Seattle Human Services Department announces $4.2 million investment in senior and anti-hunger programs

Seattle, WA – Today, the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) announced $4,267,406 in awards through two separate HSD programs to provide food and meal assistance and senior centers to support the most vulnerable seniors, families and individuals in Seattle. This funding is available through HSD’s general fund and will be available January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015.

“Vulnerable seniors need support services and too many families are facing hunger in neighborhoods throughout Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Both of these programs serve critical needs, but we must make our funding decisions strategically. Given that we have finite resources to respond, we must target our investments where they have the most impact.”

“These funds will support local nonprofit organizations that do great work every day on the front lines to serve the most vulnerable in our community.” said John Okamoto, Human Services Department Interim Director. “As stewards of public funds, the Human Services Department has an obligation to ensure that financial investments make measurable impacts communities most in need.”

In an effort to institute performance-based investments, HSD has opened a competitive process for Senior Centers funding for the first time since the program inception. This is the first competitive process for the Food and Meals program since 2007. By using data to steer HSD’s investments to nonprofits who serve the community’s most food insecure and seniors who are most at risk, HSD is better able to ensure that the City’s limited resources are being directed to our most vulnerable residents and to programs that can best leverage the investments for maximum impact on reducing disparities.

Both the Food and Meals and the Senior Center Request for Proposals were rated and reviewed by panels that included external subject matter experts such as funders and key community stakeholders to ensure transparency, neutrality and accountability.

The Community Support and Assistance (CSA) division of HSD is awarding 26 agencies at a total of $3.1 million to provide food and meals to low income individuals and families who are food insecure through the 2014 Food and Meal Request for Investment. Funding will be used for direct food access programs including food banks, home delivered meals, and meal sites and programs and includes support and coordination, food purchase, and food system transportation and distribution.

Nonprofit organizations that serve Seattle residents and demonstrate at least two years of successful experience in providing food or nutrition related services or two years of experience in serving those at greatest risk of food insecurity including low income Black and Latino households, families with children, immigrants and refugees, older adults, and persons in emergency and/or homeless situations were eligible to apply.

The Aging and Disability Services (ADS) division of HSD is awarding 11 Senior Centers a total of $1.1 million to services for older adults in the City of Seattle through the 2014 Senior Centers Request for Investment. This investment will serve approximately 17,000 Seattle older adults.

Nonprofit senior centers or agencies that met the following criteria were eligible to apply: provide dedicated space within the Seattle city limits for older adults to gather for drop in visits and scheduled programming and activities; operate a minimum of 20 hours per week and a minimum of three days a week; provide the following services and activities: 1) Food and Nutrition Programs; 2) Health Promotion, Wellness and Fitness; 3) Education, Recreation, Socialization and Personal Growth; 4) Social Services; and 5) Outreach; and have two years of experience in operating a senior center or in providing services and activities in at least three of the five categories listed above for older adults.

Senior Center funding was prioritized for eligible participants with the highest social and economic needs, including older adults who are low income, in poor health, ethnic and cultural minorities or limited English proficient.

Find the complete list of awards here.

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The Human Services Department funds and operates programs and services that meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in our community – families and individuals with low incomes, children, domestic violence and sexual assault victims, homeless people, seniors, and persons with disabilities. We invest in programs that help people gain independence and success.

All materials and updates to the RFI are available on HSD’s Funding Opportunities web page at www.seattle.gov/humanservices/funding

City Leads Efforts to Identify Alternative Solutions for Unauthorized Encampments

Seattle, WA — Today, John Okamoto, Seattle Human Services Interim Director, announced several of the City’s key accomplishments in identifying viable alternatives for unauthorized encampment sites throughout the City including Brooklyn Avenue and NE Ravenna Boulevard.

“The efforts to the address the immediate and basic needs of the individuals at various encampment sites, are consistent with Mayor Ed Murray’s desire to address the roughly 2,300 individuals who go unsheltered in Seattle every night, said John Okamoto, Seattle Human Services Director. “The City has responded to each of these unique situations with both compassion and pragmatism, as well as an unprecedented level of engagement and facilitation by Human Services Department staff”.

The University District community was successful in identifying an alternative location for individuals that were staying in an unauthorized encampment on Brooklyn Avenue through the assistance of several neighborhood groups, including the University District Partnership, University Congregational United Church of Christ and the University of Washington.

The City has also played an active role in facilitating conversations with Tent City 3 and potential site sponsors. Since vacating their authorized site at Haller Lake United Methodist Church, some Tent City 3 residents have been camping without permission on State owned property on NE Ravenna Boulevard until they could solidify a new site sponsor. Seattle Pacific University is working the City’s Department of Planning and Development to permit space on their campus by early December. The City is also working with Washington State Department of Transportation, the property owner, to facilitate their stay until Seattle Pacific University is prepared to host Tent City 3.

The City has also agreed to offer the Northwest Rooms as temporary shelter space for the first 20 days of November. This is in response to a request from WHEEL to use the rooms as shelter space while Plymouth Congregational Church, the historic site for a women’s shelter, is under construction until the end of December. The Northwest Rooms at the Seattle Center are used by the City as an extreme weather shelter option but since Seattle does not typically experience extreme weather until late November, the City has agreed to offer the space as temporary shelter space until then.

Regarding the unauthorized encampment in north Seattle’s Northacres Park, HSD’s contracted outreach workers are redoubling efforts to find alternative shelter options for the campers at the site as well as providing referrals to hygiene services, treatment providers and other social services.

Earlier this month, Mayor Ed Murray formed the Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness. Led by Deputy Mayor, Hyeok Kim, this group is tasked with making recommendations by December 15th to help the growing number of people who are living on the streets to find shelter during the coming winter. The emergency task force will also review the City’s current policy on authorized homeless encampments and will include an assessment of where encampments are located, how new sites for legal encampments are identified and how neighborhoods are consulted.

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Lead for Office for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Prevention Announced

Today, John Okamoto, Interim Director of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) announced Lan Pham as the manager of the Office for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Prevention. This office was re-launched by Mayor Ed Murray upon taking office in January 2014 to manage the City’s $4.9 million annual investment to address domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual exploitation.

Ms. Pham’s career has been dedicated to improving health and economic outcomes and improving the safety of our communities’ most vulnerable. Lan Pham previously worked as the senior planning and development specialist within HSD’s Domestic Violence Unit. Prior to this, she served as the executive director of the Asian and Pacific Islander Women and Family Safety Center. She has also served in critical roles at International Community Health Services, Asian Counseling and Referral Services and University of Washington’s School of Social Work, where she conducted research on health behaviors.

“Lan Pham was selected from an exceptional pool of qualified candidates for this critical role,” Said John Okamoto, Interim Director, Seattle Human Services Department. “The residents of Seattle and King County are lucky to have such an accomplished and tireless advocate working to address domestic violence and sexual assault in our community.

“I am pleased that Lan Pham has been selected to lead the Office for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault”, said Merril Cousin, Executive Director of the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. As a researcher, advocate, and leader, Lan Pham brings the experience and skills needed to successfully launch this important new office. We look forward to working together with her and her team, along with other community leaders and the public, to respond to and prevent domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual exploitation in Seattle and King County.”

As a refugee herself, Lam Pham brings a unique understanding to the specific needs and competencies required to working with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual exploitation who have language and other cultural barriers that could impede ability to reach out for help”, said Mahnaz Eshetu, Executive Director, ReWA.

In addition to managing the City’s $4.9 million annual investment to address abuse and exploitation, the Office for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Prevention will also coordinate the City’s participation in the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and will work closely with key partners such as the Seattle Police Department, the City Attorney’s Office, the King County Prosecutors Office, City Council and service providers to provide leadership critical to launching the Domestic Violence Response Center.

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The Seattle Human Services Department invest in and operates programs and services that meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in our community—families and individuals with low incomes, children, domestic violence and sexual assault victims, homeless people, seniors and persons with disabilities.

2014 Senior Centers Request for Investment

The City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is seeking investment applications to provide Senior Center services to older adults in the City of Seattle. Up to $1,141,692 in HSD General Fund dollars will be available through this Request for Investment (RFI) process, for the period of January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015. All applications must be received in person, by mail, or via electronic submission by 12:00 p.m. on Monday, September 15, 2014. All materials and updates related to the RFI are available at: www.seattle.gov/humanservices/funding.

2014 Food and Meal Request for Investment

The City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is seeking investment applications to provide food and meals to low income individuals and families who experience food insecurity. Up to $3,125,714 in HSD General Fund dollars will be available through this Request for Investment (RFI) process, for the period of January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015. All applications must be received in person, by mail, or via electronic submission by 12:00 p.m. on Monday, September 15, 2014. All materials and updates related to the RFI are available at: www.seattle.gov/humanservices/funding.