EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNS COUNCIL MINUTES
P.O. Box 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662
September 9, 2014
The meeting was held in Bristol Hall of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church beginning at 12:00 noon.
WELCOME: The meeting was called to order and conducted by EISCC President Warren Marquardson.
OPENING REFLECTION: Karen Mae Smith provided the opening meditation and prayer.
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 33 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the July 8, 2014, meeting were approved as submitted.
TREASURER’S REPORT: The Treasurer was not present at the meeting. Warren reminded our member organizations to forward their dues payments for the current year – if they have not already done so.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Many thanks to Sandy Lewis, Elizabeth Maupin, Hank Myers, Steve Roberts, and Betty Spohn for providing the day’s refreshments.
Nominating Committee: The committee put forward its slate for the Board. It has nominated
Diane Richards – President
Tony Copes – President-Elect
Warren Marquardson – Past President
Secretary – Dick Jacke
Treasurer – Kimberly Kibby
New, at-large board member – Linda Hillesheim
Continuing at-large board members are Steve Baber, Steve Roberts, and Anne St. Germain.
Candidate Forum: Warren reported that the Faith Action Network will be putting on a bi-partisan candidate forum on October 12 at 4 pm at 3030 Bellevue Way. They have asked us to be a co-sponsor of this event (no financial commitment required from us, and organizing is being done by FAN).
Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs was out of town, but she had reported to Warren that 1600 packs had been delivered to schools for the new school year.
Backpack Meals: Jan Starr was unable to attend our meeting, but she reported that the project is just gearing up for the new school year.
Legislative Coordinator: Jean Harris reported that the bill overturning Citizens United has advanced in the US Senate. Contact your senator if you would like to have input on this matter.
St. Madeleine Sophie: There was no spotlight presentation from St. Madeleine Sophie this month.
Eastside Friends: Anne St. Germain reported on the social justice activities of her congregation. They are a small but mighty group and very active on social justice causes. One of their current areas of activity is around prison and criminal justice issues. She pointed out that this particularly resonated with the Quakers, who were often imprisoned for their beliefs. Restorative justice is an important part of this work. They are also actively involved in working with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. They are also supporting the moratorium on the death penalty in our state.
The next big event at Eastside Friends will be their special program for the International Day of Peace on Sunday, September 21, 2014, at 7 pm (6:30 for dessert) at their local meeting house located at 4160 158th Ave SE in Bellevue. The program will be Building Peace in Our Communities: How Can Our Lives Speak. The event is open to the wider community. Parking for the disabled is available at the meeting house, but others should try to carpool – parking is very limited. They recommend that others park at the Sanctuary of Praise at 15800 Newport Way SE and take the shuttle which they will provide to the meeting house.
In the area of direct service, they have taken an active role in providing meals for Camp Unity and Tent City.
PROGRAM: Congregations for the Homeless (CfH)
Steve Roberts, the Executive Director for Congregations for the Homeless, opened what he billed their ‘annual presentation’ to EISCC. He provided some perspective on the history of the organization, which took off in 1993. At that time, the services that they provided were quite minimal: food and a place to sleep. In 2005, they added case management to their mix. That was followed by opening housing for those who were leaving the shelter and needed regular housing in which to transition. At present, they have 67 units, which allows CFH to provide services which take the men from life on the street eventually to permanent housing. To date, over 600 men have moved on from CfH to more stable lives in the wider community. Steve declared this ‘the best record in King County.’
Steve introduced the other members of their staff who were present:
David Johns Bowling, Deputy Executive Director
Stacey Witte, Director of Case Management/Housing and Volunteer Coordinator
Sterling Bentsen, Director of Housing
Katherine Jordan, Director of Advancement
David Johns Bowling reported that he has worked for CFH for 10 years now. He was pleased to report that the new Day Center that they have opened for men has been well received. The center provides showers and meals, bus tickets, referrals, and a place to hang out on week days. The work that they do there is relationship-based, connecting the men to themselves and the community.
Rather than just wait for men to come to them, they have begun some outreach efforts with two people – a male and a female – who share a 3/4 time position. They cover Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond.
The Sno-Valley Winter Shelter in North Bend handles 30-40 people – men, women, and children – the facility accommodates families. Many of the folks that visit the shelter come during the day, and not all stay for the night.
The main Winter Shelter in Bellevue has been running 7 years now. It is currently located at the Sound Transit building.
This year’s Winter shelter is expected to open November 1. They are always looking for people who can provide meals, blankets, and other supplies needed by the program. Visit the website at cfhomeless.org for a complete list.
This last year, CFH served between 750 and 800 unduplicated men, women, and children. In addition to meals and shelter, people were able to receive medical, dental, optical, and mental health services at the facility.
Stacey Witte shared the fact that over 50% of the men that they serve are actually employed. The program strives to make initial contact with the men in the year round shelter, provide case management, move them to subsidizedl housing, and finally into independence. The men often face multiple personal challenges. They design programs for individuals that they believe will help to lead them to success. They currently have 6 case managers.
Sterling Bentsen reported on the housing units that they make available with housing subsidies. They currently have over 67 units and are in the process of filling a new house now. The Velocity apartments at the South Kirkland Park and Ride will include a number of subsidized units.
In order to participate in the housing programs, men must first enter through the shelter program. In order to qualify for the housing, men must demonstrate that they have a steady income, are saving money, and that they have worked with a case manager to set personal goals. The men are expected to pay 30% of their gross income for rent. They are given credit for any court-ordered childcare. Case managers continue to work with the men after they move into this permanent housing.
The biggest challenges that they face in providing this housing is finding funds to finance the housing and finding housing units or apartments to rent.
Katherine Jordan reported that she was new to her position, having begun work on August 1. This is a new position for CFH, and it hopes to address the financial challenges that Sterling pointed out. She will be looking for grants and other sources of funding to help support the work of CFH. They are in the early stages of developing a permanent, year-round emergency shelter. They are also looking for new space for their Day Center, as the current space is in the recently sold First Congregational Church of Bellevue.
One way the folks can support this work is to attend their September 17 luncheon, at 11:30 am, at the Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue. She welcomes opportunities to reach out to and build connections with the many supporters of the organization. Let her know if your congregation would like a visit.
Tony Copes reported that Newport Presbyterian Church will screen the film Trigger: The Ripple Effects of Gun Violence on Wednesday, September 24, at 7 pm. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion. The church is located at 4010 120th SE in Bellevue.
Elizabeth Maupin reported that the Church Council of Greater Seattle would be holding a conference entitled Weaving Our Strengths on October 4, 2014, from 8 am to 4 pm.
Topics covered will include Church in the Neighborhood; Congregational Capacity Building; Civil Conversation; Worship, Arts, and Prayer; and Intergenerational Ministry and Justice. The event will be held at the University Congregational Church, 4515 16th Ave NE in Seattle. Advance registration is recommended. Group rates available.
Elizabeth also reported that the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness is planning a conference on the Criminalization of Homelessness. More information to follow.
Allen Bolen of Camp Unity wanted us to know that the group is looking for groups or individuals to help provide meals for their group. Their present meals calendar is looking far too empty. They currently serve approximately 60 meals each night. If you would like to help with this, you can contact Allen email@example.com or call 206-293-5901.
Chris Yager of the Camp Unity Board of Directors urged us to consider that the homeless are the most vulnerable and least connected and that it is unreasonable for homeless encampments to have to find their own next location. It was suggested that a more coordinated effort by the wider community would be very welcome.
She added that Holy Spirit Lutheran in Kirkland has offered to be the next site, but they must have a commitment from another host that will follow them. Because EISCC has so many connections with faith communities and service organizations, it was hoped that we might be able to assist in this effort. Is anyone willing to host or help? Please contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-286-5456.
Karen Studders reported that the King County would be taking feedback on their 20-year plan, including issues such as affordable housing. They would be looking at County Ordinances and their comprehensive plan. The meeting was to be held that night at the Bellevue Library from 4 – 7 pm. The plans for Eastside cities are all in play right now as well.
Karen also reported that there would be a series of programs on Restorative Justice at a variety of locations in Seattle from Friday, September 12, through Monday, September 15. She went on to note that 86% of King County’s budget goes to criminal justice. Restorative justice is not only more humane but has the capacity to reduce the criminal justice budget.
John Mitchell reported that Bellevue First Congregational Church and Open Gathering were co-sponsoring a night with Frank Schaeffer, author of Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God. The topic of the evening will be ‘religion’ or How to Give Love, Create Beauty, and Find Peace. The event will be held on Monday evening, September 22, at 7 pm, at the church which is located at 752 108th Ave NE, Bellevue.
Karen Mae Smith of Hero House announced their garage sale on Saturday, September 27, from 10 am to 2 pm. The event will support people recovering from mental illness to reclaim their lives. They will be accepting donations September 24 – 26 from 9 am to 5 pm. They are located at 14230 NE 21st St (at 140th) in Bellevue. Visit their website at www.herohouse.org for more information or call 425-614-1282.
Esperanza Barboa of the Eastside Legal Assistance Program reported on their upcoming lineup of workshops. On Thursday, September 18, from 1 – 2:30 pm, they will have a workshop on Immigration and Employment at Hopelink in Kirkland. Only one slot remains for this workshop. On Wednesday, October 22, from 3 – 4:45 pm, they will offer a workshop on Tenant Rights and Responsibilities at the Mercer Island Community Center. On Thursday, November 12, from 12 noon to 1 pm, they will have a workshop on Long Term Care and Estate Planning. For further information, contact Esperanza email@example.com.
Lance Latimer from the Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue invited help with their programs. In particular, they are looking for help with their Teen Feed, which is held every Thursday night from 5:30 to 7 pm, at their Lake Hills facility which is located at 15228 Lake Hills Blvd. in Bellevue. It serves teens 11 to 19 and provides at risk or homeless youth with a free hot and healthy three-course meal. They average about 65 – 70 young people each week, about 260 – 280 per month. They are looking for sponsors for this effort. If you would like to help or would like more information, you can contact Lance firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-429-3203.
Linda Hillesheim reported that a family fun event would be held at 21 Acres on Food, Water, and Bountiful Living. The event will be held on Saturday, September 27, 2014, from 10 am to 4 pm and will provide people with information on how to utilize small spaces to grow wonderful, fresh foods with little water. The system has potential for use in tent cities, homeless shelters, low-income housing, our own facilities as demonstrations and resources for food bank supplies. Growing healthy food this way can cut household expenses and contribute more to making rent and utility bills, possibly avoiding evicitions and a path to homelessness for our neighborhood families. Please consider attending or sending someone from your organization to learn from these experts. See attached flyer for more information or visit their website at 21acres.org for more information.
Suzanne Grogan provided information about the screening of Toxic Hot Seat, which will be shown at Northlake Unitarian Church, 308th Fourth St, in Kirkland on Friday evening, September 19, at 7 pm. The film highlights the struggle to get toxic chemicals out of products that we use, with special attention to flame retardant chemicals which have been linked to lower IQs in children, thyroid disease, infertility, cancer, and other health problems. Rebecca Sayre of the WA Toxics Coalitions will lead a discussion after the screening.
Jerry Hatfield reported that there would be a train the trainer event on the subject of human trafficking which would be held Wednesday, September 17, at 7 pm at the LDS building at 14536 Main Street in Bellevue. Jo Lembe of SharedHope will be the primary trainer. The program is designed to provide information on how to share knowledge with youth and others about the evils of human trafficking.
Anne St. Germain reported that the Eastside Friends will be hosting an interfaith event in recognition of the International Day of Peace on September 21, 2014. The event is co-sponsored by F.I.R.E..
Dick Jacke relayed a request from Norine Hill of Native Women in Need. She indicated that they are working with an Elder that needs a walker with a seat, and asked if we could publicize to our group. Several attendees at the meeting suggested that we refer her to Bridge Ministries, which should be able to help her out.
CLOSING REFLECTION: The meeting ended with a closing reading by J. C. Mitchell.
THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, October 14, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
PROGRAM: The Sophia Way.
LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE (ACROSS FROM NEWPORT HIGH SCHOOL)