Ravenna United Methodist Church has graciously agreed to host Mary’s Place Families an extra week when they had nowhere else to go. This small congregation right around the corner really needs our help! If you are a trained Mary’s Place Volunteer available to stay with families in the evening or overnight or bring dinner, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Over 400 people from 43 of Washington state’s 49 Legislative Districts, from diverse faith traditions, came together in Olympia on February 20 to speak out with one voice for more just, compassionate state policies and laws.
Rabbi Jonathan and members of TBA at FAN’s 2013 Interfaith Advocacy Day February 20 in Olympia.
Attending From left to right Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Linda Harris, Ronnie Shur, Dina Burstein, Diane Baer, Margo MacVicar-Whelan, Jo Merrick, Tom Buchanan, Fred Diamondstone, Gail Nicholson, Jonis Davis; front row: Jacqueline Sorgen
Legislative briefings, workshops and district caucuses were held in the morning at the Church followed by meetings with district legislators in the afternoon at the Capital Building.
43rd Legislative District meetings Dina Burstein and Fred Diamondstone, together with upwards of 30 43rd Legislative District members met with State Senator Ed Murray as well as Representative Jamie Pedersen and House Speaker Frank Chopp. The message they carried focused on support for legislation to end Gun Violence, to support Budget and Revenue policies to protect social and health programs in the state, to support Medicaid expansion in implementation of the Affordable Care Act and to support $175 million for the Housing Trust Fund in the 2013-2015 biennium to help meet Affordable Housing needs of our state residents.
On February 20 we joined together with 400 members of diverse faith communities in support of legislation and policies to address gun violence, economic justice for struggling families and wage earners, implementation of the Affordable Care Act to ensure affordable health care for all, immigration reform to provide opportunity for undocumented young people to access university education.
Many of the bills that were discussed are still viable and it’s important to contact our legislators now either thru email (find contact information at leg.wa.gov) or by leaving a message at 1-800-562-6000.
Fiscal Bills – these need to be passed out of committee by Friday, March 1:
- HB 1338 – early review and second chance for juveniles sentenced to life without parole
- HB 1440 – wage theft prevention
- HB 1651 – second chance for juveniles via prohibiting the dissemination of their court records
Following four policy bills are in the House rules committee and need to be voted on by the House by March 13:
- HB 1413 – voting rights act
- HB 1429 – allows state funding for higher education programming in prisons (a second chance act)
- HB 1588 – establishes universal background checks for all firearm sales in our state
- HB 1817 – Washington state DREAM act, allowing all college-bound students in our state to be eligible for state financial aid
Call 1-800-562-6000 or email your legislators. Updated status on these priorities is reported regularly by FAN
Contact Diane Baer for information about Faith Action Network legislative agenda.
Reposted from the Faith and Family Homelessness Project
Voices: Reflections on Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day
Published in the Mukilteo Beacon | By Glen Pickus | Feb 20, 2013
It’s our obligation to advocate an end to homelessness
As the world’s first ethical monotheistic religion, Judaism is more than a means for individuals to fulfill their spiritual needs.
Many of us believe it is incumbent on Jews to introduce our ethical values outside of our community. Photo Courtesy of: Glen Pickus More than 650 housing and homeless advocates were given a red scarf to wear at a rally on the steps of the capitol on Feb. 11. The advocates represented 43 out of the 49 legislative districts, which made this Advocacy Day the largest ever.
Because our core ethics are similar, if not identical to those of other faiths, it was logical that Temple Beth Or would partner with the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry’s Faith & Family Homelessness Project.
Which is why last week, on Feb. 11, 11 Temple Beth Or members were on a bus with 25 other people of faith from Everett First Presbyterian, Arlington United Church and Temple Beth Am on our way to Olympia to take part in Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day, organized by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
In Olympia we joined more than 650 other advocates whose goal was the same as ours – to call for an end to homelessness. We learned about the connection between housing and education needs and the importance to advocate for revenue dedicated to housing programs. We also attended a workshop on how to be effective advocates.
At noon we rallied on the north steps of the Capitol Building with the hope our state legislators would take notice of our numbers.
After lunch it was time to do some face-to-face advocacy. We grouped together by legislative district and met in three separate meetings with our state representatives and senator. As a Mukilteo resident I live in the 21st District, so I joined about 15 others to meet with Rep. Marko Liias, Rep. Mary Helen Roberts and Sen. Paull Shin. Nearly half of us were Temple Beth Or members.
We are fortunate in the 21st District in that all three of our elected representatives are very supportive of the call to end homelessness.
In our meetings we urged them to fund the Housing Trust Fund at $175 million, vote in favor of the “Fair Tenant Screening Act” to eliminate unfair barriers to housing and to fully fund the “Housing and Essential Needs” and the “Aged, Blind and Disabled” programs which ensure people with disabilities can meet their basic needs.
We pointed out it was not about choosing between education or housing programs because children who don’t have safe and secure housing are not going to be good learners. So we asked them to pursue new, smart and innovative revenues to allow both housing and education programs to be properly funded. (See this HTF Education Factsheet 2013 to learn more.)
As I mentioned in this space last September, for Jews, helping those in need is not simply a matter of charity, but of responsibility, righteousness and justice. We are not to just give to the poor, but we are instructed to advocate on their behalf – to “speak up, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9).
On Feb. 11 that’s exactly what my fellow Temple Beth Or members and I were doing.
The Come Home Alive Initiative (CHAI), formed by TBA members Jessica Trupin, Shelly Cohen, Randy Simon, and many others, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, is delighted that Council member Tim Burgess, Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz and others will be joining us at our next meeting, which we’re co-hosting with the amazing One Million Moms for Gun Control.Nick Federici, advocate for nonprofit causes in Olympia, will be leading an advocacy training after the speakers. Other prominent leaders are also signing up to join us!We hope that each of you is in this struggle for the long haul. Come to share, learn, lobby, or just listen.
Next Sunday, 2/24, 3-4:30 at First United Methodist, 180 Denny. We’ll have you out in time for the Oscars. Childcare available.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org – but don’t let a lack of RSVP keep you away.
First Church (First United Methodist Church, Seattle)
180 Denny Way, Seattle, Washington 98109
View Map · Get Directions
- Wednesday, February 20th
- Sponsored by Faith Action Network(FAN)
- Do No Harm: Invest in People
Temple Beth Am members will join advocates from faith communities across the state in Olympia at FAN’s 2013 Interfaith Advocacy Day (IFAD). Temple Beth Am is one of the ‘advocating congregation’ members of the FAN network.
Starting in Olympia at 9AM, registration from 8-9, participants convene at United Churches of Olympia, 110 11th SE. Teachings from diverse faith traditions will be followed by a legislative update by FAN Co-Director Paul Benz. Workshops will focus on Budget and Revenue, Environment, Housing and Homelessness, Gun Violence Prevention, and Wage Theft.
At 10 AM Governor Inslee will speak to the group.
Legislative district caucuses will convene to discuss issues and develop an advocacy plan for speaking to their legislators at the scheduled meetings arranged by FAN.
The day will end at 3PM on the Capital Campus with briefings beginning at 1:15pm by key officials including TBA member Rep. Reuven Carlyle,LD36 who will speak about budget and revenue and Liz Smith from Labor and Industries who will address the issue of ‘Wage Theft’, a priority of FAN.
Interfaith Advocacy Day is an opportunity for diverse faith groups to come together and speak to legislators with one voice about issues of common concern. It is also an opportunity for people of faith to meet one another and connect with possibilities for future work together beyond Feb. 20.
To sign up go to fanwa.org and follow the menu to register.
I was lucky enough to be asked to be the Meal Team Leader last Thursday at the Teen Feed Count Us In site. During the extended two hour meal we served over 80 youth and young adults ages 13-25, and the many volunteers who came to help out. Following is an excellent summary of Count Us In and the importance of counting a population that has until very recently been “hidden” in our plain sight.
If you are interested in joining me in Olympia at Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on February 11th please contact me at email@example.com.
Repost: Everyone Counts: Homeless Youth & Young Adult 2013 Count Us In
Homeless counts will have taken place in every county across the country by the end of January. In this series, “Everyone Counts,” our partners at Firesteel explore the importance of these counts and hear what impact they had on some of the thousands of volunteers in Western Washington. In this post, Ashwin from Seattle University shares insights from the Count Us In homeless youth and young adult count–a population which has only recently been counted!
By Ashwin Warrior, Project Assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness; Senior, Seattle University.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, the doors to the basement of University Congregational Church in Seattle’s University District swing open, and the youth flow in out of the cold.
They are greeted by warmth and smiles, offered dry clothes and small sets of toiletries, and —perhaps most importantly—fed a warm meal.
Since 1987, the non-profit organization Teen Feed has been providing regular meals to the University District’s homeless youth population. In 2011, the organization served more than 13,200 meals to 690 individual youths in need.
Tonight, however, is about more than food. As the youth sit down to an enchilada dinner, volunteers disperse among the crowd, clipboards and pens in hand.
Teen Feed is one of the providers at the center of King County’s third annual Count Us In initiative, an effort started in 2011 to better count youth and young adults who are unstably housed or homeless. This is the first time that Count Us In has been aligned with the One Night Count in King County.
The effort is led by a steering committee that comprises of United Way of King County, the City of Seattle, King County and youth & young adult providers. The goal is to end homelessness among youth and young adults – “unaccompanied youth” ages 12-24 – by 2020.
Volunteers and staff interviewed youth and young adults at centralized sites around the county, including libraries, drop-in centers and meal programs. Some providers also went into the community to do outreach and find the young people. The survey they used includes questions such as where the young person slept the night before, but also gets into some of the major causes of homelessness among this group, including whether the young person has ever been in foster care.
The U.S. Interagency Council (USICH) selected King County and Washington state as one of nine locations to participate in a national pilot to collect data on youth homelessness.
Data gathered from Teen Feed and numerous other youth agencies across King County, including Auburn Youth Resources, Friends of Youth and YouthCare’s Orion Center, will be added to the One Night Count estimates and reported to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It will also be used to better tailor youth services across the county.
As one worker of the night, Alex Okerman of the YMCA’s Young Adult Services, explains, “It’s really essential to understanding homelessness. If we’re going to try and do something to stop it, by asking questions about these young adults and what their past experiences are like…we can get to the root of some of the issues.” Hear more of his thoughts below:
Volunteer Erin Maguire works on youth programs for Catholic Community Services. She said that the Youth Count provides important information that she uses all the time.
“The more than we understand the issue from young people that we’re hearing from tonight, the more we can improve our programs and increase our services to them,” Erin said.
Many locations also hosted a sleepover for the youth who participated in the Count.
Skateboards lined the wall at Teen Feed’s Count Us In sleepover. Photo tweeted by @teenfeedseattle, Jan. 25, 2013.
The second Count Us In, in 2012, recorded a conservative number of 685 unstably housed youth and young adults in King County. Preliminary results from Count Us In will be available soon; watch for more here on Firesteel.
The One Night Count of homeless people in King County took place early this morning. We are incredibly grateful to the many volunteers and supporters that worked to make the Count safe, respectful, and accurate.
At least 2,736 men, women, and children were found sleeping on the streets, under bridges, in their cars, on public transit, in temporary shelters and in makeshift campsites. This is 142 more people without shelter than volunteers counted one year ago.
The One Night Count is just the beginning. It sets in motion a full year of education, engagement, and action for all of us who care about this crisis. This morning we are especially reminded that everyone should have a place to call home.
When we see our neighbors sleeping on cardboard or riding buses to keep warm, we are shocked and saddened. We are also inspired to urge local and state officials to address these needs with resources. With our State Legislators in session debating funding for key housing and homelessness programs at this very moment, we need people to speak up and take action to make sure the One Night Count is more than just a number.
How can you help?
- Attend a free “Homelessness Advocacy 101” workshop on Feb. 9 in Seattle or Bellevue; learn about the issues and speak up ~ register at www.homelessinfo.org
- Join Coalition members in educating lawmakers in Olympia on February 11 for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day ~ register here.
- Support the Coalition’s work through a financial donation. Donations made through February 28 will be matched, up to $7,000, providing a unique opportunity to double the impact of your gift. Donate online today.
The Coalition has helped to effect many positive impacts on the crisis of homelessness. Today, thousands of people who once experienced homelessness live in safe, healthy homes, thanks to efforts of our members, supporters, and volunteers. Together we’ve raised our voices. And, it has worked. This morning we are reminded there is still much to do.
After seeing what volunteers and supporters pulled off in a few short hours this morning, I’m confident that together, we can ensure safety for people who are homeless today and end the crisis of homelessness once and for all.