Life Lines masthead

September 2013

Mid-year results show 'Career Bridge' making a difference


Catherine Lester
More than just another referral to a job list or web site, the Career Bridge program provides real solutions to overcoming obstacles that some community members have encountered while looking for work.

Career Bridge is a collaborative effort among the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD), Office of Economic Development (OED) and the Seattle Jobs Initiative in partnership with a network of community "sponsors" including service providers, faith organizations and community coalitions. The program is intended for adults living in Seattle who face barriers to employment that may include: limited work experience, lack of education, low basic skills, lack of housing and basic needs, criminal history, and financial hardship. The job readiness training participants receive includes job search skills such as interviewing and resume writing, communications skills, personal management skills, clothing, appearance and grooming, and motivation.

Mid-year reports of this program show impressive results. From November 2012 through May 2013, four Career Bridge "cohorts" or groups completed the program. After these first six months, 28 of 42 participants were placed in jobs, skills training, or continuing education. Currently 24 of 42 (58%) are still working or enrolled in training. Of the first 42 participants in the program, all were African American males, more than half of whom were over age 35. Also of note: 85 percent reported having a criminal background; 64 percent had annual household incomes of less than $10,000; 67 percent were receiving some form of public assistance; and 62 percent were living in "marginal" housing, including 19 percent who were homeless. The fifth cohort was completed in June with nine participants. 

In late August, another cohort focused on African American male prisoners in partnership with the Black Prisoners' Caucus at the Monroe State Prison. Thirteen individuals who will be released in less than 12 months participated along with 15 members of the Black Prisoners Caucus who will serve as a sponsor until the men are released. Mayor McGinn visited Monroe on September 13th. 

In 2014, the leadership of Career Bridge will transition to a community-based organization selected through a Request for Qualification (RFQ) process that is now under way. Proposals are due on Sept. 16, 2013. For more information about the RFQ please visit this Web site. One final cohort for 2013 will begin in late October and will serve as a transition to the program as operated by the newly selected community-based organization.

HSD and OED will provide a briefing on Career Bridge to the City Council's Economic Resiliency and Regional Relations Committee, on Sept. 17th.

If you have any questions about Career Bridge, please contact Marie Kurose at or 206-386-1717 or Tracy Hilliard at or 206-733-9968.

Catherine Lester
Interim Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Encampment residents receive services
Photo from UGM

You may have seen media coverage of the encampment in southwest Seattle and the efforts to both house the homeless residents there, and move remaining residents to other locations.The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) was part of a City of Seattle team that worked to implement a City Council ordinance to help encampment residents find other shelter or transitional housing and to close the camp by Sept. 1, 2013. 


HSD's piece of the response was to connect people at encampment with the services and access to housing, and we contracted with the Seattle Union Gospel Mission (UGM) to provide these services. Since July 1, UGM, using $500,000 provided by the City Council, assessed a total of more than 140 people who lived at the encampment to identify what they needed in order to leave the camp and connect them with the right providers. UGM helped at least 45 people from 29 households at the encampment move to other housing. Eight people were provided with "traveler's aid" to help them move out of the city/state to join family members; 48 people at the encampment received legal aid, treatment or other services. UGM's work at the encampment was complex and nuanced, complicated by people moving into the encampment even as the Sept. 1st deadline approached. Encampment residents and other local agencies referred new residents to the encampment throughout the summer. In early July, the estimated population of the camp was 75-80 people; by the end of August that number had swelled to 150. Some residents chose, for whatever reason, not to take advantage of offered housing and services - as is their right

On September 1st and soon thereafter, the remaining residents of the encampment moved to three locations, two in Seattle's Central District and one in Skyway (unincorporated King County). 

Seattle & King County receive federal grants for homeless assistance

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that Seattle and King County will receive additional federal assistance funds of $1.4 million, bringing the total award for the year to over $23.8 million for housing and supportive services to help homeless individuals and families. The local award is part of HUD's announcement of $52 million in additional funding awarded nationwide for homeless assistance. The funding will support three permanent housing projects (a total of $826,038) serving individuals and families who have been homeless for a long period of time and a $395,096 grant for a regional Rapid Rehousing Project. "Rapid rehousing" is a strategy to find permanent housing as quickly as possible for people who are homeless. 

Youth interns work at local small business


Deli Cut Subs
SYEP intern Sedona Donaldson (left) goes over food preparation with Deli Cut's Bee Chand.
The Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) wrapped up a successful summer program in late August. Deli Cut Subs was a new internship site developed by SYEP this summer, made possible by additional funding from Bank of America. At the family-run business, located in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood, Bee Chand worked with youth to teach them customer service, food preparation, and barista skills as well as small business operation. The two youth placed at Deli Cut represented SYEP and themselves very well and have helped to create the foundation for a lasting partnership with SYEP. 


HSD names Jason Johnson as new division director
Jason Johnson The Seattle Human Services Department has named Jason Johnson as the new division director for the department's Community Support & Assistance division. In this capacity Jason will lead one of HSD's three main operating divisions overseeing homelessness services, food and meal programs, domestic violence and sexual assault services, utility assistance, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Jason will begin work with the city on Monday, September 23, 2013. 

Jason was raised and educated in Colorado where he received a Bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Colorado. He moved to Seattle in 1997, and brings more than 20 years of experience in the human services field, both in the public and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, Jason has been working for the City of Kent in their Human Services Department where he has had a lead role in Kent's efforts around homelessness, domestic violence and other critical human service issues. Prior to joining the City of Kent, Jason worked for various nonprofit organizations in Seattle including Lifelong AIDS Alliance under the leadership of Tina Podlodowski, and at Solid Ground/Freemont Public Association under the leadership of Frank Chopp. 
How the Summer Food Service Program helps families
Recently, Sara Bezabih wrote to HSD's Summer Food Service Program staff about her family's experience with the program this summer.

Kahssay family
Peteros, Joshua, and Deborah Kahssay
My name is Sara Bezabih, and my three children participated in the Summer Learning Program. I actually am the mother of five children: 15 year old twin boys that go to Nathan Hale High School, and my three children in the program, my daughter Deborah and son Peteros, twins who are 7 years old and going into 2nd grade, and my son Joshua 6 years going into 1st grade. We are from Ethiopia, and we came to the US 1 year ago. We are learning about our new life in Seattle, there have been many changes and adjustments. We are happy to be here, but there are some struggles and things we must continue to work and improve.

As a single mother, it is really good and important to know that my family has support from the community. My children participated in the Summer Food Service Program through Seattle City. It helped them to try new foods, and it gave them healthy options. I was really happy that they could get a good meal before class started. And it was a good security to know that every day of program they could have a secure meal. They also told me about the snack that they would get during program. They liked the snack, and it made me feel good as a mom to know they were taken care of. It was a relief for me, trying to provide for them alone.
Sept. 24th workshop will help agencies prepare for emergencies

  Emergency prepRegister now for a workshop called "Agency Emergency Planning: Emergency Preparedness and Response for Community Based Organizations." This is the third and final training in a three-part series. Workshop organizers are using the Community Based Organizations: Standards and Indicators for Preparedness and Response to guide this series. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 24th from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the American Red Cross. For more information and to register, please visit this Web site 

September Coffee Hour to feature city arts director
Randy headPlease join us at the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens' Senior Coffee Hour, this month featuring the director of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, Randy Engstrom. 

Randy most recently ran Reflex Strategies, a cultural and community-based consulting services business. He served as chair of the Seattle Arts Commission in 2011 after serving two years as vice chair, and was chair of the Facilities and Economic Development Committee from 2006 to 2010. 

The Coffee Hour will be held on Thursday, September 19, 2013, 10:00-11:00 a.m., at the Central Building, 810 3rd Ave., between Columbia and Marion streets.
Community Police Commission seeks consultants

The Community Police Commission (CPC) seeks consultants, through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process, to conduct community outreach between October 1 and November 1, 2013. Consultants will plan and conduct outreach to targeted groups, inform these groups of the police reform process and the CPC's role in that process, solicit from them general feedback on police-community relations and specific feedback that will inform four specific policy areas that the CPC will make recommendations on, and report the results of their outreach activities. The outreach is intended for communities most directly affected by excessive use of force and biased policing (communities of color; immigrant and refugee communities; lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender communities; youth; those who are low-income and/or homeless; and those with chemical dependencies or mental illness). The CPC provides community members with a means to comment on proposed changes in police policies and practices, and a voice and stake in Seattle's police reform process. RFP submissions are due on Sept. 18, 2013. For more details, see the full RFQ, Scope of Work and associated documents on this Web site. City Contact Information: Glenn Harris, 

Resource Exchange for homeless people on Sept. 17th

United Way's Resource Exchange is a day devoted to connecting people experiencing homelessness in King County with immediate access to the services and resources they need. The event will be held on Tuesday, September 17th, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In one place, on one day, attendees will enjoy a hot meal and have access to free health services, haircuts, voicemail accounts, public benefits, referrals to employment training and more. For more information or to volunteer, see this Web site.  

Utility Summit on Oct. 24th 

Service providers, caregivers, and case managers: Receive up-to-date information about electric and water rate discounts and emergency utility payment assistance programs at the City of Seattle's Energy, Resource and Utility Summit on Oct. 24th, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St., Seattle 98122. RSVP by Oct. 10th. Questions? Contact Cynthia Ellison at or 206-733-9035 or Brenda Sevilla-Miranda at or 206-733-9055. 

FREE financial advice on Oct. 12th

Finance Financial Planning Day is coming on October 12 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St., featuring:

  • FREE, one-on-one personalized financial advice from Certified Financial Planners;
  • Credit, debt, and housing counselors and benefits specialists will also offer free, one-on-one advice; and
  • Workshops on budgeting, credit reports and scores, dealing with debt collectors, and health care reform.

To register, visit this Web site or call 1-877-861-7826. 

Like us on Facebook!

Yes, even the human services world has entered the realm of social media. 

TwitterFacebookMany 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 information. Please visit us on Facebook and "like" our page. Follow us on Twitter @SeattleHSD.  


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