In this issue:
Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) provides low-income and affordable housing in multiple locations across Seattle.
In early 2015, Resident Services Manager Elliot Swanson reached out to Solid Ground for resources to support residents who were late with or struggling to pay their rent. Solid Ground was happy to bring our Tenant Services’ Rent Smart and Financial Fitness Boot Camp workshops to CHH to give residents some tools to be more successful renters. And as an incentive, residents who completed the two-part training could have late fees waived and receive one-time rental assistance through a CHH grant.
Elliot says, “We have a lot of residents with varied incomes, but there’s poor financial literacy across the board. We want to see our tenants succeed in their housing, including paying rent on time and not getting late fees.” He says combining financial skills with tenant rights information – such as what to do when moving out, and how to appropriately communicate with landlords – has “been a fantastic resource for us.”
Michelle (see post ‘Everything happens for a reason’) is one resident who gained a lot from this partnership. When she lost her job and found herself struggling to pay her rent, she had a lot of questions. “Do I really have to go back to a shelter? Is there something we can work with?”
She says she went to the workshop for “clarification on what my rights were as a tenant, and where could I go. If I’m late with rent, what happens? If I pay and they deny it, what happens? What steps need to be taken? I needed to know legally what I could do, and what Capitol Hill Housing could do.” Rent Smart gave Michelle a wealth of information on tenants’ rights and landlord/tenant law, which she says was “extremely helpful.”
As for the financial fitness segment, Michelle says, “It helped me be realistic as far as creating a budget – what I can and can’t do financially. I know how much money I had coming in, but I was in a fantasy land on my output.” After the workshop, “I used my debit card for a solid month on everything. Tracking it that way made me shift some things around. So that was very beneficial, [seeing] where my money is going.”
Elliot reports that 62 people took the joint workshops in 2015, and residents have great things to say about it. Several even made followup appointments with Financial Fitness Coach Judy Poston. Solid Ground looks forward to an ongoing partnership with Capitol Hill Housing to help prevent eviction and foster successful tenancies! •
Poverty Action’s Service Learning Interns, Arica Kincheloe & Mallory Van Abbema
Solid Ground’s advocacy program, Statewide Poverty Action Network, has a small staff and a daunting workload – especially during legislative sessions – so University of Washington Social Work Service Learning students’ support with community organizing efforts is a big help. Arica and Mallory, juniors at UW, say they jumped at the chance to do their service learning with Poverty Action, in part because they both experienced poverty growing up.
“This is a great opportunity to get introduced to policy development, and the diverse effects that poverty has on a wide range of people from all backgrounds,” Mallory says. “Participating in the phone bank was incredibly moving. We saw the momentum of citizens coming together and recognizing the power that each person has.”
Arica agrees: “I’m really interested in grassroots and policy work. MLK Day was really impactful – to see the power of people being drawn together by similar causes, and mobilizing themselves to get their voices heard. It’s beautiful to see the impact individuals have on the broader system.” Thanks for your commitment, Arica and Mallory! •
Thank Yous & Kudos
Statewide Poverty Action Network’s MLK Lobby Day brought hundreds of community activists to Olympia – many living on low incomes – to talk to their legislators about issues impacting their lives. Thanks to Alderwood Middle School, I Did the Time, La Casa Hogar, Mercy Housing’s Appian Way Apartments, Seattle University, St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Solid Ground Transportation and Sand Point Housing teams for bringing passionate activists and providing the logistical support needed to make 2016’s Lobby Day so successful!
As Lettuce Link gears up for the new growing season at our farms, we thank Bellevue Nursery, Bertschi School, Burpee, City People’s Mercantile, Good Seed Company, High Mowing Seed Company, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Molbak’s Garden + Home, One Equal Heart Foundation, Open Window School, Park Seed, PCC Natural Markets, St. John Catholic School, Seattle Seed Company, Seattle Works, Sky Nursery, Swansons Nursery, Urban Earth, Wells Medina Nursery and Wight’s Home & Garden for donations, volunteering and support of food justice for all!
Our Broadview Emergency Shelter & Transitional Housing thanks the Bellevue Club, Operation School Bell, Pongo Teen Writing, Rogue & Co. Hair Products, Sammamish High School, School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts (SANCA), Seattle Athletic Club, Seattle Gymnastics Academy of Columbia City, Sensa Salon and Sylvia’s Swimwear in Bellevue!
Hats off to Seattle Waldorf High School students for cleanup work on our Sand Point Housing campus, and to Magnuson Park Community Center for their continued dedication to Sand Point kids. And many thanks to the Assistance League for school clothes for students living at Sand Point and Broadview, as well as to SHAG (Senior Housing Assistance Group), Rick’s Toys For Kids and University of Washington Medical Center Urogynecology Clinic Staff for holiday gifts.
We love PCC Natural Markets for partnering with our Apple Corps Family Farmer’s Market Nights, which teach nutrition and food justice at Concord International Elementary, Leschi Elementary, Maple Elementary and Emerson Elementary schools.
We are grateful to AmazonSmile Foundation, American Legion Auxiliary, Amgen Foundation, Assumption Catholic Church, The Bradley Family Foundation, Brettler Family Foundation, The CoHo Team of Windermere Agents, Holy Rosary Parish, Northwest Area Foundation, Oak Creek Foundation, Seattle Metro Chapter of Women’s Council of Realtors and Wyncote Foundation NW for their generous support of Solid Ground.
And finally, grazie mille to Tutta Bella for making Solid Ground their Wallingford location’s preferred community partner for three years running! •
Save These Dates!
Building Community Luncheon – Thursday April 7, noon – 1:30pm: Help create LASTING IMPACT! Join us at the Sheraton Seattle (1400 6th Ave, 98101) to celebrate the courage to stand up for what’s right and invest in a better future for our community. Political comedian Hari Kondabolu will discuss the role of humor in social justice work. For more information or to register for the event, visit solid-ground.org/events/building-community-luncheon!
GiveBIG – Tuesday May 3 (one day only!): Another great opportunity to make a lasting impact with Solid Ground! Visit www.seattlefoundation.org on Tuesday May 3 and designate your gift to Solid Ground. •
Our New Website!
Solid Ground’s new website reflects our top priorities to make the site easier to navigate and more engaging for our primary audiences: people seeking services and resources, and people looking for ways to get involved.
If you’re reading this now, you’re already there – because we’ve pulled our Groundviews blog into the site – and it’s now mobile-friendly and responsive on different devices. Check it out at www.solid-ground.org on your phone, tablet or PC!
When you’re looking for housing, food, transportation and other stability services, the last thing you need is to go down a rabbit hole of information about resources you can’t access. Our new site focuses on the housing, food, financial skills, transportation and other resources a person can access directly, with referrals to commonly requested emergency resources outside our scope of services.
Whether you want to find out about donating, volunteering, events, advocacy actions, job openings or setting up a field trip at one of our urban farms, our new site outlines these opportunities. And our enhanced Ways to Give section not only explains WHY investing in Solid Ground is a powerful choice, it also offers clear information about how to arrange monthly, planned, in-kind and other types of gifts.
Our new site offers detailed information about the impact our work makes in the areas of Race & Social Justice, Advocacy, Housing & Homelessness, Hunger & Nutrition, Transportation and more – all of which helps people move out of poverty and builds stronger communities.
We welcome your feedback on our new website! Please direct it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. •