The Human Service Department’s first Investment Plan for the Communities Supporting Safe and Stable Housing Initiative will be released the beginning of March. Informed by a robust community engagement process, the Plan outlines investments in homelessness prevention, intervention and stabilization services. More details regarding the release of the Plan will be posted here in February.
Here is an update on the Seattle Human Services Department’s (HSD’s) proposal to move the Outdoor Meal Program (located under I-5 at 6th Ave. and Columbia St.) indoors to better connect participants with services they may need. On Jan. 19th, HSD met with Beverly Graham, director of OPERATION: Sack Lunch (OSL), and we agreed to jointly convene a task force to develop a relocation plan over the next six months.
The task force will include service providers as well as representatives from Pioneer Square businesses, Belltown businesses, and the Downtown Seattle Association. The task force will work collaboratively to: 1. Develop a plan to move the Outdoor Meal Program to the centralized kitchen model with indoor and outdoor meal components. 2. Create collaborative strategies to fill gaps in services in Southeast Seattle and Lake City. 3. Support outreach to organizations serving food at City Hall and Occidental Park.
Please visit this blog for future updates.
Here in Seattle, we are committed to ending hunger and helping get meals to people who need it. Each year, the City of Seattle spends more than $30 million to prevent and end homelessness, including “emergency food” programs such as meals programs and food banks. We have worked hard to protect funding for these services and programs. Working with Mayor Mike McGinn, we crafted a budget that preserved human services funding. When the federal government cut $1.2 million in funding to human services programs, we quickly found ways to backfill those cuts and maintain our services.
We measure our community by how we serve those in need. The Outdoor Meal Program, operated by OPERATION: Sack Lunch, is currently located on property leased to the City by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) under Interstate 5 at 6th Avenue and Columbia Street, serves more than 3,000 meals a week (Sunday-Saturday) at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and more than 156,000 a year. The program has been serving meals at that location since January 2007. OPERATION: Sack Lunch has provided meals to vulnerable populations in Seattle with dignity and humanity for more than 20 years. Beverly Graham has done excellent work bringing together fourteen partner organizations and volunteers to help feed the hungry, and I am grateful to her for her continued dedication to this work.
However, the current location of the program is not ideal. The City does not have long-term control over the use of the property, and we believed it made sense to look for a place where we could ensure a stable, long-term presence for programs to feed the hungry. That’s why the Seattle Human Services Department began working with OPERATION: Sack Lunch to explore relocating meal service to several other possible locations.
We know it’s important that this move be done correctly, in a way that best serves the hungry, and in a way that honors and respects the work that service providers have been doing to help people in need. We are going to take the time needed to work with OPERATION: Sack Lunch to find an appropriate location. We will relocate the outdoor meal program only when we know that alternative venues are in place to serve the same number of people who currently are served by the outdoor program. The alternative location must also allow meals to be served outside to those who feel uncomfortable coming inside. Our goal is to provide food to those who need it, no matter where they wish to be served.
We remain willing to work with OPERATION: Sack Lunch and the 14 other organizations that provide outdoor meals to find the best way to feed those who are in need.
Dannette R. Smith, Director, Seattle Human Services Department
United Way’s Community Resource Exchange connects people experiencing homelessness with the services they need—all in one place, on one day–with everything from housing, employment and legal assistance to free health services, haircuts, and voicemail accounts. The event will take place at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field) Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information visit this Web site.
Federal homeless assistance funds totaling more than $21.8 million have been awarded to the City of Seattle and King County for 2012-2013, making it possible to continue to provide a range of housing and supportive services for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. For details see the news release.
The following agencies need volunteers year-round, but their need for helping hands is greater this holiday season. Consider giving some of your time and energy to help make sure that no one goes hungry this holiday season:
• Hot meal program for homeless people
OPERATION: Sack Lunch, 206-922-2015
• Food distribution to food banks
Food Lifeline, 206-545-6600
• Food bank support
Solid Ground, 206-694-6757
• Hot meal programs
Meals Partnership Coalition, 206-957-3857
During the week before, during and after the Thanksgiving holiday, a number of churches and community organizations in Seattle offer free or low-cost Thanksgiving meals for individuals and families in the area.
King County Department of Community and Human Services, Seattle Office of Housing, Seattle Housing Authority, United Way of King County, and Washington Families Fund have announced a Request for Proposals process as part of the Fall 2011 King County Combined Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Approximately $14.2 million for operating support, rental assistance, and supportive services, and up to 70 Housing Choice Vouchers are available to be linked to non-time limited housing for people experiencing homelessness in King County.
Application materials are now available on the King County Web site.
Applications are due on September 21, 2011. For more information, please contact Kelli Larsen at 206-263-9260 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A report from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State provides data on the number and extent of homeless students in the state. Visit this Web site and click on “Research & Data.”
Help homeless students start the school year off right! Each year, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness’ Project Cool provides backpacks, school supplies, and gift certificates for new shoes to homeless children in King County. Volunteers are needed to help sort, group, and pack school supplies into backpacks for an hour or all day on the following dates:
- Monday, August 1
- Wednesday, August 3
- Monday, August 8
- Wednesday, August 10
To sign up, contact Jennifer Pargas, Volunteer Coordinator, at 206-926-9300.
If you have no time, but still want to support Project Cool, you may choose to donate online. Donations are tax-deductible.