Tag Archives: Seattle Human Services Department

With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Advocates and city councilmembers are putting pressure on Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City’s Human Services Department (HSD) to move forward with three new tiny house villages — groups of small shed-like shelters for people experiencing homelessness — this year, before the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) takes over the City’s homelessness-related contracts in 2022.

The short-term (and at this point, probably quixotic) goal is to convince Durkan and HSD’s short-staffed homelessness division to commit to moving forward with all three villages before the City’s homelessness contracts move to the KCRHA at the end of the year. The long-term goal, which may be equally quixotic, is to demonstrate strong community support for tiny house villages in the face of strong opposition at the new authority, whose leader, Marc Dones, has no allegiance to what has become conventional wisdom at the City.

Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council adopted (and the mayor signed) legislation accepting $2 million in state COVID-19 relief funding to stand up three new tiny house villages and setting aside an additional $400,000 to operate the villages once they open — the Seattle Rescue Plan. Since then, HSD has declined to issue a request for proposals to build the villages, arguing that the council doesn’t have a long-term plan to operate the villages after this year. The longer HSD waits, the more likely it is that the job of deciding whether to stand up additional tiny house villages will fall to the regional authority.

Continue reading With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


The Seattle City Council voted on Monday, Sept. 13, to shore up several of its own priorities for rethinking public safety using $15 million in savings from salaries left unspent by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) after another year of abnormally high attrition.

The council left almost two-thirds of the $15 million in the department’s budget, allowing SPD to cover the costs of downsizing — updates to timekeeping software to help deploy a smaller number of officers more efficiently, for example. Additionally, the council lifted a trio of provisos on the department’s budget, releasing roughly $8 million for the department to use as it wants.

Of the $5.2 million the council shifted out of SPD’s budget, $3 million will go to the Human Services Department (HSD) to fund grants to nonprofits specializing in alternatives to policing. The council set aside another $700,000 to stand up a new civilian crisis-response unit tentatively called Triage One.

Continue reading Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

OPINION: City Response to Gun Violence Spike Lacks Compassion, New Ideas

by M. Anthony Davis


The City of Seattle hosted a press conference on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 31, in response to six shootings over the weekend. City leaders, including Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, City Councilmember Alex Pedersen, and Rex Brown of the City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) were present. 

Diaz spoke on many of the recent shootings, including an incident where a man was shot and killed Tuesday morning in Capitol Hill during an alleged attempted robbery. According to Diaz, there have been 100 more shootings in the city compared to this time of year in 2020, and 150 more compared to 2019. 

Instead of using those statistics to argue for new creative solutions to keep communities safe, however, Diaz and Pedersen used the upticks in gun violence to advocate for more Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers. 

“To address the serious spike in gun violence, I believe our City Council needs to partner with both our police department and community nonprofits, for a multipronged response with effective violence prevention programs,” Pedersen said. 

Continue reading OPINION: City Response to Gun Violence Spike Lacks Compassion, New Ideas

Homeless Service Providers, City Employees Told to Use Encrypted App

by Erica C.Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


One of the leaders of the Homelessness Outreach and Provider Ecosystem (HOPE) Team, a Human Services Department-led group that coordinates outreach work at encampments, directed city staff and nonprofit outreach contractors earlier this year to stop using text messages, which are subject to public disclosure, to communicate about homeless encampment outreach and removals.

Instead, the HOPE Team leader, Christina Korpi, wrote in an April 8 email that staffers should use Signal, an encrypted private messaging app commonly used by activists, journalists, and others who want to shield their messages so that they can’t be read by anyone except the intended recipient. Signal can be set to auto-delete messages on both the sender and the recipient’s phones, making them impossible to recover.

In Korpi’s email, which went out to dozens of outreach providers and at least eight city staffers, including the members of the HOPE Team, she wrote, “We are planning to start using the Signal app instead of text message thread for field communications. Please download this app on your phone, or let me know if you have concerns or questions about using it.”

Continue reading Homeless Service Providers, City Employees Told to Use Encrypted App

Homeless Outreach Providers Say New Rules Would Put Them at City’s ‘Beck and Call’

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


Homeless outreach agencies that contract with the City’s Human Services Department have threatened not to sign their 2021 contracts over new requirements that they argue would harm their relationships with clients and give unprecedented new power to the City.

Agencies that provide outreach and engagement to homeless encampments, including the outreach that happens before the City removes an encampment, have been operating without contracts since January. Late last month, HSD sent out new contracts that included requirements — not included in previous contracts — that would effectively subordinate the agencies to HSD’s HOPE Team (formerly the Navigation Team) and require them to create detailed “supplemental daily outreach reports” about who they contacted and what services they offered each day.

Continue reading Homeless Outreach Providers Say New Rules Would Put Them at City’s ‘Beck and Call’

The Morning Update Show — 3/17/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Wednesday, March 17

LIVE — Andrew “Ace” Houston | LIVE — Willard Jimerson Jr. | 8 Killed in Atlanta Shootings | Local wealth divide grows | Shukri Olow running for King County Council | HSD earmarks $10.4M for Community Safety

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 3/17/21

News Gleams: Oral History Pilot, Community IPAs, Vaccines, Garden Share Events, & More!

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle! 


Image courtesy of Wa Na Wari.

Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute Pilot Program — Now Accepting Applications!

Application Deadline: March 31

From the source: Wa Na Wari and the Shelf Life Community Story Project are launching the Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute, a pilot oral history/community story training program.

In 2021, a six-person cohort will explore the ethics, techniques, best practices, tensions, and dilemmas of oral history. The cohort will then practice their new skills by conducting oral history interviews with local community members around three topics. Upon completion of the Institute, cohort members will receive compensation of $4,000 and a certificate of completion.

Continue reading News Gleams: Oral History Pilot, Community IPAs, Vaccines, Garden Share Events, & More!

OPEN LETTER: Tammy Morales Calls for Mediation Between LIHI and Nickelsville

Tammy Morales sent the following letter to the city of Seattle’s Human Services Department, Nickelsville, and the Low Income Housing Institute. It is reprinted here with permission. A petition calling for mediation between the organizations can be found here.

by Tammy Morales

Dear Nickelsville, Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and Seattle Human Services Department Leaders,

I have immense admiration for the work that both LIHI and Nickelsville have done for years in serving our underserved homeless neighbors. Nickelsville, you have stood against corporate power in the city that wants to stop spending on human services. You have served the needs of our community members and have shown us that we can have permanent affordable housing.

Continue reading OPEN LETTER: Tammy Morales Calls for Mediation Between LIHI and Nickelsville