Tikkun Olam at Temple Beth Am

Connecting our congregation to social action opportunities


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Everyone Counts: Count Us In 2013

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 rsimon28@comcast.net.

Repost: Everyone Counts: Homeless Youth & Young Adult 2013 Count Us In

http://firesteelwa.org/blog/open/title/everyone-counts-homeless-youth-and-young-adult-2013-count-us-in

Posted on 01/29/2013 by 

Firesteel / Blog / 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 ResourcesFriends 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.


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2,736 people had no shelter in King County last night.

 

From:  Seattle/King County Coalition On Homelessness (SKKCH) blog.homelessinfo.org 

 Posted on January 25, 2013 by 

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?

  1. 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
  2. Join Coalition members in educating lawmakers in Olympia on February 11 for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day ~ register here.
  3. 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.

See our website for the 2013 street count results in more detail, as well as results from previous years.


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Zichronam Lirracha, For Their Memory Shall be a Blessing

Zichronam Lirracha, For Their Memory Shall be a Blessing

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is collecting signatures for a national Jewish petition to urge action on gun control and mass violence.

FInd Petition here.

December 14, 2012’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has reminded us that the issue of gun violence in our nation must be dealt with immediately.

Please sign this petition to encourage our nation’s leaders to support comprehensive action, including meaningful legislation to limit access to assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines, aggressive enforcement of firearm regulations, robust efforts to ensure that every person in need has access to quality mental health care, and a serious national conversation about violence in media and games.

On Friday December 14, a gunman armed with three high-powered firearms and high-capacity magazines walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Hundreds of shots were fired and twenty first-graders, ages six and seven, and six educators were killed.

This violent and horrific event aimed at children shocks our conscience and country. Our hearts are broken, our souls weep, and our arms are outstretched to the families of the victims, the survivors, the first responders, and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut. In just the last few months, we have seen shootings at schools, malls, theaters, and houses of worship. We are pained and dismayed by the pandemic of gun violence, far exceeding other western nations, and we will not accept it.

Our tradition teaches us of the sanctity of life and how each and every person is created in the divine image. We must directly confront gun violence so that our nation is not marked nor the years measured by senseless massacres. We will not allow the intense emotion we feel now to return to a place of complacency where we become desensitized to the atrocities that unfold around us daily. We must come together to build a society worthy of those lost and a culture that represents our best virtues.

We stand committed to working with our local, state, and national leaders to squarely address these issues and honor the victims, survivors, and their families. We recognize the right of Americans to own guns, but we do not accept the current state of affairs. We stand united and call on our leaders to support comprehensive action, including meaningful legislation to limit access to assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines, aggressive enforcement of firearm regulations, robust efforts to ensure that every person in need has access to quality mental health care, and a serious national conversation about violence in media and games.

We, the undersigned, ask that President Obama, Congress, and every citizen to take direct and unequivocal action to stop the outrageous and unacceptable violence that is destroying the fabric of our society.

FInd Petition here.


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Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day- Nonprofit Board Training Opportunity

Temple Beth Am members will be attending Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day.  This is a wonderful opportunity for nonprofit board members to attend a free Pre-Advocacy Day Training webinar.  More details about TBA’s participating will be coming soon.

Have you heard? Registration is now open!
Join with hundreds of your fellow advocates, including nonprofit board members from all corners of the state for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on Monday, February 11.
Board members of nonprofit organizations have unique ties to the issues we all care about. Board members are community members, small business owners, educators, and individuals who have experienced homelessness. Each cares about increasing affordable housing and ending homelessness in our state, and each has a lot of advocacy power as a board member.

The 2013 legislative session is going to be a challenging one. With many newly elected lawmakers across the state and a new governor in office, it’s more important than ever that we work together to advocate for the issues and programs we care about. One of the ways board members can do this is by attending Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day next month.

You can also now register to reserve your spot for a web-based pre-Advocacy Day training on either Tuesday, January 15 at 11am or Thursday, January 17 at 11am. These live, online advocacy trainings will help to prepare you for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day and for meeting your elected officials. Space is limited, so please register in advance.

Interested in hosting a training for your organization’s board of directors on site? Contact Sakara at the Housing Alliance. Training for board members will include:

Training Agenda

  • Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day overview
  • Messaging our legislative priorities
  • Housing Trust Fund update
  • General Q & A
Pre-Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day Training for Board Members

Tuesday, January 15 or Thursday, January 17*
11am-noon

The training will be a webinar, and the call-in information will be sent to your email after you register.

*For your convenience, we are offering this webinar twice. You are welcome to register for the training that best fits your schedule, but you do not need to attend both.

Happy New Year!
Sakara Remmu
Sakara@wliha.org
206-442-9455 x200
The Board Advocacy Project has created a framework to give board members the training and ongoing support they need to be effective advocates. The Housing Alliance can help mobilize your board members to advocate for the resources and polices needed to end homelessness and expand access to affordable housing. For more information or to schedule an advocacy training for your organization’s board of directors, contact Sakara.


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2013 Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day Monday, February 11

By Sally Kinney, Temple Beth Am

We hope to have a vocal contingent of Temple Beth Am members join  the Housing Alliance on February 11 in Olympia for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day.

Are you passionate about ensuring that everyone in Washington has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, and affordable home? Do you want to unite with others to end homelessness in our state? Are you ready to join over 500 other advocates from around Washington to tell your elected officials how you feel?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then please join the Housing Alliance on February 11 in Olympia for our annual Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day!

The day includes:

  • Inside information and timely updates on affordable housing and homelessness legislation.
  • Workshops on how to talk to your elected officials and be the most effective advocate possible.
  • Meetings with your lawmakers for which you’ll be armed with key messages, supporting documents and facts to help share your story.
  • And an opportunity to feel the power of a strong and growing movement for affordable housing and an end to homelessness.

This year’s theme is “2-11: Hear the Call for Housing and an End to Homelessness.” HHAD will help connect powerful advocates to elected officials in order to make the call to increase access to affordable housing and services and programs that prevent and end homelessness. This year’s theme was chosen in recognition that our date (2-11) is the same phone number (2-1-1) that struggling individuals and families call when trying to get connected to critical resources. This year lets all come out to Olympia and make the call together to ensure our message is heard loud and strong!

 For more information:

https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2685/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=76591

Together we can make our voices heard!

If you are interested in joining other Temple Beth Am members or in receiving additional information as plans are made please contact:  Randy Simon at rsimon28@comcast.net


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A Cause for Optimism

By Barak Gale, Temple Beth Am Green TeamImage

Dear Chevra,

Occasionally I have bursts of real optimism regarding the ability of humanity to make it’s voice heard to save our planet from folly. One such burst of optimism was earlier this evening at the Coal Export Hearing at the Convention Center.
A little background….
Big coal companies want to ship dirty Montana and Wyoming coal through our state to be burned in Asia. The Army Corps of Engineers, Whatcom County Council and Washington Dep. of Ecology hosted this hearing, one of six around the state, to define issues, public concerns, and alternatives to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement regarding the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point, near Bellingham, WA.
The cause for optimism….
It wasn’t just that hundreds of people dressed in red rallied in Freeway Park , or that I’d guess over a thousand people packed two enormous halls at the hearing, or that those dressed in red with the slogan “Beyond Coal Exports”  greatly outnumbered those dressed in green t-shirts supporting the coal terminal.  It was the breadth and depth of the statements from teenage boys and girls talking about their future, fishermen talking about the danger to our waters and fisheries, a Muslim woman sharing a legend and speaking of the sacredness of the earth from a Muslim perspective, Prof. Jaffe of the U.W.  talking very specifically about the known dangers of coal and coal dust, etc., etc.   Every person was so articulate.
I was fortunate to be able to speak as well.  I identified myself as a member of Beth Am.   Last moment I decided to chant instead of speak.  Here was my testimony….
Ladies and Gentlemen (I like the formality of this.)
I believe wholeheartedly that we are destroying our Garden of Eden.  I would like to share a dirge from my Jewish tradition.  (This is a part of the keenah or dirge composed by Chazan Richard Kaplan, and based on the Lamentations text and melody.)
Vi konen Yirmiyahu o’oh.  Ka’asher shama otah shara.  Hakinah l’churban gan eden..
Jeremiah wept, o’oh.  Hearing her song.  Lamenting her Temple so wounded.
Alas my forests are dying.  I hear my waters crying.  When will they learn?
O’oh that I, o’oh that they were pure again.
************
I urge you to evaluate the impacts of this project on creation.
Thank you.
*************
Barak
People still have until Jan. 21 to comment at www.eisgate waypacificwa.gov.
For more information about the Temple Beth Am Green Team please contact Barak Gale barakgale@gmail.com


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Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on February 11th

Information from Washington Low Income Housing Alliance -http://www.wliha.org 

Registration is Now Open!

Please join hundreds of your fellow advocates from all corners of the state for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day 2013 on Monday, February 11.

Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) is an opportunity for you to show our elected officials the strength of this statewide movement. It demonstrates the collective power of our community and brings a unified message of support for affordable housing and ending homelessness to Olympia!

Last year your advocacy helped us to accomplish everything we set out for, including the passage of Part I of the Fair Tenant Screening Act, a healthy investment in the Housing Trust Fund, the preservation of the Housing and Essential Needs Program and much more. This session brings another budget deficit and a tough political environment, so we must again stand strong for our priorities. We’ll need to join together to make a united call for the elimination of barriers to housing, a new investment in the Housing Trust Fund and a continued push for new revenue to protect safety-net services from further cuts.

This year’s theme is “2-11: Hear the Call for Housing and an End to Homelessness.” Our advocacy day will help connect powerful advocates to elected officials in order to make the call to increase access to affordable housing and services and programs that prevent and end homelessness. This year’s theme was chosen in recognition that our date (2-11) is the same phone number (2-1-1) that struggling individuals and families call when trying to get connected to critical resources.  This year lets all come out to Olympia and make the call together to ensure our message is heard loud and strong!

Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day
Monday February 11, 2013
“2-11: Hear the Call for Housing and an End to Homelessness

8am – 3pm
United Churches
110 Eleventh Ave SE,
Olympia, WA

Register today and reserve your spot!

Thanks to the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle/King County for helping to provide free lunches for all registered HHAD advocates.

Prepare for HHAD
You can also now register to reserve your spot for a web-based pre-HHAD training on either Thursday, January 31 at 11am or Tuesday, February 5 at 11am. These web-based advocacy trainings will help to prepare you for HHAD and for meeting your elected officials. Space is limited, so please register in advance.  Interested in hosting a training at your organization? Contact Kevin at the Housing Alliance. Below is a preview of what the day will look like, but please stay tuned for more details on the guest speakers and workshops.

 

 

 

Tentative Agenda

8:00am – 9:00
Check-in and grab a coffee and light breakfast at United Churches located at 110 Eleventh Ave SE, Olympia

9:00-9:45

Get fired-up to advocate and hear an explanation of the 2013 Legislative Agenda.

 

 

9:45-11:15
Learn more about your powers of persuasion with our advocacy workshops.

 

 

11:30- 2:30
The afternoon program will offer you several opportunities including lunch with advocates from your legislative district, a meeting with your elected official, and even a rally on the steps of the capitol building.

 

 

2:30 – 3:00pm
Before you head home, join us back at United Churches for a debrief session.

 

 

Volunteer for HHAD
It takes support from across the affordable housing and homelessness community to make HHAD happen every year. We have a range of ways you can get involved as a volunteer for that day and in the days leading up to it. It you are interested contact Alouise at The Housing Alliance.

Thank you for registering today!

Kevin Solarte, Mobilization and Outreach Associate