicare does not cover dental care and the state Medicaid program recently cut dental services for adults.

Earlier this year, the Human Services Department's Aging & Disability Services (ADS) division received at $20,000 grant from the Washington Dental Foundation to help make a difference. The grant will pay for an oral health "tool kit" that provides information about the importance of oral health and dental care, increases access to care, improves oral health data collection and promotes oral and overall health.

ADS case managers will use the tool kit to help spread the word about oral health and dental care to the thousands of seniors and people with disabilities in their care in Seattle and King County. For more information about oral health please visit this Web site and see this handout

2 new funding opportunities

The Seattle Human Services Department is seeking proposals for two new funding opportunities:

  • Request for Investment (RFI) for community organizing and leadership development activities with immigrants, refugees and other communities of color. Approximately $100,000 in General Funds are available. Applications are due on November 15th, 2012. Initial awards will be made for the period of January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013.
  • Request for Investment (RFI) for services that promote the psychological, social and physical well-being of children served in the Step Ahead preschool program, which is funded through the Families & Education Levy. Approximately $200,400 from the 2011 Levy is available. Applications are due on November 8th, 2012. Funding awards will be made for the period, January 1st, 2013 to August 31st, 2013.

 For more information on both of these RFIs, please visit this Web site.

Additional bus tickets available for 2012

The King County Council has made a one-time increase of $312,500 in bus tickets for purchase at a reduced rate of 20% through the Human Services Reduced Fare Bus Ticket Program. The program provides subsidized bus tickets to eligible human service agencies serving persons who are homeless and/or low income. The City portion for allocation is $156,250 (total ticket value). Allocations will be made through an expedited allocation process, with applications now available and due on Nov. 4th. This application process is open to all nonprofit and government organizations that meet funding eligibility. The City has been working closely with King County, which is running a parallel allocation process with similar funding guidelines. This allocation process is in addition to the 2013 annual allocation process. For more information, please contact Lindsey Zimmerman, Human Services Department, at or 206-684-0106.   

Learning about how to save on utility bills
Last month, the Human Services Department partnered with Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities to present the annual Energy and Utility Summit anudp summit 2d Resource Fair on October 25th at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service. The morning summit was an opportunity for community service providers to learn more in depth of the many programs available to residents of the greater Seattle area. In the afternoon, the general public was invited to learn about utility assistance programs and how to get connected to Community Voice Mail, Lifeline cell phones and subsidized internet programs. For more information on how to save on utility bills, please see this flier.
Welcome Tracy Hilliard, HSD's new data director
Tracy Hilliard The Human Services Department is pleased to announce that Tracy Hilliard, Ph.D. will be joining the department in the role of Director of Data Integrity. She will begin work at HSD on November 7th, 2012. Tracy brings a wealth of professional and educational experience to the department. She has a Ph.D. in Health Services, a Masters of Public Health degree in Health Services and a B.A. degree in sociology, all with the University of Washington. Her most recent positions were as Project Director for Public Health - Seattle & King County and as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the U.W.'s Department of Psychosocial & Community Health. In various other capacities, she has worked for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Group Health Research Institute, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. A Seattle native, Tracy is eager to apply her knowledge and background to serve the people of her hometown.
Report addresses commercial sexual exploitation 

On Monday, Oct. 29th, the Human Services Department presented its Strategic Framework on Commercial Sexual Exploitation at City Hall. Speakers included Mayor McGinn, Councilmember Burgess, representatives of the Seattle-King County Exploitation Response Network and the Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking, survivor and founder of Rare Coin Ministries - Sheila Houston, and City Attorney Pete Holmes. Nearly 100 people attended. The report will be available soon online on HSD's Web site

Enroll early for kindergarten 2013-2014
The Human Services Department (HSD) in its coordinating role for the Seattle Early Education Collaborative (SEEC), is promoting early enrollment for kindergarten 2013-2014. Seattle Public Schools, SEEC, and preschools funded by HSD have partnered to provide culturally responsive support for families enrolling their children into kindergarten. Child care, dinner, interpreters, resources, technical assistance, and translation of materials, will be provided at seven enrollment nights at various school locations beginning on November 1st and running through January 15th, 2013. Please see this flier for more information for dates and locations of enrollment nights.

Youth learn about college life

SYEP at college Last month, 25 youth participants of the Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) toured Western Washington University and Northwest Indian College (pictured at right) in Bellingham.  


At both locations, youth received a tour of the campus and met with the admissions staff to learn more about college life, the admissions process and preparation for college.

Conversation with community on public benefits


Connections partner cafe
From left: Jennie Dershowitz, U.W. School of Nursing; Terrel Dorsey, Unleash the Brilliance; Ella Byrne, Ultra-Teen Choice


Human Services Department staff hosted a "conversation café" for community partners involved in Washington Connection, the state's Web portal to public benefits. Held at the former Horace Mann School, on October 18th, the meeting focused on making connections. Twenty six participants from 19 organizations, including ethnic and grassroots community groups, learned about each other's work and exchanged resources.


Questions for future conversations emerged such as how to access resources and reach out to various communities. The next cafés are on November 15th and January 17th.

2-1-1 now has a smart phone app

 The Washington Information Network 211 now has the WIN211 app for both androids and IPhones. With on click of a button you can be connected to the resources you need with no extra web browsing, searching or typing. The WIN211app is available in multiple languages based on the phone language selection. Go now and download your WIN211app at Google play or iTunes.

Data shows income disparities in King County

GraphRecently released data shows income disparities persist in King County according to Communities Count. Despite this post-recession "leveling effect," income differences by race and ethnicity increased in the first decade of the 21st century. Since 1999, median income has gone up ...
* 6% for Blacks.
* 17% for Hispanics.
* 25% for Whites.
* 47% for Asians.   

For more information, please see this Web link.  

Scarves needed for Warm for Winter Project

yarnThe Interfaith Network has organized the 2012 Warm for Winter Project to keep the chill away and brighten a homeless individual's day by knitting or crocheting hats and scarves.


The Interfaith Network is a Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to building relationships among local faith groups and sponsoring joint activities and programs. For more information please visit this Web site.

Mayor McGinn will speak at Coffee Hour on Nov. 15th

Mayor MdGinn Join the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens for a conversation with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. The Senior Coffee Hour will be held on Thursday, November 15th, from 10:15 to 11 a.m. at the

Downtown Seattle Public Library
1000 4th Avenue, Level 4, Conference Room 1
Seattle, WA 98104   

Free information session on federal reimbursement for disaster activities

When a disaster hits what losses and activities can be reimbursed if a federal disaster declaration is made? On Wednesday, November 28th from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the American Red Cross (1900 - 25th Avenue S, Seattle) learn answers to these questions at a free information session for governmental and non-governmental agencies that provide human services or agencies that may offer emergency shelter, food, child care or other assistance in a disaster. Often, opportunities to recoup costs are lost or extra costs are incurred because agencies are not familiar before a disaster with what may or may not qualify for federal reimbursement. Alysha Kaplan, an expert with the State of Washington on the federal disaster declaration reimbursements, will provide information about federal disaster public assistance. For more information, please contact Jill Watson, Emergency Management Planner, Seattle Human Services Department, at 206-684-7788 or

Want to volunteer at food banks & meal programs?

Many local nonprofits are in need of donations and volunteers during the holiday season and throughout the year. Please consult this list of Seattle organizations that could use your help.

HSD on Facebook, Twitter!

FacebookYes, even the human services world has entered the realm of social media. Many service providers are on Facebook and Twitter, and so is the Seattle Human Services Department. It is another way to stay connected and hear about the latest news and information about funding opportunities and other need-to-know. Please visit us on Facebook and "like" our page. Follow us on Twitter @SeattleHSD 

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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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