Updates from the South King Housing and Homelessness Partnership!
Agency Spotlight: Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County
Habitat Seattle-King County is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, renovating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.
Iulia knew her son would be excited when he saw what would be his new home, but she never expected him to be so delighted by a closet.
The house was still under construction when Iulia brought six-year old Nicolae to see its progress. To her surprise, he was immediately drawn to the small, “Harry Potter-style” coat closet under the stairs.
He thought this was going to be his new bedroom.
“Nicolae entered that little closet, and it just seemed so big to him!” Iulia remembers. “He was like, ‘Oh mom! I’m gonna have my own room!’”
Nicolae and his parents moved to Renton from the Eastern European nation of Moldova when he was a year and a half old. The the family of three had been living in a one-bedroom apartment so small that the cat had learned to sleep along the wall to avoid being stepped on. By the time Iulia’s daughter Vera was born, four people were living in the tiny, crowded space. Nicolae was so accustomed to cramped living conditions, even sleeping in a closet under the stairs would have seemed like a luxury.
Six years later, Nicolae and his sister, Vera, each have their own room, and often invite friends over for sleepovers. Like any 12 year old, Nicolae loves having his own space. “It definitely increases his sense of self, and his sense of safety in the world,“ his mom notes.
“I do recognize that it’s the hard work of many, many people, and this house wouldn’t be possible without it,” Iulia says. “It’s amazing. It’s donations, it’s the work of AmeriCorps and staff and volunteers, of course. Many, many hands put this together, and it does make us very happy.”
Places to Be
Designing Communities for Health: The Intersection of Planning, Transportation and Public Health
Date and Time: Tuesday June 14, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Location: The Rendezvous (Grotto Theater) – 2322 2nd Ave, Seattle WA 98121
Registration: Free to attend. Register here.
How does where you live influence how you live?
The urban form of our communities strongly influences our transportation behaviors and health outcomes. While your neighborhood may provide you the chance for some exercise as you walk to the bus each morning, your colleague down the hall sits in traffic every day because her neighborhood offers her few other options. Similarly, the presence of grocery stores in a community is crucial for access to healthy food options. In these ways and many more, your zip code can predict your health. These links put planners and public health professionals on the front lines of the fight for healthy communities. Across Washington State, planners and public health professionals are working together to address the place-based factors that affect health.
APA Washington, the Washington State Public Health Association, the Association of Bicycle and Pedestrian Professionals Washington Chapter, and the Young Professionals in Transportation Seattle Chapter are hosting a panel discussion and networking opportunity to discuss these important collaborations and shared goals. Join us on June 14th after work to hear exciting examples of how your peers are collaborating in these fields.
AICP credits pending.
People in Action
A BIG thanks to everyone who attended an Affordable Housing Week event, advocated to their city council, tweeted #Homes4ALLKC, posted stories and helped to make it such a successful week! In the past week, 20 King County cities and King County have issued Affordable Housing Week proclamations, along with three other non-governmental entities – Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle University, and the WA State Housing Finance Commission. Sixty-six advocates attended their local council meetings, 648 letters were sent to city or county councilmembers in support of affordable housing, and HDC and our partners hosted 8 separate events focused on affordable housing in our region. What a week!
South King County had a great turnout during the week, with representatives at the Kickoff Celebration & Elected Officials Reception, andseven SKC city councils issuing Affordable Housing Week Proclamations!
Thank you all for showing up and showing that individuals, agencies, and cities across South King County support access to safe, affordable, and healthy housing!
Final One Night Count Report Available
The final report for the 36th annual One Night Count of people experiencing homelessness in King County is now complete. The Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH), with financial support from All Home, conducted the first part of the One Night Count, a street count, finding 4,505 individuals living unsheltered, a 19% increase from 2015. The second component of the One Night Count is a count and collection of demographic information about the people being served in emergency shelter and transitional housing programs on that same night. This year, 74 emergency shelter programs and 110 transitional housing programs provided data. In total, 10,688 people were experiencing homelessness on January 29, 2016, a 6.3% increase from 2015.
To read the full report, click here.
Equity and the Housing-Health Intersection
PolicyLink released a new report, Healthy Communities of Opportunity: An Equity Blueprint to Address America’s Housing Challenges, that explores the complex interplay of housing and health related factors that contribute to the economic, social and over-all wellbeing of families and communities, and how historic and ongoing inequities related to housing and place disproportionately damage people of color. The report includes 10 housing policy priorities for increasing equitable outcomes, and is a call to action for cross sector alliances to advance those policy priorities. To read more, click here: New Report Applies Equity Lens to Housing-Health Intersection.
Homeless Rights Advocacy Project Identifies Laws that Unfairly Target the Visibly Poor
Seattle University School of Law’s Homeless Rights Advocacy Project has released six new reports that continue the group’s influential, groundbreaking research into laws that unfairly target the visibly poor.
The new reports examine the impacts of increasingly popular laws and policies that criminalize homelessness, such as prohibitions on living in vehicles, sweeps of tent encampments, pet ownership standards, and barriers to access at emergency shelters.
HRAP students conducted extensive legal research and analysis to complete the briefs, conducting interviews with a wide range of experts (including people experiencing homelessness); surveying municipal, state, and federal laws; and reviewing legal standards set by previous court decisions.
“We found that common homelessness myths are refuted by statistics, experience, case law, and common sense,” said Justin Olson, a third-year law student. “These are the issues that people experiencing homelessness struggle with every day.”
Prejudice and unconstitutional discrimination against the visibly poor continues, Professor Sara Rankin said. The new reports identify specific common problems and offer effective, legally sound alternatives.
To access the full reports, click here.