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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2012 One Night Count in Lake City

By Temple Beth Am member Sally Kinney

When I left the house at 2 AM to meet my One Night Count group, it was 27 degrees and frozen hard. When I drove home at 6 AM this morning, it was 30 degrees and a thick icy fog made it almost impossible to see the road.  Most of us find it hard to imagine people being outside all night in that weather.  But they are and we found them. If we’d counted last week during the snow, we would have found them then, also. Continue reading


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The One Night Count has just started….

A message from Alison Eisinger of the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness

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Beginning at 8.00 a.m. this morning, folks who work at more than 30 programs serving homeless families will begin tallying phone calls for 24 hours, keeping track of all of the people whom they have to turn away, because local shelters are already full.  Through last year’s Family Turn Away Survey, we were able to show that at least 253 children and 177 of their adult family members — that’s 141 households — tried unsuccessfully to find shelter in a single day and night. That is an unduplicated  count, and an eye-opening glimpse of  the unmet  need in our community. Continue reading