Month: January 2016

One Night Count Shows Increase in Homelessness

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This morning, under the guidance of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, over 1,000 volunteers spread out all over King County to witness and count the number of individuals living unsheltered for the annual One Night Count. All Home contracts with the Coalition to conduct this count. Volunteers estimate that 4,505 of our neighbors in King County were without shelter last night, a 19% increase over 2015.

From King County Executive Dow Constantine: “The One Night Count reveals the scope of the human tragedy of homelessness in our region. The results confirm the state of emergency and underscore the urgent need to work together – at every level of government and with our community partners – to create the housing, treatment, employment and other services that thousands of adults, children and families in King County need right now. We continue to call on our legislature and Congress to act. “

“We are committed to finding solutions to the crisis of homelessness. Though the need is great, homelessness is solvable, and by coming together as a community we can ensure that all people have a home” said Mark Putnam, Director of All Home.

The One Night Count is an important measure of need, and an opportunity to raise awareness and engagement among community members. This information is reported to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a requirement of our application for more than $30 million in federal funds for homeless housing and services each year.

“This is surely what an emergency looks like,” said Alison Eisinger, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness. “We’re grateful for the significant attention and increased resources Mayor Murray and Executive Constantine have put toward addressing recent rapid increases in homelessness. It is clear that this crisis affects our whole region and demands an unprecedented response.”

In the coming months, building on what we learned this morning about individuals living unsheltered, we will also estimate the number of veterans, chronically homeless individuals and people living in shelter and transitional housing to form a more comprehensive picture of homelessness in King County.

“It was important to me to participate in the Seattle/King County One Night Count this morning alongside many dedicated community members,” said Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “Because of their efforts, we will have more information about the challenges Seattle/King County faces in its work to prevent and end homelessness. We look forward to working together to ensure that everyone in King County, and across the country, has a safe, stable place to call home.”

For a detailed summary of the One Night Count, please visit the Coalition’s website.

To learn more, see “Homeless in King County: Who, Why and What Can I Do?” To find out more about our plan to make homelessness rare, brief and one time in King County and to see how you can get involved, please visit our website, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

State of Emergency Update

On Monday November 2, 2015, Seattle Mayor Murray and King County Executive Constantine issued declarations that homelessness is in a state of emergency in King County, and outlined local actions, including shelter, prevention and outreach. The State of Emergency also called on the state and federal government to build affordable housing, rebuild the safety net-particularly for behavioral health, and to expand homeless housing and services.

The State of emergency included new funding and realigned existing funding from Seattle and King County raising the total from $80 million to $90 million in funding for homelessness. Since November 2nd the following local actions have been taken:

  1. More Shelter and housing 
  1. Expanded behavioral and physical health services
  • King County and Seattle partnered to expand mobile medical van for use in Seattle to two days a week (will expand to full time in March/April when new van is ready)
  • King County expanded mental health services at young adult housing programs
  • King County expanded housing and mental health services with vouchers
  1. Enhanced outreach to encampments, vehicle residents
  • Seattle is funding more service provider outreach to the unsheltered, and specific outreach to highly vulnerable people with mental health conditions
  • Seattle adding 50 safe parking spots on city property, and providing safe parking zones until the 50 spots open

In addition to the items above, planning is underway for further local actions. Prevention services, funded by Seattle’s State of Emergency funds and King County’s Best Starts for Kids funds will be expanded. King County is also studying options for providing mental health, hygiene and case management services at faith based safe parking locations across the county.

With the start of the 2016 State legislative session, Seattle and King County have also requested significant funding increases from lawmakers to address youth homelessness. Additional asks during this short session include increases to the Housing Trust Fund, affordable housing tools, youth homelessness and passage of renter protection bills.

At the federal level, the alliance formed between the west coast mayors has produced a joint federal advocacy agenda. The issue of homelessness will be a main topic of the US Conference of Mayors this week in Washington, D.C.

The All Home Coordinating Board will discuss actions taken locally at our next meeting, Tuesday, February 2nd in Olympia. The Seattle City Council will discuss actions taken by Seattle at its meeting on February 10th.

2016 Legislative Priorities

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All Home staff, in partnership with the Housing Alliance, Mockingbird Society, and YouthCare, sponsored a Housing and Homelessness Policy Briefing on Thursday the 14th in Olympia to engage with lawmakers on issues critical to addressing homelessness in our community. More than 50 lawmakers and their staff participated in the briefing which included 30 minutes of staff briefing and 30 minutes of a press briefing. Some of the priority issues covered at the briefing included the Housing Trust Fund, the Consolidated Homeless Grant shortfall, Housing and Essential Needs, Source of Income Discrimination, HOPE beds for homeless youth, and the Homeless Student Stability Act. Thanks to Representatives Fey, Robinson, Kagi, Senn and Senator Frokt for speaking at the event.

 

The All Home 2016 Legislative Priorities are available here.

The PowerPoint used in the briefing is available here.

Funding Opportunity for Shelter and Day Centers

Homelessness in King County is in a state of emergency. In 2015 alone, nearly 10,000 people are experiencing homelessness on any given day in King County. This is an increase from about 8,000 people in 2005. Nearly 40 percent of these homeless persons are unsheltered. During the winter months those without homes are challenged even further to survive.

In response to this homeless state of emergency, King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is making available approximately $325,000, depending on available resources, in one-time funding to further efforts to meet basic shelter needs in King County, outside the City of Seattle. Specifically, DCHS is adding funding for new nighttime shelter beds, expanding existing nighttime shelter beds or increasing the number of nights a shelter is open. Additionally, King County is seeking homeless day center services in South King County.

Funds may be used for operating support and supportive services tailored to increasing access to resources leading to housing stability. This investment is intended to further strengthen alignment with broader county-wide efforts to make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time and DCHS’s mission to ensure that all people are stably housed.

Projects that employ reduced screening criteria and housing first principles will be prioritized. In addition, areas and populations that lack equitable access to services will be prioritized through this RFP.

To be eligible for a contract from this solicitation, applicants must meet the following requirements. Eligible applicants for these funds include:

• Programs serving youth, young adults, single adults, or families experiencing homelessness.
• Existing agencies initially awarded funds through the 2015 United Way of King County and City of Seattle 2015 Shelter Expansion RFP.
• New emergency overnight shelters located in King County outside Seattle that will expand existing shelter beds and /or nights a shelter is open;
• New day shelters serving homeless people in South King County;
• Located in King County, outside the City of Seattle; and
• Strong consideration will be given to programs that provide the greatest inclusivity and accommodations to households served, such as co-ed facilities and programs that allow pets beyond service animals.

The RFP is available here.

Please contact Victoria Nakamichi (vicki.nakamichi@kingcounty.gov) with any questions.

Count Us In

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Count Us In is our community’s count of homeless and unstably housed young people ages 12-25. In 2015, 824 homeless young people were counted at more than 70 partner locations across King County; you can learn more about the 2015 count here. Count Us In data is collected through a one page survey completed by young people; one of our partners for this effort is the Seattle Public Library. Consider volunteering and help our community gain a better understanding of the experiences of homeless youth and young adults!

Volunteer opportunities are available at 7 different Seattle Public Library locations: Central, Capitol Hill, Broadview, Ballard, Columbia, Southwest and University. Volunteers should be available to attend a training prior to the count, either in person (preferred) or over the phone. In-person trainings will be held on Wednesday, January 13th from 11-12:30 at Street Youth Ministries (4540 15th Avenue NE, Seattle 98105) and on Thursday, January 14th from 3-4:30pm at the 2100 Building, Community Room B (2100 24th Avenue S., Seattle 98144).

For more information or to sign up, click here or contact Carrie Hennen at carrie.hennen@allhomekc.org.