The year has kept the Seattle Human Services Department busy, presenting many challenges, opportunities, and reasons to celebrate!
As we enter 2020, lets take a moment to look at 19 highlights from ’19 that demonstrate the incredible work our teams have accomplished together – and with your partnership – over the last year:
Preparing Youth for Success:
- Youth and Family Empowerment staff conducted a successful funding opportunity to invest $4.4 million next year in 14 proposals from community organizations to provide support for youth and young adults harmed by the criminal legal system in Seattle.
- We have expanded the Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) from summer-only to a year-round model, providing increased access for youth to grow as community leaders and prepare for future work and career opportunities by engaging in a set curriculum to build job-readiness skills as part of a cohort of youth.
- The Summer Food Service Program served over 175,000 meals and snacks at 114 sites this year, providing nutrition to kids so they can thrive and grow upon returning to school.
Supporting Affordability and Livability:
- The Utility Discount Program expanded their stellar services to bring affordability to nearly 34,000 utility customers throughout our region, and once again presented the Energy, Utility, and Resource Summit in conjunction with Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities.
- Partnered with the Office of Sustainability and Environment and Department of Education and Early Learning to support the Fresh Bucks To Go food bag pilot, an offshoot of the City of Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program, which delivers healthy, local produce and online convenience directly to families through the Seattle Public Preschool Program and before- and after-school programs serving low-income children and families in Seattle.
- HSD’s Child Care Bonus Program provided $2M in capital funding for the development of a location of the Denise Louise Early Learning Center, which will serve 300 children and their guardians annually in six new classrooms, as part of Mercy Housing’s project which redeveloped the historic Sand Point Naval Air Station into 148 affordable apartments –as well as resident services and a neighborhood health clinic.
- HSD granted $50,000 to Villa Comunitaria to work with the Latinx Community and South Park residents to expand their urban garden at Marra Farm. The expansion will provide hands-on learning about organics and healthy soil production, distribution, and sales of produce. The grant will support seasonal garden events; community meals at Marra Farm; and field trips to connect residents with food resources, such as local farmers markets and community kitchens.
- Our ongoing strategic investments in homelessness helped shelter and house more people in 2019 than any other year.
- Critical services were surged to unprecedented levels during last winter’s storms to deliver food and supportive services to more than 1,250 people. During the worst of the storms, our partners stood up emergency shelter for hundreds of people at community centers across Seattle and HSD case managers called 700+ high-risk clients to ensure they were safe, had enough food, and had an up-to-date emergency plan.
- We also have had an opportunity to transform our homelessness response system by taking a new and collaborative path throughout the Seattle region. Just before the holiday break, a new King County Regional Homelessness Authority was agreed upon.
- Even as we planned for new governance, staff were working with community partners to increase access and safety in shelter for transgender persons experiencing homelessness. We’ll be rolling out opportunities related to these policy improvements in 2020.
- In October, we partnered with Port of Seattle to extend the City’s lease at Interbay Village for an additional year.
Promoting Public Health:
- The Seattle Fire Department expanded its Mobile Integrated Health program by partnering with HSD to provide case management services on more calls, including a new ride-along program called Health One which provides an instant connection to health and social services when needed and keeps resources free for emergencies that need immediate attention.
Responding to Gender-Based Violence:
- Support of community-based and systems providers to carry out survivor supportive services, outreach, and prevention through the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (MODVSA) resulted in more than 9,000 individuals and families served in 2019. That is 2,000 more than last year. Thank you!
- MODVSA staff also advanced work to find solutions to Tech-Enabled Coercive Control (TECC) by serving on the TECC working group, which partnered with community agencies to establish a volunteer clinic at New Beginnings that helps survivors plan their tech safety.
- We also led a successful effort to increase education and awareness this year through a series of events, including:
- Expanded recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month by recruiting Mayor’s Office, Office of Labor Standards, and Legislative Department staff and the Columbia Center to participate in #PurpleThursday.
- Organized a #DenimDay educational event to amplify voices of indigenous women who are leading change for survivors as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
- Hosted an event in September to speak to the importance of addressing racism, healing trauma that African American men and boys have themselves experienced, and bringing communities together to protect African American women and girls.
Promoting Health Aging:
- Aging and Disability Services staff provided more Medicaid services to improve older adults’ health and safety in their homes, reaching 1,291 individuals with new services—this program is experiencing an average of 60 new referrals each month!
- Every four years, Area Agencies on Aging around the country develop an Area Plan, which charts the course we will follow as we seek to create an age-friendly community. The plan describes the function of Aging and Disability Services as the local Area Agency on Aging, presents relevant demographic trends, and outlines the major goals and objectives to be achieved over the course of four years. The final draft Area Plan 2020–2023 for Seattle and King County, Washington, was submitted October 4, 2019, as a result of countless engagements with staff, partners, and the community, including reviews of both local and national research in conjunction with DPE to best address the needs of Seattle’s older adults.
- We partnered with AARP to host the first Age Friendly Day at the SoundersFC on September 15
While not all-inclusive of the hard work of HSD staff over the past twelve months, it demonstrates the breadth of our work across our six key investment impact areas as we collaborate and perform services each day that deserve recognition.
Please join us in celebrating these tremendous contributions toward our department results as we look towards 2020 and continuing to rise to the challenge of making a difference in people’s lives!