The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is pleased to announce the results of the 2019 Homeless Strategy and Investment Outreach RFQ, also known as the 2019 Outreach RFQ. This was a closed, expedited process only made available to agencies that applied for Outreach and Engagement funding through the City’s 2017 Homeless Investments RFP and agencies currently funded by HSD to provide Outreach services.
Outreach services are defined as efforts to approach and engage someone with the objective of developing a relationship of trust and connecting that person with resources. Services may include addressing a person’s survival needs, providing health and other education, facilitating access to available services such as diversion or emergency shelter, and establishing ongoing, trusting relationships.
HSD is investing $244,400 of General Fund to support up to three full-time outreach workers to serve First Hill, Capitol Hill, and/or Chinatown-International District neighborhoods. In addition to outreach directly to people who are homeless, the staff person will serve as the point of contact for neighbors, including businesses, who are interested in maintaining or creating safe and vibrant communities and generating solutions to homelessness. Initial awards will be made from April 2019 through December 31, 2019, with renewal through 2020 contingent upon performance and funding availability.
Six applications were received and forwarded to a review committee consisting of representatives who have lived or worked in the identified neighborhoods, have led programs designed for people who are or have been homeless, and/or have lived experience as homeless and have received homeless services and subsidized housing in Seattle.
The committee recommended one agency and program for the entire amount of funding available for outreach services. The members selected Evergreen Treatment Center’s REACH program, citing some of the following reasons:
- How they engage with and assist unsheltered populations and how they can successfully refer people to other services;
- How they have worked with the Ballard Business Improvement Association in the past, and have a willingness to tailor outreach work in the three identified neighborhoods in this RFQ; and
- Expertise in outreach to an array of people who are homeless in Seattle, including, but not limited to, people with ongoing mental health and substance use needs.
According to the review committee members, the lower scoring agencies lacked the level of detail in their applications necessary to communicate a depth of understanding of the focus populations and their unique needs. Also, these agencies did not sufficiently communicate how they will work directly with the identified neighborhoods, including the businesses they proposed to serve.
“It was a difficult decision to come to, but we were ultimately impressed with REACH’s ability to holistically serve the individuals experiencing homelessness in our neighborhoods,” said Jamie Lee, Director of Community Initiatives at Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda). “I am ready—as I’m sure are my colleagues in First Hill and Capitol Hill—to work with REACH to ensure that they serve our business community as well as those experiencing homelessness well.”
REACH builds relationships with people experiencing homelessness and connects them to the help that they need – everything from food and clothing to medical care, shelter, and mental health and/or substance use treatment. REACH improves lives daily for more than 1,000 King County residents. Whether it’s a visit to the doctor, a warm meal, or getting into substance use treatment, their work changes lives. Visit REACH’s website to hear stories about how they have helped improve people’s lives on the street.