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March 2013

HSD organizational changes 

Dannette R. Smith


The Human Services Department (HSD) is making an organizational change to better support individuals and families experiencing crisis or instability.

In July 2010, the Mayor and City Council charged HSD with the following 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. Over the past two years, the department has worked to achieve these goals. HSD has made significant changes in order to align resources, eliminate barriers to collaboration, increase operating efficiency, and more effectively meet the needs of constituents. In light of the recent leadership changes in two HSD divisions - Community Support & Self-Sufficiency (CSSS) and Transitional Living & Support (TLS) divisions - the department has decided to integrate the following work teams into one division:
  • Planning & Development Team
  • Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Prevention
  • Homelessness Service Investments
  • Community Development Block Grant & Facilities
  • Utility & Energy Assistance Program
  • Planning team that managed People Point and the Washington Portal
There are still many details to be worked out and clarified, including the branding of the division and the recruitment of a Division Director. This position will be advertised in early April, with the goal of having a new leader on board in July 2013.
If you have any questions, please contact HSD Deputy Director Catherine Lester at 206-386-1143 or at
Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Added funding for homeless day services

In addition to the funding awards for homeless services as reported in our February newsletter, in a separate funding process, the Human Servcies Department (HSD) is distributing an extra $200,000 for day services for homeless people. The City Council added this funding to HSD's budget in late November as part of the 2013 budget process. According to the City Council Green Sheet (101-2-A-2) this money supports "additional day center services to assist in the implementation of the Center City Initiative (CCI). It is intended that these day center services would include hygiene and support services with the intended outcome of moving adults and youth into permanent housing."

HSD expedited allocation of this funding, which will be distributed equally among day centers in the downtown core and to one youth day center. Eight of the nine existing day centers funded through the recent Request for Investment (RFI) for day services are located downtown and will receive this funding. The money will be included in 2013 contracts that begin in April 2013. An additional $204,600 is available for day services in 2014. 

Update on Fire Station #39

As of February 2013, the low-income and homeless family housing proposal at Fire Station 39 is on hold for several months while discussions to reach an agreement continue between the City and representatives of Pierre's Properties.

As you may recall, the City's preliminary recommendation for the former Fire Station 39 was to build housing for low-income and formerly homeless families at this site in the Lake City neighborhood. Last fall, the City held two community meetings and heard the concerns of many Lake City residents about this proposal. Representatives from Pierre Properties had also approached the City to discuss their plans for redeveloping the 14 properties that they own in Lake City. Lake City residents and stakeholders are actively participating in the Pierre Properties redevelopment planning process. The City and representatives of Pierre Properties are exploring if they can reach an agreement in which the City would achieve its affordable housing goals as part of the Pierre Properties redevelopment, rather than building low-income housing at the Fire Station 39 site. 

Young people deliver powerful anti-drug message

ACRS youthThe Southeast Asian Young Men's Group, part of a program at Asian Counseling and Referral Service funded in part by the Seattle Human Services Department, recently made a presentation at a national youth conference in Washington, D.C. The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America National Leadership Forum brought together more than 2,500 participants representing community anti-drug coalitions from around the country. Included in the presentation was a short film documentary made by the youth called "A Clean UA," about Peter Phan, a 17-year-old Vietnamese American who decides to quit smoking marijuana. Using a hand-held camera, Peter chronicles the difficulties and challenges of his path to recovery while exploring the benefits of being sober. (Photo courtesy of ACRS.)

Need help paying for child care?

Child care boysYou may be eligible to participate in the Seattle Human Services Department's Child Care Assistance Program. The program helps low- and moderate-income working families pay for child care for children ages one month to 13 years. The amount of payment from the City varies according to the income of the family, age of the child, and hours of care needed. The City typically pays between 25% to 70% of a standardized rate, and the family is responsible for paying the difference between the voucher amount and the provider's regular monthly rate.

To qualify you must:
* Live within Seattle city limits
* Be employed and or enrolled in educational/job training
* Have children under 13 years of age
* Currently use a provider contracted with the City of Seattle
* Not be eligible for any other child care subsidy program
* Meet income guidelines based on family size.

For income guidelines, please see our Web site. For information please call 206-386-1050.

Online shopping at Farm to Table store

VegetablesFood service kitchens, including programs serving meals to older adults, are invited to register to purchase local food from the Farm to Table Store, a locally managed Web site that offers "one stop shopping" for the freshest produce, pastured meats, dairy, etc., in wholesale quantities direct from local Washington farms.


The Farm to Table Store is one of several tools developed through Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), a grant from Public Health-Seattle & King County, with the goal of increasing access to fresh nutritious foods for senior meal and child care programs. Operated by the Northwest Agriculture Business Center an agricultural nonprofit organization, the online store serves institutional meal providers such as hospitals, universities, schools, preschools and senior meal programs, in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.


For more details, click here

Newsletter for seniors
Find out how to stay active, health insurance alternatives to Medicare, and tips on changing career paths, in the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens' latest edition of Spotlight newsletter. Please click on this link.
Affordable housing in Seattle

OH logoIn February, the Seattle Office of Housing (OH) presented an overview of the rental housing market in Seattle to the City Council. OH shared information showing that rents have been on the increase at the same time that supply has gone down. This places low-income households in a difficult position, as higher-income households rent the available affordable units. The latest information shows that more than 29,000 renter households in Seattle are severely cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than 50% of their income for housing. The majority of these households have incomes less than 30% of the area median income (or $20,800 for a family of two). For these households on the margin, the need for more affordable housing in Seattle is strikingly clear.

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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