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Take Action: Oppose Food Stamp Cuts

By Megan Dorwin, YWCA Advocacy and Policy Intern

At the YWCA, we believe that everyone should live with dignity and no one should  fear not having enough food to eat.   

Unfortunately, one out of six households in Washington state lacks access to foodThis can lead to families and children eating unhealthy foods, eating smaller amounts than they need or skipping meals altogether.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that helps meet the nutritional needs of 1.1 million people in Washington state, largely through food stamps. 

Yet there is a gap between the cost of food and the amount of assistance SNAP provides. On average, a family of four receives less than $18 a day in food stamp benefits, and many parents are still struggling to feed their families.

Mom and child shopping for food

These benefits are being debated in Washington D.C. right now. The House has proposed more than $40 million in cuts over ten years to this program. If passed, nearly 4 million people will lose their food benefits completely and 210,000 children will lose access to free meals at school. It would also make it harder for parents and children to qualify for and receive benefits. 

The Senate has proposed $4.1 billion in cuts over ten years - a less drastic, but still painful blow to food stamp recipients. These cuts are coming at a time when most families are still reeling from the greatest economic recession of their lifetime. 

Join the YWCA in the fight for justice and access to quality food by opposing cuts to SNAP!

Contact your state Senators and U.S. Congressional Representative and tell them to protect SNAP.

Together, we can make sure all people in our community and across the nation have access to affordable and healthy food. 

Want to learn more about the benefits of SNAP? Read this:
The Hidden Benefits of Food Stamps, Mother Jones magazine (Oct. 25, 2013)

Countdown to election day, November 5th

Hey voters, Election Day is just one week away! Washington State ballots must be postmarked Tuesday, November 5th or placed in an official ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on election night.

Women use your vote!

If you haven’t already cast your vote, take a few minutes to check out these excellent resources to help inform your vote: 

Confused about ballot measures like I-522 – GMO labeling? The League of Women Voters provides objective summaries to help inform voters.

Where do the candidates stand on issues related to human services? Read responses from Seattle and King County candidates as well as Eastside candidates.

Your vote is your voice, use it wisely!

Immigration Reforms Matters for Women and Families

YWCA immigration reform day of action 2013

Join us for a National Day of Action on immigration reform, June 6

Contact your Members of Congress to advocate for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform that includes the needs of women and families.

We need all of our voices to be heard for common-sense immigration reform to be passed! Help deliver our message by calling or emailing your Senator or Representative on Thursday, June 6. 

Call your Senator or Representative 

Email your Senator or Representative

Click on the links above to take action through the YWCA USA, or find and contact your legislators directly using the information below.

This issue is central to the YWCA mission - to empower women and eliminate racism - and we are deeply committed to immigration reform that will:

  • Keep families together here in the U.S.
  • Provide adequate protections for immigration victims of sexual violence and trafficking
  • End racial profiling and detention of immigrants
  • Provide access to quality health care and economic safety-nets without waiting periods 
  • Create a roadmap for citizenship for the 11 million aspiring to be citizens

To learn more, read the YWCA USA’s complete analysis of the U.S. Senate’s proposed legislation for immigration reform. [pdf]


Find and contact your Representative:

Contact U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell: 
Call Washington D.C. office: 202.224.3441

Contact U.S. Senator Patty Murray:
Call Washington D. C. office:  202.224.2621 (Toll-free: 866.481.9186)

Email Subject and Text: All Women Deserve Safety, Security and Opportunity With Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Dear Representative/Senator,

As one of the oldest women's rights organizations and the largest provider of domestic violence shelters in the United States, with over 1,300 locations across the country, the YWCA is deeply invested in ensuring that any legislation passed to address immigration reform is comprehensive and inclusive of the needs of women and families. We call for passage of broad and humane national immigration reform legislation that will provide a clear road map to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans, including DREAMers, and make it possible for them to fully integrate into the nation’s social and economic fabric, with all of the rights and responsibilities entailed in full integration.

Citizenship should ensure that everyone living in the U.S. has access to economic supports, affordable health care, workers’ rights, and the freedom to live free from the fear of detention and deportation. Specifically, the YWCA urges Congress to enact national immigration reform legislation that includes:

1. A road map to citizenship for the 11 million Aspiring Americans that allows for measures ensuring family reunification and an end to widespread deportations;

2. Immediate access to quality health care and economic supports, with no waiting periods;

3. The DREAM Act to ensure that immigrant children brought into the United States at early ages are able to obtain quality, higher education opportunities; and,

4. Enhanced protections for trafficked women and immigrant women who are victims of sexual or domestic violence.


Phone Call Talking Points

Citizenship should ensure that everyone living in the U.S. has access to economic supports, affordable health care, workers’ rights, and the freedom to live free from the fear of detention and deportation.

Specifically, I stand with the YWCA in demanding that Congress enact national immigration reform legislation that includes:

  • A road map to citizenship for the 11 million Aspiring Americans that allows for measures ensuring family reunification and an end to widespread deportations; 
  • Immediate access to quality health care and economic supports, with no waiting periods; 
  • The DREAM Act to ensure that immigrant children brought into the United States at early ages are able to obtain quality, higher education opportunities; and, 
  • Enhanced protections for trafficked women and immigrant women who are victims of sexual or domestic violence.

YWCA Co-promoting 1st Congressional District Debate
Location: Microsoft Redmond Campus - Rainier Room | 1 Microsoft Way, Redmond WA 98052
When: Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Seating is limited and advanced registration is required!
To register, visit or call 206.682.7395!

Registration: 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Program: 12:00 p.m. - Please note the program will start promptly at noon
Price: Free | Brown Box Lunch provided

Darcy Burner
Suzan DelBene
Steve Hobbs
John Koster
Darshan Rauniyar
Laura Ruderman

Joni Balter, Seattle Times

With recently redrawn boundaries, Washington’s 1st Congressional District is now perhaps the most politically balanced and therefore competitive in the state. A full line-up of candidates declared for the open seat, giving voters many options for the top two primary. How will you make your decision? The new district is incredibly diverse, including more affluent and working class communities, farmland, oil refineries, a state prison, colleges and universities, and high tech industry. How do the various candidates intend to approach and fully represent the district? What are their top issues and policy priorities on both the state and national level? Bring your own questions and join us to hear directly from the candidates as you make your decision for the August 7 primary election.

Event partner: Microsoft

Other Co-promoting Organizations: Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Eastside, Leadership Tomorrow, League of Education Voters, Seattle Works, Snohomish County Democrats, University of Washington Center for Communication & Civic Engagement, Washington Policy Center, Washington State Republican Party, Whatcom Republican Party

Program Partner Profile: King County Housing Authority

Since its establishment in 1939, the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) has played a key role in providing affordable housing options for the residents of King County, Washington.

Through partnerships with local communities and nonprofit organizations such as the YWCA, KCHA delivers affordable housing and related supportive services, including education, job training and social services to more than 43,000 local residents from 18,000 households earning less than the county median income.

With critical support from KCHA, the YWCA created YWCA Family Village at Issaquah, a 146-unit affordable housing development, and Passage Point, a residential community for parents emerging from the corrections system who seek to reunite with their children.

The YWCA values its partnership with KCHA and shares its commitment to make independence and self-sufficiency well within reach of most families.

How Racism Survives in Race-Neutral Policies

What is the difference between equity and equality? As we prepare to participate in this year’s Stand Against Racism, our second one, I'm reminded of a conference call I was on several years ago with other coordinators of social justice and race initiatives. Knowing that we all had adopted the logo of “eliminating racism and empowering women,” I asked if the YWCA had a common definition of racism. I was told no. That is left up to individual associations.  This reflects a common issue when dealing with racism: What is it?

For today, let’s focus on racial equity and how disparate outcomes can arise from seemingly race- neutral policies. Let’s take, for example, two seemingly race-neutral policies, such as not hiring anyone with a felony conviction or not renting to anyone with a felony conviction. On the surface these appear to be race-neutral policies because NO individual will be hired or rented to with a felony conviction.  However, according to the 2005 Sentencing Project, the state of Washington had an incarceration rate of 393 per 100,000 for whites compared to an incarceration rate of 2,522 per 100,000 for African Americans.  And, according to the Becket Report published in 2007, if you are African American and living in Seattle, you are more than 10 times more likely to be contacted by police than if you are white, regardless of income or prior criminal conviction. Whatever the reasons for these disparities in the criminal justice system, they will lead to inequitable results in hiring and renting due to a seemingly equal policy.

For this year’s Stand Against Racism, our regional YWCA will host a panel discussion on reducing racism in the criminal justice system. We are doing this with this thought: “How can we, a large nonprofit agency with multiple employment and housing programs, work toward the elimination of racism while such huge racial disparities exist in the criminal justice system?”

Our panel will include a Seattle City Council member, a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, a federal law-enforcement officer, two judges and an expert on the school-to-prison pipeline.  Our invited guests will include our agency partners, board members and concerned community members.  Our focus will be how to achieve more equitable results from our criminal justice system and especially how to improve results that directly affect the women and families we serve.  This is just one of many efforts we engage in as we strive to eliminate racism and empower women.

–  Martin Friedman, associate director, Social Justice Initiatives
YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish

About Martin Friedman
Martin Friedman has been the Social Justice Initiatives director since March of 2007.  His experience includes 15 years of working for the Upward Bound program for the City of Seattle Human Services Department. Friedman assisted in the development of the Undoing Institutional Racism Group (UIR Group) of employees organizing against institutional racism in the department and city practices, and the white caucus of the UIR Group, European Americans Against Racism.  He has been involved with organizing for equity in numerous institutions in the Seattle area, including the Seattle School District and the Washington State Reformatory. 

Poverty Action Network Needs YOUR SUPPORT TODAY!
 Urgent Action: This is not how to create a budget.

“If you are a poor woman, let me just say, tonight is not your night.” 
– Senator Brown

These words from Senator Brown came shortly before 1am on Saturday morning, after Senate Republicans, with the assistance of three Democrats, took over the Senate floor using an arcane parliamentary procedure and passed a shameful all-cuts budget.

The budget passed early Saturday morning, is indeed, incredibly harmful to low-income women across the state. The Senate’s budget makes $202 million in cuts to our state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This includes an additional 2% grant cut, lowering the lifetime limit to 48 months, and a loss of 4,000 child care slots.

Knowing that the public supports a safety net for our state’s most vulnerable, these lawmakers kept their budget proposal quiet, held no hearings on it, and forced a vote before most lawmakers even had a chance to read the proposal. Now that we can actually read this budget, here are the details on the over $350 million in cuts to the state’s safety net:

  • It cuts funding for our state’s struggling families, those who are on TANF, by $202 million.
  • It eliminates the Disability Lifeline Medical program for 15,000 low-income disabled adults.
  • It eliminates the State Food Assistance Program, which provides food to 12,000 immigrant families each month.
  • It cuts more than $40 million from the Housing and Essential Needs program.

This is unacceptable. This is an attack on our state’s commitment to care for all Washingtonians, regardless of income. As if that’s not enough, the budget passed by the Senate on Saturday morning directly contradicts the public testimony and presence of thousands of citizens who came to Olympia or contacted legislators urging them to protect the safety net.

We still have a chance to make a difference. This budget, while shameful, still needs to go to the House for concurrence. Your lawmakers in both the House and the Senate need to hear from you today.

Lawmakers must see these messages everywhere they look: in their inboxes, in their voicemails, in their local papers and outside their doors.

Send them an e-mail and urge them to stand strong for our state’s safety net.

Call them at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them that you support a budget for all Washingtonians.

Use our template to send a letter to the editor of your paper in support of low-income women and children, in support of people with disabilities, and in support of our immigrant and refugee communities.

Join the silent protest in Olympia tonight. Bring signs and meet at 5:30pm at the  Pritchard Building on the Capitol Campus.
Check out Firesteel, your new voice for social change!

Ready, set, launch! Check out Firesteel, our advocacy and education network.

Firesteel is a new way to advocate for social change. Our YWCA is proud to join the seven other YWCAs across Washington state as the key partners. In this first year, the focus will be on issues related to family homelessness.

So join the conversation and share your voice for social change!

Action Request for 1/27: We are making progress but need your help!

YWCA Action Opportunity – Support EHB 2048, SB 5952

We have movement on EHB 2048, SB 5952, the document recording fee bill!

SB 5952 is the Senate version.  On 1/19 it was referred to the Senate fiscal committee, Ways & Means.  The next step will likely be a public hearing which is not yet scheduled.

HB 2048 is the House version and where we now turn our attention.  EHB 2048 has been moved out of House Rules Committee and is eligible for a House floor vote any time now! It could be today, it could be next week.   


As soon as possible, please contact your two representatives and urge them to vote yes when EHB 2048 comes up for a floor vote.   

Please support EHB 2048.  The revenue from these modest document recording fees will fund critical homelessness prevention programs that our communities need. 
We need a strong a vote in the House to send this legislation back to the Senate with as much momentum as possible.


To find out who represents you:  Visit this link and enter your address or call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000.  TDD 1-800-635-9993. 


Thanks for any and all help you can provide, as this legislation is a YWCA priority.  

Support SB 5952: Make a call or send an emial
YWCA Action Opportunity - Support SB 5952

SB 5952 the document recording fee bill has made progress in the first week of the legislative session and is  scheduled for the executive session TOMORROW Wednesday, 1/18 at 1:30 p.m.  This gives the bill the opportunity to be voted out of committee so that it can progress to the next step in the process. 

Action request:          

Before Wednesday, 1/18 at 1:30 pm, please ask any Senators you have on Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee to vote “yes.”

Please support SB 5952 and HB 2048.  The revenue from these modest document recording fees will fund critical homelessness prevention programs that our communities need.”

If you don’t have anyone on this committee in your district, please thank Senator Hobbs for hearing the bill, calling it for a vote and for his personal leadership in forging stakeholder consensus over this proposal. 

Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee Members

For additional contact and background information click on the legislator’s name below:





Hobbs, Steve (D) Chair


(360) 786-7686

Prentice, Margarita (D) Vice Chair


(360) 786-7616

Benton, Don (R) *


(360) 786-7632

Fain, Joe (R)


(360) 786-7692

Haugen, Mary Margaret (D)


(360) 786-7618

Keiser, Karen (D)


(360) 786-7664

Litzow, Steve (R)


(360) 786-7641

*Ranking Minority Member 

How to Get More Information & Contact Your Legislators: 

For more information about a bill, call the Bill Room in Olympia at 360-786-7573 OR use the internet

To find out who represents you:  Go to and enter your address OR call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000.  TDD:  1-800-635-9993.

Calling your legislators: Direct dial or use the Legislative Hotline –– open weekdays from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm.  Operators will send your message to one of your legislators, to all three of your legislators, and/or to the Governor.  1-800-562-6000.  TDD:  1-800-635-9993. 

Spotlight on Gov. Gregoire’s budget plan
Gov. Christine Gregoire rolled out her 2012 supplemental budget, which includes $1.7 billion in cuts that will have devastating impacts on our disabled, mentally ill and student populations.

Because the governor finds many of those reductions to be unconscionable, she is proposing several options for generating additional revenue to prevent the most damaging reductions. She wants state lawmakers to ask voters to approve a half-cent sales tax increase next March to help replace a portion of the cuts.

The revenue generated by this temporary sales tax increase would be used for these specific purposes:$252 million for public schools.

  • $252 million for public schools.
  • $160 million for higher education.
  • $42 million for long-term care and developmental disability services.
  • $41 million for public safety.
The governor is also recommending $59 million in revenues that the Legislature could achieve by a simple majority vote and $282 million that would require a two-thirds majority to pass. Those revenues could be targeted to prevent some of the grim spending reductions identified in the governor’s budget proposal.

You can read the details of Gregoire’s proposals here.
Please contact your King County Council member

The King County Council is holding hearings this month as it considers its 2012 operating budget.  The YWCA is joining the King County Alliance for Human Services in calling for the creation of an ongoing source of dedicated funding for human services.  If you live in King County, get involved by contacting your Councilmember directly, or by submitting testimony online at

 Talking points:

--King County's General Fund commitment to human services has declined by 97% in the past four years, from over $22 million in 2007 to $626,000 in 2011.

--The decline in funding has coincided with a steep increase in demand brought about by the economic crisis.

--The County is to be applauded for reducing health care costs and creating other efficiencies that made it possible for Executive Constantine to propose $1 million in one-time human services grants.

--But one-time grants won't repair the human services safety net.  A healthy human services network requires ongoing funding at a more substantial level.

--Ensure that our human services safety net will be there for those who need it by creating an ongoing, dedicated source of County support.

Please attend: Townhall with DSHS Oct. 21 (Call in available)
Please come to a Town Hall Meeting with Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Susan N. Dreyfus to be informed about and to discuss the potential impacts of budget reduction options the Department has proposed in response to Governor Gregoire’s call for 10 percent reductions across all state executive agencies.

We need to hear from you about the potential impacts in your communities, as only you can understand and explain them.

Secretary Dreyfus and members of her leadership and management teams will review the proposed reductions and their impact on the people we serve and respond to your questions.

The Seattle Town Hall will be held on:

Friday, October 21st

10:30 – 12:00pm

Saint Mark’s Cathedral

Room: Bloedel Hall

1245 10th Avenue East

Seattle, WA 98102


Or you may attend via conference call at:


PIN CODE: 170802#

Note: Please proceed to log into the conference bridge at approximately 10:25 a.m. and no sooner.


Space is limited, so please RSVP by Wednesday, October 19, 2011 to Connie McCormick at or 425-339-4065.

Oct. 5 Webinar: Partnering for Homeless: National and Local Practices

Join local and national leaders for a Seattle-based webinar highlighting partnerships between housing and employment systems from the national level to local communities.

 Hosted by YWCA Seattle|King|Snohomish and Workforce Development Council:

Title:         Partnering for Homeless Employment/National Views and Local Practices

Date:        Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time:        11:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT

 Connect with national speakers from the Dept. of Labor, HUD and the Interagency Council on Homelessness and local speakers from YWCA Seattle|King|Snohomish and Workforce Development Council.  Learn about trends and best practices in these fields. 

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

 After registering, you will receive a confirmation emailing with information about joining the Webinar.

 System Requirements

PC-based attendees:   require Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees:            required Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer Macintosh


Tick, tock: The time is right for jobs plan

By Matt King
YWCA Employment & Regional Services Director

Job-creation efforts like those proposed by President Barack Obama can’t come soon enough for job seekers in King and Snohomish Counties, where more than 132,000 were out of work and looking for jobs in July. Thousands more have given up looking altogether, or are working part time even though they need full-time work. More than 8,000 such job seekers have visited the YWCA’s career centers in downtown Seattle, Auburn and White Center so far this year, and there’s no sign the pace will slow anytime soon.

Of course, the longer someone remains unemployed – and the larger the gaps in their work history – the greater the disadvantage they face when looking for work. Employers are often reluctant to hire applicants with breaks of a year or more on their resumes. And economically disadvantaged job seekers,such as single mothers on public assistance or the formerly homeless, often have very little work experience to highlight on their applications. Helping these job seekers take advantage of any opportunities created by the jobs act will require a special effort.

One way to overcome this challenge is through transitional employment programs like the YWCA’s Community Jobs. The program puts those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, known as TANF, to work as interns receiving minimum wage for up to six months, usually with government or not-for-profit agencies. The community benefits from their work , and the interns benefit by gaining work skills and work experience  they can include on their resumes.

Transitional jobs work for women like Samantha, a mother of two and domestic violence survivor with little work experience who found herself on TANF after fleeing an abusive relationship. After completing a Community Jobs internship at the YWCA, improving her computer skills in a YWCA class, and attending a hiring event at Opportunity Place, she now earns more than $12 an hour as an assistant housekeeping manager at Red Lion Hotels.

Recent budget cuts mean we’ll be able to offer transitional employment for fewer women like Samantha this year. If Congress is serious about creating jobs for disadvantaged women, they should invest in transitional jobs programs. And they should do it right away.


Creating Jobs for Women a Chief Concern for YWCA

YWCA National CEO Gloria Lau Meets with White House Officials

Creating Jobs for Women Chief Concern

Tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, the President will address a joint session of Congress. The President’s speech will focus on his jobs plan which is expected to include initiatives aimed at creating jobs, assistance for state and local governments and assistance unemployed workers. 

In anticipation of the speech, YWCA USA CEO Gloria Lau, along with leaders of other national women’s organizations met with members of the President’s team to discuss the needs of working and unemployed women.  Gloria Lau’s remarks specifically focused on how the nonprofit sector is both a sector of employment for women and a critical provider of services to women.

You can tune-in to watch this speech on

Immediately following the President’s address, stay tuned for a live discussion with policy experts answering your questions on the President's speech. You can submit your questions through, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Twitter: reply to @whitehouse using the hashtag #WHChat
  • Facebook: post your questions to our wall on
  • Or sumbit a question through a webform on


The Employment and Housing Stability Program is made possible by the Vets and Human Services Levy


Vote to APPROVE King County Prop 1 in the 2011 Primary Election (August 16)

What is it?

A renewal of an existing levy – not a new tax. Since 2005, it has improved the lives of over 82,000 veterans, their families and others across King County.

The levy supports essential services such as employment training, veterans’ treatment for PTSD, affordable housing, mental health services, rental assistance and home visits by nurses for at-risk families of new mothers.

What does it cost?

$17 is the average annual amount a King County homeowner would pay on a home assessed at $340,000. The proposed renewal would generate $16 million a year through property taxes with a rate of 5 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value.

How does it impact our YWCA?

Several YWCA programs receive levy funding. All together, it represents over $2.3 million this year. The YWCA relies on levy support to provide these programs to the community:

How can I help?

Help spread the word on how important it is that people vote yes and continue to keep doors open for veterans and others in need. For more information plus volunteer opportunities, go to

Vote yes on Prop 1, the Vets and Human Services Levy. Ballots will be mailed in late July and need to be returned by August 16th. Whether you own or rent, you can make a difference with your vote.

If you have not yet registered to vote, it’s not too late. You can register by July 18th and still vote in the August 16th election. Register online at

YWCA Action Opportunity – Do not allow SHB 2048 to be reduced!

Background information

This bill is one of our highest priorities and it is in danger of being dramatically changed for the worse. 

There are two new amendments. 

1. We oppose Rep. Takko amendment that removes a temporary $10 fee increase and just extends the sunset date. This change will significantly reduce the revenue potential for the bill. 

2. We support the striking amendment that restricts the fees to real estate documents. We have been arguing for SHB 2048 because of the close connection between real estate transactions and addressing homelessness. Also, this amendment makes it more likely that we will get another ruling that this is a fee and not a tax. If so, we only need a simple majority to vote “yes.” The amendment will also undercut opposing arguments from the clerks and GOP members.

SHB 2048’s prime sponsor, Rep. Kenney, strongly advises us to keep the pressure on with emails/calls to all Representatives. The House floor vote might come up as soon as Saturday or it could be early next week. 

Please send the email below to your Representatives by Saturday morning, 5/21 if at all possible. 

Find your House members here. Email subject line: SHB 2048

As a YWCA supporter, I urge you to oppose the Takko amendment on SHB 2048 and to support the striking amendment.

Rep. Takko’s amendment removes the temporary $10 fee increase and just extends the sunset date. This change will significantly reduce the revenue potential for the bill. 

The striking amendment restricts the fees to real estate documents. We have been arguing for SHB 2048 because of the close connection between real estate transactions and addressing homelessness.

SHB 2048 represents the cooperative effort of state and local government, service providers and private landlords. It embraces a variety of approaches to effectively prevent and end homelessness and will support successful programs and services. At our YWCA alone, it will help thousands of women and families.

This will be accomplished by filling a shortfall in the Home Security Fund; extending a sunset of a $20 document recording fee from 2013 to 2017; enacting a temporary $10.00 increase to current real estate recording fees until 2015; and by creating a system under which private landlords can effectively communicate their interest in housing persons receiving vouchers funded by these fees.

SHB 2048 represents a critical resource for women and families threatened with homelessness as a result of the recession. 

Please oppose the Takko amendment on SHB 2048 and support the striking amendment. Thank you.

YWCA Action Opportunity – Support SHB 2048

Good news from House Ways & Means! Yesterday, the Committee passed SHB 2048 (Concerning low-income and homeless housing assistance surcharges) with a friendly amendment, by a party line margin of 15-11.

The House floor vote on SHB 2048 could come as soon as tomorrow, Friday 5/13! This bill is one of our highest priorities – we need it to pass a House floor vote so it can move back to the Senate.


Please send an email to your two State House Representatives before Friday (5/13/11) morning. Find your members here.

Include a thank you for being a sponsor and supporting this bill

Darneille, Hasegawa, Dickerson, Haigh, Hunt, Kagi, Kenney, -also prime sponsor, Ormsby, Pettigrew,

Include a thank you for supporting this bill, please continue to vote yes
Hunter, Carlyle, Hudgins, Seaquist, Springer, Sullivan

If your representatives are not listed above, ask them to vote yes in the House floor vote. Make sure to edit the message below.

Talking points

As a YWCA supporter, I urge you to vote yes or thank you for your support of SHB 2048 to continue successful programs and services that prevent and end homelessness. This measure represents the cooperative effort of state and local government, service providers and private landlords.

SHB 2048 embraces a variety of approaches to effectively prevent & end homelessness and will support successful programs and services. At our YWCA alone, it will help thousands of women and families.

This will be accomplished by filling a shortfall in the Home Security Fund; extending a sunset of a $20 document recording fee from 2013 to 2017; enacting a temporary $10.00 increase to current document recording fees until 2015; and by creating a system under which private landlords can effectively communicate their interest in housing persons receiving vouchers funded by these fees. Private landlords gave input on the bill and have demonstrated their support.

As our communities gradually recover from unprecedented, prolonged economic setbacks, HB 2048 represents a critical resource for women and families threatened with homelessness as a result of the recession.

Ask Obama to Preserve Safety-Net Programs

President Obama is hosting a Virtual Townhall on Wednesday, April 20 at 1:45 PST to take questions from Americans across the country on the difficult choices being made to ensure fiscal responsibility.

Here is a unique opportunity to tell the President how the budget debate is affecting real people in our community who depend on key safety net programs such as food, shelter and utility assistance to meet their basic survival needs.

Make your voice heard by posting questions like the one below (the more questions received on the same subject, the more likely it will be chosen for a response):

Communities across the country depend on the "Community Development Block Grant to fund critical safety-net programs that provide shelter for the homeless, employment and job training for individuals, construction and preservation of affordable housing for low-income families and services for abused and neglected children. Millions of people will be affected by proposed reductions to the CDBG program. Can you talk about your rationale for reducing support to this integral, long standing, highly effective program?"

Encourage Rep. Hunter to Hear and Pass HB 2048

Please email Rep. Ross Hunter to let him know your support for HB 2048

Sample wording below - 

Subject: HB 2048 - Please Hear & Pass

 Dear Representative Hunter –

 On behalf of the YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish, I urge you to hear HB 2048 and pass it.  This measure represents the cooperative effort of state and local government, service providers and private landlords.  At our YWCA alone, HB 2048 will prevent thousands of women and families avoid or rebound quickly from homelessness.   HB 2048 does this by:

·         filling a shortfall in the Home Security Fund

·         extending a sunset of a $20 document recording fee from 2013 to 2017

·         enacting a temporary $10 increase to current document recording fees until 2015, and

·         creating a system whereby private landlords can effectively communicate their interest in housing persons receiving vouchers funded by these fees

 As our communities gradually recover from unprecedented, prolonged economic setbacks, HB 2048 represents a critical resource for women and families threatened with homelessness as a result of the recession.  Please hear and pass HB 2048.

 Thank you!

Call-In Day to Save Disability Lifeline 4/11

As a member of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, the YWCA is supporting the April 11 “Call-In Day to Save Disability Lifeline.”

While not everyone can travel to Olympia, they can make a phone call to legislators. Please take a few minutes during a coffee break or lunch time to call your elected official and tell them to: Please fund the Disability Lifeline, including a crucial cash benefit of $100 so people can meet their own basic needs.

Call 1-800-562-6000 to send a quick message to your elected representatives in Olympia. (They will ask for your name and address so it gets sent to the correct representative.)

YWCA Capitol Hill Day on April 7th - Action Day

YWCA Capitol Hill Day is an opportunity for YWCA activists from across the nation to converge on the nation's capital en mass to exert our "Persimmon Power" in a common voice on issues that are central to the YWCA mission.

Among the 200+ participants are YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish CEO, Sue Sherbrooke, YWCA Relations Executive Director, Rita Ryder and YWCA Board Member, Betsy Moseley.

This year, we are saying "Enough!" to violence against women and cuts to human needs programs. We join together - in Washington, DC and across the country - in a unified voice to speak to Congress on the importance of the work of YWCAs nationwide.

YWCA calls on Congress to:

  • Support funding the Childcare Development Block Grant (CCDBG) at the Senate CR FY11 level of $2.4 billion and the President’s FY12 increase of $1.3 billion.
  • Fund the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) at $4 billion for both FY11 and FY12 and to reject H.R.1, which would cut funding in half.
  • Sustain current funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in FY11 and to swiftly reauthorize VAWA and fully fund violence against women programs at the President’s
  • FY12 budget request of $777 million.
  • Maintain the Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund cap at $705 million in FY10 and increase the cap to $850 million in the President’s FY12 budget request.

We can’t all be in DC, but we can all use our computers and phones to act:


Email your member of Congress on our issues by clicking here!

Call your member of Congress toll-free at (202)224-3121! To find the names of your elected officials, click here.

Visit the YWCA National site for more information on Capitol Hill Day on April 7th 2011.

Support Senate House Bill 1768

Support Senate House Bill 1768

The YWCA supports SHB 1768 which is scheduled for a vote in House Ways & Means this Monday afternoon, 3/21, at 3:30.

Now is the time to urge any and all State Representatives you have on this committee (see membership list and contact information down below) to vote “yes” on this critical piece of 2011 legislation.

If you don’t have any Representatives on this committee, please thank Rep. Hunter, the Chair, for hearing this bill and for calling it for a committee vote.

Talking points:

As a longtime supporter of the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, I know that many Washington residents are struggling. I am especially concerned about homeless and very low-income women and families. I am worried about how the $12 million shortfall in the Home Security Fund will impact thousands of vulnerable people.

I urge you to support SHB 1768. If it is not enacted and this 12m gap is not closed, it is projected that there will be at least 27,000 more homeless Washingtonians by the year 2013. The expected reductions and elimination in Disability Lifeline, mental health and other human service programs will further add to the numbers of homeless or people at risk of becoming homeless.

SHB 1768 offers some solutions. It lifts the sunset provision on document recording fees and has a modest $5 fee increase. It will generate revenue that we badly need. I urge you to support Senate House Bill 1768.

Thank you.

Background information:
Home Security Fund uses real estate document recording fees to help provide housing for homeless mentally ill single adults, families and independent youth through several programs. The Home Security Fund generated $30 million per biennium, but now has $42.7 million currently committed against it for 2009-2011, including new obligations added during the 2010 session. If not addressed, this over-obligation will result in destabilizing cuts that will through vulnerable adults and children back into homelessness. This is the $12m shortfall.

Toll-Free Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000

Federal funding cut to low-income employment programs

HR 1, the House of Representatives continuing budget resolution which was passed on February 20, eliminates over $60 billion from federal programs for the remainder of this budget year, beginning March 4. Among the many cuts to services for those with low incomes is the elimination of two job training programs which fund YWCA services:

  • The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) provides for WorkSource Downtown Seattle, located at YWCA Opportunity Place, where we provide career development services for over 5,000 job seekers every year.
  • The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) which funds employment assistance for job seekers aged 55 and up.

The Senate will take up the budget resolution next. It’s important that our Senators hear that we value these programs so they will not be tempted to compromise their support in order to reach a budget agreement quickly. Please send the message below to Senators Cantwell and Murray.

Click below to reach their contact forms:

Dear Senator Cantwell/Murray:

I am a supporter of the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, and I urge you to reject the spending cuts proposed in HR 1, the House of Representatives’ continuing budget resolution.

The cuts the House proposes to job training programs such as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) would come largely at the expense of those who have been hit hardest by the economic recession.

The YWCA relies on WIA to support the operation of WorkSource Downtown Seattle, located at YWCA Opportunity Place, where we offer career development services for over 5,000 job seekers every year, and on SCSEP to provide employment assistance for job seekers aged 55 and up.

Eliminating WIA, SCSEP and other job training programs will deny training opportunities for over 1.8 million Americans while Washington’s unemployment rate is still over 9%. If other proposed cuts are enacted, millions more Americans will lose access to education, emergency food and shelter, home heating assistance, Head Start child care, and other vital services.

The Senate should not compromise on services for those with low incomes in order to reach a budget agreement. Please stand firm in your support for Washington residents who benefit from WIA, SCSEP and other federal programs that are at risk. Please reject the cuts proposed in HR 1.

Thank you.

Influence state budget choices today

We have a short window of opportunity today to influence State legislation that will impact YWCA clients.

Please consider sending the following emails before 2 pm. Find your legislators’ contact information.

House of Representatives: HB 1768 (extend the recording fee to secondary mortgage sales)

For Rep. Kenney (District 46): Thank you for sponsoring HB 1768. As a supporter of the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, I support your actions in this regard.

For Reps. Upthegrove (District 33) and Santos (District 37): Thank you for co-sponsoring HB 1768. As a supporter of the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, I support your actions in this regard.

For all other Representatives: As a supporter of the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish and one of your constituents, I ask that you to sign on to HB 1768. It is my understanding that the bill is at the bar and you have until 2 pm today to sign on.

I urge you to do so in order to extend the recording fee to secondary mortgage sales to help close the projected $12 million deficit in the Home Security Fund in the coming biennium. If this deficit is not closed, approximately 5,600 fewer homeless people will be served – according to the Department of Commerce.

The secondary mortgage fee extension would generate about $12 million per year, roughly half of which would be used to reduce the HSF deficit to $6 million. The rest of the bill’s proceeds would be used to enhance the Operation and Maintenance of Housing Trust Fund facilities – another important need.

If you would like additional information, please contact Seth Dawson at 360.754.3290. Thank you.

State Senators: Disability Lifeline

As a supporter of the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish and one of your constituents, I urge you to check the Senate supplemental budget to see that Disability Lifeline has been maintained.

If it isn’t, I ask you to preserve it in the final supplemental budget. Fifty-thousand people per year rely on Disability Lifeline to pay rent, cover critical medications and pay for basic needs. Similar programs have generated substantial cost savings to the state by reducing emergency room visits and time in the criminal justice system.

If you would like additional information, please contact Seth Dawson at 360.754.3290. Thank you.

Governor urges communities to "step up"

In her Proposed 2011-2013 Budget & Policy Highlights, Governor Chris Gregoire wrote:

[The budget] contains devastating reductions, but also major transformative ideas to prepare our state for a new fiscal reality. But the bottom line is that these cuts will impact people. The safety net will be stretched thin in some places and eliminated entirely in other places. For the functions that government no longer will be able to provide, we must turn to neighbors, private charities, faith-based organizations and other local programs. Our communities, more than ever, will be asked to step up.

Here's a link to the PDF: Proposed 2011-2013 Budget & Policy Highlights: Transforming Washington's Budget, Office of the Governor, December 2010, which includes chapters on Washington's Economic Outlook, the Governor's plan to Transform Washington's Budget, Proposed Budget Expenditures and the impact to:

  • Education,
  • Health, Human Services and Public Safety,
  • Natural Resources,
  • Transportation, Capital and Economic Development, 
  • and Government Efficiency.

Holidays about survival as jobless benefits end

If you read this morning’s Seattle Times’ article, “2 million lose jobless benefits as holidays arrive,” about the dire situation facing thousands of families across the nation as unemployment benefits run out this month—you may be wondering what the outlook is like here, in King and Snohomish counties.

Assuming Congress does not pass any further extensions, these are estimates from our local Employment Security Department and the Department of Social and Health Services: 

  • Total number who have already exhausted unemployment benefits: 7,000 (5,000 in King County, 2,000 in Snohomish County).
  • Estimated number who will likely exhaust benefits between now and April 30, 2011 (bulk will occur after December 1, 2010): 98,000 (70,000 in King County, 28,000 in Snohomish County).
  • Estimated number who will likely lose TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits: 2,000 (1,650 in King County, 350 in Snohomish County).

Before Congress adjourns in December, members will vote on three bills that will have a direct impact on women and families throughout the country: 

  1. Extending unemployment insurance 
  2. Federal funding for fiscal year 2011 
  3. An extension of tax cuts that are set to expire on January 1

If you want to use your voice, visit the YWCA USA Legislative Action Center to learn more and contact your member of Congress.

Seattle Times Story Highlights Housing Challenges

The article "Few rentals for freed felons" (published in the November 30 edition of the Seattle Times) discusses a proposed ordinance which would make it illegal for landlords to not rent/lease to a person based on a non-violent crime conviction. While the YWCA has not been party to the creation of this proposed ordinance, we do support efforts that remove barriers to empowerment for women and families. The story highlights the Landlord Liaison Project, managed by the YWCA.

YWCA Requesting Your Outreach to the King County Council

We are asking you to assist in outreach to the King County Council.  They need to hear from the YWCA this week!


The YWCA recognizes that King County is facing a significant funding shortfall in 2011. But is that a good enough reason to cut funding to programs that save lives and ultimately save money, too?


$200,000 of YWCA funding is slated be cut in these areas:

·         YWCA domestic violence services

·         Winter shelter at YWCA Angeline’s Center for Homeless Women

·         King County Jobs Initiative (78% job placement rate for women and men out of corrections)


Please email or phone the King County Council and urge them to invest in long-term dedicated funding and support for women and children in our community.


Use the following text as a sample email or script.


Here are links to the King County site for email addresses and phone numbers:

·         Email or call your council person  

·         OR  Testify online (note testimony is 300 words max)


Thank you.  


Snap To It For SNAP!

Please contact Washington’s Senators and your member of Congress and ask them to protect the YWCA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Traning (SNAP E&T).
YWCA SNAP E&T provides case management, job search assistance and support services for food assistance recipients. Last year alone, the YWCA helped 69 food assistance recipients find jobs and achieve self-sufficiency. 
There is a contract in place to provide these services through September 30, but the federal SNAP E&T funding agency recently reinterpreted program regulations in a manner which makes Washington’s program non-compliant, and intends to apply the new interpretation as of July 1--even though Washington’s plan (and the YWCA’s contract!) were previously approved through
September 30.
Applying the new interpretation now will interrupt services for clients currently participating in training programs. 

The YWCA and other community-based SNAP E&T providers have sent a letter to Washington’s Senators and Congressional Representatives of districts in King County to request their intervention with the federal funding agency. Your follow-up will encourage them to act on behalf of these important services!
If you live in the 8th Congressional District, your help will be particulary valuable as the YWCA is the only SNAP E&T provider in East King County. Congressman Reichert won’t hear about this issue if he doesn’t hear from us! 
Contact information is below.  Thank you for your support!

U.S. Senators:

Patty Murray: Seattle Office-- (206) 553-5545  (Email)

Maria Cantwell: Seattle Office-- 206-220-6400 (Email)

Representatives (by Congressional District):

1) Jay Inslee: Shoreline Office--(206) 361-0233 (Email)
2) Rick Larsen: Everett Office--(425) 252-3188 (Email)
7) Jim McDermott: Seattle Office--(206) 553-7170 (Email)
8) Dave Reichert: Mercer Island Office--(206) 275-3438 (Email)
9) Adam Smith: Tacoma Office-- (253) 593-6600 (Email)

State Senators (by District):

1)  Rosemary McAuliffe (
5)  Cheryl Pflug (
11) Margarita Prentice (
30) Tracey Eide (
31) Pam Roach (
32) Darlene Fairley (
33) Karen Keiser (
34) Joe McDermott (
36) Jeanne Kohl-Welles (
37) Adam Kline (
39) Val Stevens
41) Randy Gordon (
43) Ed Murray (
46) Ken Jacobsen (
48) Rodney Tom (

Dear Senators: Give Us A Budget Before It's Too Late!

To our faithful blog readers: 

Urge the Senate to agree on a revenue package and pass the budget as-is, and quickly!

If the Senate does not agree on a budget by this Friday, Governor Gregoire may cut state services across the board by 20%.  These cuts would disproportionately impact human services – which have already absorbed deep cuts – and therefore the women and families we serve. 

Across the board cuts affect human services disproportionately because programs like the YWCA's are funded largely from general revenues and are therefore considered "discretionary." Such cuts now threaten programs like GAU and the Housing Trust Fund you've helped us work hard to save this session.

Your Senator needs to hear from you. Cut and paste the following email and send it your Senator today (districts and email addresses follow).

You can also contact your Senator by phone.

Thank you for all of your support during this difficult and extended process!

Dear Senator:

Don’t let your hard work this session go to waste. Please pass the current budget!

If Governor Gregoire makes a 20% across the board cut to services, YWCA programs will suffer disproportionately. The YWCA and the women and families we serve have already absorbed significant budget cuts in response to the state’s financial situation.

Over the last two years, the YWCA has faced an overwhelming need from two counties and taken the challenge head-on. Since 2008, the number of people helped by the YWCA has increased 37%.

We’ve done our part—now we need you to do yours. Please pass the budget!

Senators in YWCA Seattle|King|Snohomish Districts:

1. Rosemary McAuliffe (

5. Cheryl Pflug (

10. Mary Margaret Haugen (

11. Margarita Prentice (

21. Paull Shin (

30. Tracey Eide (

31. Pam Roach (

32. Darlene Fairley (

33. Karen Keiser (

34. Joe McDermott (

36. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (

37. Adam Kline (

38. Jean Berkey (

39. Val Stevens (

41. Randy Gordon (

43. Ed Murray (

44. Steve Hobbs (

45. Eric Oemig (

46. Ken Jacobsen (

47. Claudia Kauffman (

49. Craig Pridemore (

 Not sure who to contact? Click here to find your district.

Disability Lifeline: Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

Due to your voices of support over the last few weeks and persistence by key state legislators, Governor Gregoire has signed into law the GAU replacement! Here's an update from the Associated Press:

OLYMPIA, Wash. —
Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law reforms to a state welfare program for people who are unemployed because of physical or mental disabilities.The program, called General Assistance for the Unemployable, is renamed "Disability Lifeline."

It will have a time limit of 24 months over any five-year period, although the limits expire in 2013. Recipients are now be required to participate in drug treatment, job services, or housing programs. Also, under the new reforms, people will have to accept housing vouchers instead of cash grants when suitable housing is available.

The program had been at risk of being eliminated as lawmakers try to balance a $2.8 billion budget deficit. Lawmakers say the changes will save about $25 million for the rest of the current budget cycle.