Seattle Employment Program Celebrates a Successful Summer

Today, the City of Seattle celebrates the 2018 Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) interns during the annual Capstone event. Over 300 guests gathered in Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center to recognize the Seattle Youth Employment Program, celebrate the success of the participants, and thank the many employers that partnered with the City to provide meaningful employment opportunities to Seattle’s youth.


This year over 350 interns were connected to paid internships with nearly 75 employers, including 19 City of Seattle departments, non-profit organizations, and the private sector.

“Seattle is experiencing record growth due in part to the job opportunities that exist here in the City. We want to ensure that the youth in our City are given access to meaningful job opportunities that help them develop professional skills during these critical early years of their careers,” said Jason Johnson, Interim Director of the Human Services Department. “This is real-world experience they won’t get in any classroom.”


SYEP provides paid internship opportunities for youth and young adults in our community—with a focus on young people from lower-income households, and communities that experience racial, social, and economic disparities. Participants in the program represent the rich diversity of our City.  Last year, nearly half of the youth identified as Black/African American, 27% identified as Asian, 7% identified as Hispanic/Latinx, and just over half identified as female. The program seeks to create equitable pathways to success through educational supports, wrap around services, and job opportunities to develop skill sets for the future workforce.


“This is my third year as an SYEP intern. I have had the opportunity to work for Seattle Port Authority, the Gates Foundation, and now The City of Seattle,” said Mary Faith Mwaniki. “It’s no secret what young people in Seattle need to be successful…access to opportunity, education, and support to become the best you can be. SYEP has provided these things for me, and many of my peers that have participated in the program.”


Each internship placement provides unique opportunities for participants. For example, last year six young men of color from Garfield and Cleveland High schools interned with Seattle-King County Public Health to develop health education and outreach materials for youth suicide prevention and reduce risk factors youth face in their communities. In a presentation, the interns described their experiences in developing suicide prevention curriculum, educating their peers, and learning about career options in the Public Health sector. Other success from SYEP include positive feedback from employers in which more than 90% said they were willing to provide interns they supervised with a positive professional reference.








Human Services Department awards funding for 2018 Family Support RFP

The Human Services Department (HSD) will award over $3 million in funding to 23 agencies responding to the 2018 Family Support Request for Proposals (RFP).

The activities funded through the Family Support RFP will focus on strengthening and empowering families, so that youth in our city successfully transition into adulthood. Two strategy areas were identified to strengthen and empower families for this funding process: Systems Navigation Support—training and support to help families learn how to access services and navigate systems independently, and Family Management—training and support to help families build and maintain positive, healthy relationships within their family and with their communities. This funding process is not intended to provide case management or emergency services for families in crisis, or services for young adults, without children, who live independently.

23 applicants will successfully receive funding for the January 1, 2019-December 31, 2019 contract period, pending the appeals process.

Systems Navigation Strategy:

  1. Asian Counseling & Referral Services ($99,756)
  2. Children’s Home Society of Washington ($132,067)
  3. Chinese Information & Service Center ($220,250)
  4. Coalition for Refugees from Burma ($86,100)
  5. Divine Alternatives for Dads ($157,923)
  6. El Centro de la Raza ($142,527)
  7. Horn of Africa ($217,863)
  8. Neighborhood House ($114,807)
  9. Open Arms Perinatal Services ($56,870)
  10. Somali Family Safety Task Force ($74,763)
  11. South Park Area Redevelopment Committee (South Park Information & Resource Center) ($213,750)
  12. Southwest Youth & Family Services ($255,454)
  13. Vietnamese Friendship Association ($94,144)


Family Management Strategy:

  1. Children’s Home Society of Washington ($116,234)
  2. Chinese Information & Service Center ($74,350)
  3. Divine Alternatives for Dads ($53,046)
  4. FamilyWorks ($96,074)
  5. Horn of Africa ($225, 882)
  6. Neighborhood House ($167,731)
  7. Open Arms Perinatal Services ($156,505)
  8. South Park Area Redevelopment Committee (South Park Information & Resource Center) ($100,736)
  9. Southwest Youth & Family Services ($156,674)
  10. Vietnamese Friendship Association ($129,648)

Funded organizations will become part of a family support network that will meet monthly to share best practices, learn from one another, participate in training, and will be offered technical assistance.

Human Services Department awards funding for 2018 Opportunity Fund

The Human Services Department (HSD), has awarded $213,682 in funding to eleven agencies responding to the 2018 Youth and Family Empowerment (YFE) Opportunity Fund Request for Proposals (RFP). Small grants, up to $20,000 dollars each were made available through this funding process to support agencies that work with youth and young adults of color from the ages of 12 through 24.

Eleven agencies were chosen from a pool of seventeen applicants. They include:

  1. Community Passageways ($20,000)

A program for Black/African American and Native African young adults who are involved in the criminal justice system to receive job coaching, gain job training certifications, and/or a GED or High School Diploma.


  1. Red Eagle Soaring ($20,000)

A theater program for American Indian/Alaskan Native alumni, youth and young adults. The alumni will lead youth and young adults to develop a theatrical piece to be performed at the end of the year.


  1. Somali Family Safety Task Force ($17,000)

A program to provide East African youth who live in New Holly with education and employment supports.


  1. Cham Refugee Community ($20,000)

A program for Cham youth and young adults who are not currently enrolled in school and not working to gain education and employment skills.


  1. Life Enrichment Group ($20,000)

A program designed for Black/African American girls to assess their academic needs, provide case management and support, and develop their entrepreneurial skills by creating natural care products to sell in the marketplace.


  1. Bridging Cultural Gaps ($20,000)

A group and mentoring program for East African youth and young adults with emphasis on apprenticeship opportunities.


  1. The Backpack Academy ($16,682)

A program for Black/African American and other youth of color to learn about the food industry. They will hear from local chefs about what it takes to be successful business owners, gain their food handler’s permit, and sample a variety of cuisines cooked at local, ethnic restaurants.


  1. Reel Grrls ($20,000)

A program where Black/African American and Latinx young adults will gain videography/photography skills to develop marketing materials for the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Food Innovation District.


  1. Eight Rays NW ($20,000)

A program for Filipinx high school age youth to organize, plan and execute a Filipino High School Youth Conference.


  1. the Service Board ($20,000)

This program is designed to offer professional advocacy and administrative experience for Black/African American, Latinx, Pacific Islander/Asian, LBGTQI, Immigrant and Refugee youth in program design, facilitation, curriculum development, administration, office and program support.


  1. Urban Native Education Alliance ($20,000)

A program for American Indian/Alaskan Native youth to improve their health through physical activities and workshops on nutrition and wellness.



The Opportunity Fund will support projects that are:

  • Community-initiated
  • Engages Seattle youth and young adults of color from 12 through 24 years of age (preference given to projects that engage focus populations)
  • Takes place within Seattle city limits.
  • Focuses on education, employment, safety, health, and positive connections and are,
  • Designed and led by volunteers or staff that reflect the cultures and languages of the participants.

The focus populations—specific racial or ethnic groups within the priority community showing the highest disparities in the investment areas—for the Opportunity Fund include:

  • Youth and young adults who identify as either American Indian/Alaska Native or Black/African American
  • Youth and young adults who are not currently enrolled or attending school
  • Youth and young adults who are not working.

Selected agencies demonstrated the ability to provide supportive services focusing on education, employment, safety, health and positive connections, through culturally and socially responsive practices for youth and young adults in the focus population.

The contract period for the Opportunity Fund is from August 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.


HSD Presents First Quarter Performance Outcomes for the City funded Homeless Services System

System changes made by HSD and service providers to the homeless services system helped 3,030 households exit homeless services programs to enter housing in the first quarter (January 1 – March 31) of 2018. This represents an increase of 1,241 households in comparison to 2017.

Jason Johnson, Interim Director, presented the first quarter performance outcomes of homeless services receiving city funding to the Human Services, Equitable Development & Renter Rights Committee on Tuesday, June 26. You can watch the committee here and review the full presentation. 


In 2018, HSD used a competitive process to award homeless services dollars for the first time in over a decade. HSD awarded these dollars using the following principles:

  • Create a person-centered homeless services system where programs work together to help people end their experience of homelessness;
  • Invest in programs that work and effectively connect people to housing; and
  • Address racial disparities

HSD is supporting agencies that share these principles and is pleased that the system is showing improvement in connecting people to housing over 2017. Even as the scope of Seattle’s homelessness crisis outpaces our resources, HSD and partners are committed to showing results for public dollars and for people experiencing homelessness.



HSD Recommends Extending the Permit for Camp Second Chance on Myers Way

The Human Services Department (HSD) recommends extending the permit for the Myers Way (also known as Camp Second Chance) permitted village to remain at 9701 Myers Way South for an additional 12 months, until March 2019.

HSD considered the following criteria in making this decision:

  1. Is the program meeting the performance measures as described in the City contract?
    1. Number of unduplicated homeless individuals/families that meet their emergency or immediate shelter needs
    2. Percentage of homeless households who exit to permanent housing
  2. Does the property exhibit physical deterioration that could pose a serious threat to the residents, neighbors or long-term uses?
  3. Are there significant unforeseen impacts on the surrounding community that are directly attributed to the presence of the permitted encampment village?

The HSD contracted site operator, Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), is required to utilize the Seattle-King County Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to collect program level data. Since March 2017, when it received a city permit, 139 people who had been living unsheltered have been served at Camp Second Chance. In addition, the data shows that 26% of people who have left the Camp, exited to move into permanent housing.

HSD, in conjunction with other city entities, has determined the property at 9701 Myers Way South is not exhibiting physical deterioration, and the property is safely hosting this village.

Camp Second Chance is operating well at this location and should remain in place for an additional 12-months.

Frequently Asked Questions about Myers Way/Camp Second Chance Permitted Village:

Who operates Camp Second Chance?

                The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) contracts with the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to operate seven permitted villages across the City. LIHI works with the leadership at Camp Second Chance to manage the daily operations at the Camp. LIHI ensures that security measures are followed and that residents have access to resources that meet their fundamental needs, in addition to supporting a case manager who helps residents connect to housing.

What rules do the residents of Camp Second Chance have to follow?

                Camp Second Chance is required to operate under two HSD approved plans. The management plan outlines program rules, resident code of conduct and rights, security and public health protocol, partner decision-making, coordination and communication, data collection procedures, and community relations. The service plan describes the case management and referral procedures to help residents access on and offsite resources.

How much does it cost to operate Camp Second Chance?

                HSD contributes $936,000 toward the annual operating costs of three permitted villages – Camp Second Chance, Licton Springs and Georgetown. HSD’s contribution towards Camp Second Chance is almost $200,000 in 2018.

How does the City measure the effectiveness of permitted villages?

                HSD contracts with LIHI to provide safer spaces to live for unsheltered people and to help people connect to housing while living in villages. Camp Second Chance served 139 households in 2017 and assisted 26% of households that exited the camp to enter permanent housing.

                HSD looks at five performance measures , which partners King County and United Way of King County also use,  when analyzing the effectiveness of our investments. These performance measures help HSD determine whether the system is efficient, providing good services, and helping the most in need. In the first quarter of 2018, Seattle’s permitted villages were at capacity, indicating that permitted villages are working to accommodate as many clients as they can every night. HSD will continue to monitor the outcomes of all its investments in the homeless services system.

What can the City do to address the conditions at the unmanaged tent encampments that are in the greenbelt across from Camp Second Chance?

                As neighbors know, people have lived unsheltered in the greenbelt along Myers Way for many years. As the crisis of homelessness has grown in Seattle, so have unmanaged tent encampments across the City, including Myers Way.

                Clean ups at unmanaged encampments are prioritized based on public health and safety conditions. The City also takes into consideration documented criminal behavior and obstructing use of public space, like blocking a sidewalk or sleeping in a picnic table shelter in a park, as part of this prioritization. Upon receiving reports, specially trained Navigation Team staff visit the site to assess the conditions. Encampments are then scheduled for removal based on the totality of conditions observed within the encampment.

                The steep incline and soft soil conditions of the Myers Way greenbelt make it difficult to fully remove debris and waste during the fall and winter months. To address the conditions of the unmanaged encampments in the greenbelt, the City has taken the following actions:

  • The Navigation Team, a cohort of police officers and homeless outreach workers, has visited a site near the SR-509 service road and WSDOT drainage system weekly since February 2018 to perform outreach. One person chose to move to the permitted encampment in Georgetown.
  • WSDOT and the City of Seattle cleaned an accessible portion of this encampment to address conditions associated with increased flood risks in early March. The City works closely with WSDOT at a variety of sites, both to take advantage of WSDOT crews and to address WSDOT operational concerns.
  • Seattle Public Utilities has picked up garbage weekly at unmanaged encampments along Myers Way since May 2017.
  • Councilmember Herbold joined the Navigation Team on an outreach visit in the greenbelt in March.
  • The Navigation Team and WSDOT are monitoring the condition of the encampments and the ability of cleanup crews to work safely on the muddy slopes. Cleanup will proceed when conditions are reliably safe for this work.

City staff will continue to assess unmanaged encampment sites and prioritize clean up based on their health and safety conditions.