News

CEA – HMIS Update

Our community is facing a number of changes in how we do our work with individuals experiencing homelessness and we are embarking on two very essential shifts: changing our HMIS system, and launching a coordinated engagement process to access housing, called Coordinated Entry for All (CEA). Both of these changes offer an opportunity for us to improve our work together to better support people experiencing homelessness and to reach our collective goal of making homelessness rare, brief, and a one-time experience.

Many of you participate in the Homeless Management and Information System (HMIS) and are aware that we are changing both the HMIS system vendor (moving from Adsystech to Bit Focus) and the administrator (from City of Seattle to King County). The King County HMIS is scheduled to go live with BitFocus on April 1st. For more detailed information about the transition, commonly used forms, and required training dates and registration, please visit the King County HMIS Transition website.

Likewise, many of you have been involved in the planning and design of CEA. Here are the key updates including what will happen over the next several weeks during the HMIS transition:

  • Overall CEA design: An overview of the updated timeline for CEA implementation can be found here.
  • King County Housing and Community Development (HCD) is preparing to be the system administrator for CEA and will soon be releasing an RFP to identify four Regional Access Points (or HUBs) throughout King County.  The Regional Access Points are part of establishing a decentralized assessment approach and are estimated to launch in June 2016 to serve all populations.
  • In addition to these locations, CEA will incorporate mobile and community based housing assessors.  Details on how and where the additional assessments will take place are still being determined.
  • The VI-SPDAT has been chosen as the CEA Triage Tool for common assessment with tailored versions for single adults, young adults, and families.  Veterans have been using the VI-SPDAT since 2015. Family Housing Connection (FHC) and Youth Housing Connection (YHC) will begin using the new assessments in March 2016 in alignment with the new HMIS launching on April 1st. Families and Young Adults currently on the FHC and YHC placement rosters will need to be reassessed using the new tool.  King County is providing added capacity to FHC and YHC during this transition and more detailed information, training, and messaging will be provided to the programs participating in FHC and YHC and to the families and young adults seeking housing supports.
  • The inclusion of single adults in CEA will take a phased approach beginning in June 2016 with the adoption of the new assessment tool and a focus on referrals to Permanent Supportive Housing resources.

We appreciate all of the support and input you have provided on CEA thus far.  Throughout implementation, the CEA design will continue to reflect our shared priorities for effective CEA including transparency, a person-centered approach, reduction of barriers, flexible resources, and increased housing options.  The planning is also informed by the principles which guide the All Home Strategic Plan including:

  • Involving the whole community,
  • Including those experiencing homelessness,
  • Prioritizing those whose health and safety are most vulnerable,
  • Moving people into housing first and employment fast, by progressive engagement in services, and
  • Utilizing data-driven assessment of needs and outcomes to drive policy and investments.

For more information on CEA and updates, please visit the Coordinated Entry page.

Mark Putnam and Kira Zylstra, All Home

All Home Statement on Senate Bill 6647

All Home has released a statement on SB 6647. The Bring Washington Home Act, introduced by Senator Sharon Nelson, targets investments to address the crisis of homelessness across Washington State. This bill represents a critical step towards making homelessness rare, brief, and a one-time experience.

All Home supports this bill and its innovative, flexible, and outcome-oriented approach. We also thank Senator Nelson for her leadership on this issue.

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.

Shelter Expansion

In support of his declaration of a state of emergency for homelessness in King County, Executive Dow Constantine announced the opening of a new 50-bed homeless shelter inside the 420 Fourth Ave. building and expansion of the shelter inside the King County Administration Building from 50 to 100 beds – tripling the number of homeless shelter beds in county-owned buildings.

“Adding 100 shelter beds addresses immediate human needs and gets more people without homes off the street and out of the cold,” said Executive Constantine. “The new shelter will welcome pets – a critical accommodation for many who need to stay warm but understandably won’t abandon an animal companion.”

The county will open the new 50-bed shelter inside its vacant building at 420 Fourth Ave. on Saturday, Dec. 26, at 7 p.m.  The existing 50-bed shelter inside the King County Administration Building will be expanded to 100 beds on Monday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m. The City of Seattle is providing $225,000 to provide for additional oversight, staffing, security, and utilities.

Both shelters will remain open nightly through April 15. In both, the county is funding case management services to connect those in the shelters with housing resources. The Salvation Army will operate both shelters, with funds provided by King County and the City of Seattle.

Read the full story here.

Coordinated Entry for All

All Home is in the process of developing Coordinated Entry for All (CEA) to ensure that all people experiencing a housing crisis have fair and equal access and are quickly identified, assessed for, and connected to housing and homeless assistance based on their strengths and needs. It will use standardized tools and practices, incorporate a system-wide housing first approach, and coordinate assistance so that those with the most severe service needs are prioritized.

On Wednesday, December 16th, All Home, in partnership with King County and the City of Seattle, hosted a Community Meeting on Coordinated Entry for All (CEA). Thank you to all who were able to attend. Your input and regular communication are critical as we continue the efforts to refine and develop coordinated entry strategies that address the needs of all people experiencing homelessness.

For more information on Coordinated Entry for All please click here.

All Home @ Optimism

 

All Home @ Optimism

 

On Tuesday, over 200 community members attended our event ready and eager to learn how to get involved in the effort to make homelessness in King County rare, brief and one-time. Gay Gilmore and Troy Hakala, owners of the brand new Optimism Brewing Co. on Capitol Hill generously offered their space and their brews, representing an innovative way for community members to use their resources to combat homelessness.

Our partners showcased many of the ways we are working to end homelessness and offered guests ways to get involved. Guests were also encouraged to share their own thoughts and ideas:

“I feel optimistic because we are here! Our collective capacities and commitments make the seemingly impossible, possible.”
– Sheila

“I pledge to talk about homelessness openly and passionately and to support tent cities.”
– Monica

We also debuted a video highlighting the great work being done in our community by Eddie Wang’s Sleepless in Seattle, Molly and Vanessa with The Ballard Welcome Wagon and Kristine Moreland’s MORELove project. The video was produced by our friends Tracy Dethlefs and Francine Strickwerda from Hullaballoo who donated their time and talents to support this issue.

Homelessness is in a state of emergency and our neighbors are rising up to the challenge. With the leadership of our elected officials and the support of our community, we can make a difference. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine attended the event and spoke to guests about the importance of community involvement:

“It is a disaster that we made, and a disaster that we need to come together to overcome”
– King County Executive Dow Constantine

“We can actually make a difference if we are unified and willing to work together”
– Mayor Ed Murray

You can watch the full program featuring All Home Director Mark Putnam, Rex Hohlbein and All Home Coordinating Board members Graham Pruss and Rebekah Bastian.

For more on the event please visit https://storify.com/lhabenicht/all-home-optimism.
Please join our community working to end homelessness. Find ways to get involved and share your ideas with us.