Links with more information about the Draft Communities Supporting Safe & Stable Housing Investment Plan:
Mayor McGinn announced on Friday (May 11) the release of a draft six-year plan that lays out a new way for the City to help people in crisis and move individuals and families from homelessness to safe and stable housing.
The Seattle Human Services Department’s (HSD) Draft Communities Supporting Safe & Stable Housing Investment Plan maintains the City’s commitment to shelter and homeless services while proposing a gradual shift in overall funding to programs that prevent homelessness and move people into housing. The Investment Plan also asks service providers to commit to five Guiding Principles, which describe the City’s expectations regarding service quality standards, the coordination of services, and improved data collection.
The draft plan is a result of a year-long community outreach effort by HSD, and the Mayor’s announcement triggers the start of an additional three-week comment period.
For a copy of the draft plan, executive summary, Guiding Principles, and related documents, please visit this Web page.
To comment on the draft plan, please send your written comments by 5:00 p.m. May 31, 2012 to David Takami, Seattle Human Services Department, firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 34215, Seattle, WA 98124-4215.
Operation of the winter shelters for homeless adults at City Hall and the Frye Hotel has been extended through the month of April. The winter shelters opened for the season in October 2011 and were slated to close on March 31, 2012. The two shelter will now will remain open through April 30, 2012. The City Hall Shelter (4th Ave. and Cherry St.) serves men and women from 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Frye Hotel (3rd Ave. & Yeslter Way) serves women only from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The City of Seattle and King County have been awarded $968,902 in new funds to support the operating costs for three homeless housing projects in Seattle, bringing the total amount awarded to our region for 2012 federal homeless assistance awards to well over $22 million. King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the local McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Awards following the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announcement of nationwide awards.
“These new funds will create permanent housing for the homeless – two new six-story buildings in Northgate and South Lake Union – and expand supportive services,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine, co-chair of the Committee to End Homelessness. “For the federal government to award this region more funds, on top of the grants it already renewed in December, validates the strength of our partnerships and our shared commitment to create affordable housing linked to needed services.”
“These grants are crucial to the city’s efforts to help prevent and end homelessness in our region,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “The combination of permanent housing with supportive services is a key strategy to help chronically homeless adults, including military veterans, find stable housing and rebuild their lives.”
The new money is in addition to $21.8 million in renewal grants received by Seattle and King County from HUD that were announced in December 2011. That funding supported a total of 1,776 units of housing, including 754 units of transitional housing and 1,022 units of permanent housing for people with disabilities. Funding was also provided for the Safe Harbors Homeless Management Information System, which collects data on services provided to homeless people in programs throughout King County and is critical to successful grant applications to HUD.
The new assistance dollars will help to ensure that residents in these facilities receive the onsite services they need to achieve and maintain housing stability. Supportive housing has proven extremely effective in successfully housing people whose lives have been shattered by homelessness, mental illness and addiction, while saving millions of dollars in emergency services.
The three projects receiving federal funding are:
• Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) Aurora Supportive Housing – $473,253. Located on Aurora Avenue in the Northgate neighborhood, this project will create a new six-story building to provide permanent supportive housing for 87 homeless adults, with 24-hour onsite staffing and case management services. All of the units will be reserved for chronically homeless single men and women.
• Plymouth Housing Group (PHG) Williams Apartments – $473,254. The Williams Apartments will provide 81 studio apartments as permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals who are disabled by substance use or multiple co-occurring disorders. Half of the units will be reserved for homeless military veterans. Located in the Cascade neighborhood, the new six-story building will provide onsite case management.
• Archdiocesan Housing Authority (AHA) Ozanam House – $27,395. Located in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, Ozanam provides 55 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless people over the age of 55 who have been chronically homeless and are disabled by chemical dependency or co-occurring mental health and chemical dependency. The new funds will expand the supportive services available onsite to add chemical dependency services and health care/nursing support for residents.
Every year, community-based organizations join with the City of Seattle and King County to submit a joint application for the McKinney funding that allows county and local governments and their many partners to provide essential housing and supportive services for homeless people. The funding is critical to the ongoing work of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County and the implementation of the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.
For more information on the programs and projects funded by the McKinney grant funds, please contact Eileen Denham, City of Seattle McKinney Programs Coordinator, 206-684-0915 or Kate Speltz, King County Housing and Community Development Program, 206-263-9084.
Find an Apartment You Can Afford at HousingSearchNW.org Renters now have a new resource for finding an apartment they can afford in Seattle and King County. HousingSearchNW.org, a free service for both landlords and renters, provides information about real-time vacancies in rental housing. Renters can search by features like neighborhood, affordability, amenities and more. The website is accessible 24 hours a day, while a toll-free call center (1-877-428-8844) is open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Interpretation in a number of languages is available through the call center. HousingSearchNW.org is sponsored by the City of Seattle, King County, the Seattle Housing Authority, the King County Housing Authority and the United Way of King County, and supported by the Tenants Union and the Rental Housing Association.
Human Services Department Director Dannette R. Smith writes about the Feb. 3rd community meeting with Seattle outdoor meal providers and volunteers.
OPERATION: Sack Lunch director Beverly Graham, my staff and I met with about 45outdoor meal providers and volunteers Friday night, February 3rd at the Compass Housing Alliance to discuss the Outdoor Meal Program. OPERATION: Sack Lunch operates the program, located under I-5 at Columbia Street, with the support of $133,000 in City funding. I greatly appreciated a chance to meet and talk directly to the people who have worked so hard to serve hot meals to mostly homeless people 365 days a year. I have enormous respect for these efforts to feed people who are hungry and without resources.
We had some good, frank discussion about some of the issues surrounding the meals program and Beverly Graham and I described plans to jointly form a task force to develop a relocation plan over the next six months. The goals are to relocate the program indoors where we can better connect meal participants with services they may need, and to support meal service in Southeast Seattle and Lake City. We will make sure any relocation accommodates people who choose to eat outside. The task force will include service providers as well as representatives from Pioneer Square and Belltown businesses and the Downtown Seattle Association. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 and subsequent meetings will be held on the third Thursday of the month through July. I look forward to this collaboration with outdoor meal providers, other partners and community members.
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.