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December 2012

City budget adds services for vulnerable residents 

Dannette R. Smith


The Seattle City Council approved the final 2013-2014 City budget on November 19th, 2012 and I am pleased to report that the Council left intact HSD's 2013 budget as presented in the Mayor's Proposed Budget submitted to the Council in September.


The Mayor's Budget preserved funding for basic human services for children and youth, domestic violence victims, homeless individuals and families, seniors, and other vulnerable community members. In addition, the Mayor's Budget included funding for an expansion of the Child Care Assistance Program helping 75 additional children receive child care; expanded services to help homeless families with children find stable housing; the Career Bridge program to help job seekers who face barriers to employment; and for the first time since 2009, inflationary increases in the contracts HSD maintains with community service providers.

In more good news, the City Council added more than $1.7 million to HSD's budget to support homeless individuals and families, domestic violence victims, seniors, food security services, and the Nurse Family Partnership program. Specifically the Council added funding for: 

  • Homeless women, men, and families - $600,000
  • Domestic violence victims - $230,000
  • Individuals and families needing food security - $200,000
  • Senior residents - $150,000
  • First-time mothers living in poverty - $530,000

We are grateful to our City leaders for their support in this time of great need. Details about the budget are available at this Web site.  

Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Transition for PeoplePoint program

The 2013 City budget recently approved by the City Council necessitates a minor change to the process of applying for City of Seattle benefits through the Washington Connection Web portal. Previously HSD's PeoplePoint staff have gathered and assessed applicant eligibility information, acting as an intermediary between Washington Connection and City benefit programs, including Emergency Low-Income Assistance (ELIA), Project Share, Utility Discount Program, Child Care Assistance, Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP), Step Ahead preschool program and HomeWise.

The revised process will remain "user friendly," but the transmittal of applicant information from Washington Connection to PeoplePoint staff will no longer take place. Instead, potentially eligible applicants will receive contact information for each City program so they can apply directly to these programs. They can still apply online for state benefits. The transition will begin in mid-December 2012 and all changes will be fully implemented by January 13, 2013. If you have any questions regarding this transition, please contact Susan McCallister, Human Services Department, at 206-233-0014 or 

 Food banks need donations
Local food banks are facing the double whammy of increasing numbers of clients and declining food donations. Speaking at the Pike Market Food Bank iFood Bankn downtown Seattle in November, Mayor Mike McGinn called on residents to donate food and money. "As families and individuals struggle to make ends meet in a difficult economy, we want to make sure that no one goes hungry in Seattle," the Mayor said.

According to the Seattle Food Committee, in the last five years, Seattle food banks have seen a 25 percent rise in the number of clients coming to them for help. At the same time a recent report on hunger and homelessness by the U.S. Conference of Mayors shows a 31 percent decline in the amount of food donations in the area. Those donations are urgently needed. The most needed items include protein (canned tuna, chicken, peanut butter), canned fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, grains (pasta, rice, macaroni), meals in a can (canned stews, chili), soups (beef stew, chili, chicken noodle,), and multigrain cereal (Cheerios, Cornflakes, Grapenuts, Raisin Bran). Financial donations are also key and enable food banks to bulk purchase the items they need most. See this comprehensive list of food banks in Seattle.
Want to volunteer?

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. 

Outreach to homeless youth
November was Homeless Youth Awareness Month and on November 1st, 2012, Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) staff accompanied street outreach workers from the Lifelong AIDS Alliance to distribute "Did You Know" fliers and other resource materials along with hygiene and first aid packs, socks and snacks at following locations: Westlake Park, Freeway Park, Victor Steinbrueck Park, and Pike Place Market. HSD funds several organizations that perform street outreach to homeless youth and young people.

 Enroll early for kindergarten 2013-2014
Human Services Department is partnering with Seattle Public Schools andBoy with blocks the Seattle Early Education Collaborative to host early kindergarten enrollment nights at several Seattle elementary schools through mid-January 2013. For a list of enrollment night locations, click here. Families who attend will have a chance to hear from kindergarten teachers and Seattle Public Schools enrollment specialists who will help families enroll in kindergarten and answer questions about what to expect in kindergarten. Child care, dinner, interpreters, resources, technical assistance, and translation of materials, will be provided. Other partners include Seattle Public Schools Food & Nutrition, Seattle Public Schools Special Education Child Find, Seattle Public Library, Child Care Resources, PTSAs and Parent Leaders.

City to remove portable toilet at Ballard Commons Park  

The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) and Seattle Parks and Recreation removed the portable toilet located at Ballard Commons Park (5701 22nd Ave. NW) as of Tuesday, December 4, 2012 in response to results of a community survey conducted last month.

The portable toilet had been placed at the park on a trial basis since June 5, 2012. After several months of use, HSD conducted a survey of neighbors, business owners, park users and community organizations, and of the 332 respondents, 53% said they didn't want the toilet in the park, 38% said they'd like the toilet to remain at the park, and 9% weren't sure. More than 90% of the respondents were residents of Ballard.

HSD will seek a private location for a public portable toilet and work with the community to address the needs of homeless individuals in the vicinity. If such a location cannot be found, Seattle Parks and Recreation will allow a portable toilet to return to the park next summer on a three-month temporary basis. 

Kansas City incident a 'clear case of domestic violence'
National media coverage of the recent murder/suicide in Kansas City has focused on the famous professional football player and not his victim or the domestic violence angle. Here is a link to an excellent blog that sums up the issues and makes a clear and powerful statement about the reality of domestic violence homicide.
MLK Day of Service on Jan. 21

United Way logoNeed a New Year's resolution? Make it about giving back-and get off to a great start by volunteering Jan. 21, 2013, for the MLK Day of Service.

United Way of King County has projects that need volunteers. Sign up today on your own or with a group of friends or colleagues. You'll join forces with United Way and thousands of people across the country in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of compassion. If you're interested in volunteering , e-mail Erica Ellis, online volunteer specialist, or visit this Web page.

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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