EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNS COUNCIL MINUTES
P.O. BOX 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662, July 12, 2016
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 Tony Copes.
OPENING PRAYER: Sandy Lewis provided the opening prayer.
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 24 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the June 14, 2016, meeting were approved as submitted.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: Board members are dividing up a list of current, past, and potential members for follow-up. They will be encouraging membership for those who have lapsed or have not yet joined and more active participation from representatives of current members where they are not currently active.
TREASURER’S REPORT: J.C. provided a financial report which was presented by Dick Jacke. Records indicate that we currently have $90,128.04 – $78,424.31 of which is dedicated to Backpack Meals and Congregations for Kids and the balance of which is unrestricted. J.C. also reminds everyone that he has volunteered as our interim treasurer, and that he is looking forward to being relieved by another volunteer treasurer! If you or someone you know might be willing to serve in this role, please let him know.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Farida Hakim, Sandy Henderson, Diane Richards, Trish Rogers, and Betty Spohn provided the food for today’s meeting.
Backpack Meals: Jan Starr was not present and had not provided a written report.
Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs reported that the drives will be starting in the next week or so. They are still accepting new congregations who might wish to participate. For unknown reasons, the number of kids signed up has dropped from a projected 1700 to a projected 1525 for the year ahead. Part of that may be due to a change in procedure for high school students – who were required to sign up themselves this year rather than being signed up by a parent (some high school students did not appreciate that their parents had signed them up for the program). That likely would not account for all of the difference, so they are investigating. For more information on the program, visit their website at www.congregations4kids.org.
Legislative Coordinator: Jean Harris reported that initiative campaign I-1515, which would repeal protections for transgender persons in our state, has failed to gather enough signatures to get on this year’s ballot. Initiative I-1491, which would limit the accessibility of firearms to the mentally ill on the initiative of family members or the police, collected more than enough signatures to get on the ballot. Support is urged for this measure. Endorsements from congregations and other organizations as well as individuals are welcomed. For more information, contact them at Emily@wagunresponsibility.org. A meeting is being planned to provide more social/emotional education in our schools. More information on this as available.
Emergency Services Fund/Hopelink: See spotlight below.
Kids 4 Peace: This project was started in 2002 by an Episcopal priest in Jerusalem. It tries to bring together Jewish, Christian, and Muslim youth in grades 6 through 12 to receive advocacy training and learn leadership skills with the goal of building peace. There are now 8 chapters across the US and some internationally. They are especially concerned to heal the social divisions between Israelis and Palestinians but also divisions more local and national. They will sponsor a Peace Camp for grades 6 through 8 in the Seattle area August 8 – 12 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral. This is an opportunity to practice skills to be Peace Leaders who stand up for equality, respect and understanding and work to make a difference in our community. They are looking for additional participants. They are also looking for groups or individuals who might be able to sponsor students for this program at $300 each. Cost is never a barrier to participants. There will also be some public events planned August 4 – 8. For more information, visit their website at k4p.org/summer2016.
Hopelink/Emergency Services Fund: Brittany Holmes wanted to put a human face on the people that they serve. She told the story of ‘Tami’ (not her real name) and her son who were recent clients. Tami had lost her job and could not get enough hours in new jobs to support them. They were living in her car, although her son continued to attend his school. When Tami got a new job and received notice that she would be eligible to receive a Section 8 voucher for housing, she was not able to afford the moving and move in costs. She was able to get move-in assistance from Hopelink for their first month’s rent. They are also receiving help from the Hopelink food bank.
Hopelink’s End Summer Hunger project for students out of school for the summer has started up, run through their food bank. They are also still processing applications for Federal grants for energy assistance – the new season starts in September. For more information on Hopelink and the Emergency Services Fund visit their website at www.hope-link.org.
PROGRAM: Community Response to Panhandling
Emily Leslie, City of Bellevue Human Services, Sara Baker, City of Kirkland Human Services, and Brooke Buckingham, City of Redmond Human Services spoke about what their cities were doing to address panhandling in their cities. Their efforts began with a meeting in Redmond which brought together human services departments and police chiefs to look at their community responses to panhandling. At the time, a proposed ordinance that would have posted signs around Redmond forbidding panhandling was pending. The group sought to reduce panhandling, protect the public safety, and determine what resources were available to those that were panhandling. That summer, with the help of Congregations for the Homeless, a survey was completed which looked at those issues. Sara conducted a survey of communities around the country as to how they were dealing with panhandling issues. They were hoping to develop a community-wide approach that could deal with the issue on a regional basis.
Based on their work, they began a pilot project with Congregations for the Homeless that put a full-time outreach worker/community educator on the job (your local cities know how to get in touch with the outreach worker if you have a referral). They have been trying to determine why people give to panhandlers and what it would take to get folks to donate to service providers that could address the needs of panhandlers. Sara passed out a survey for our members and invited their responses on several questions related to panhandling:
- Do you give to panhandlers? Why or why not?
- In your view, why do people panhandle?
- Is panhandling a problem on the Eastside?
- Should cities take steps to reduce panhandling? How would you feel if your city did?
- Should citizens take steps to reduce panhandling?If so, what?
- Questions or comments you have about panhandling?
There is hope that they can convince individuals to stop giving directly to panhandlers in favor of institutional support for the panhandlers. A task force meeting of approximately 100 people representing business, faith groups, and the community at large held last summer to look into the matter found that their primary criterion was safety of the community. The most popular approach suggested was a community engagement campaign. For more information on what is being done about this issue, visit the website at Redmond.gov/homelessness.
Elizabeth Maupin wanted to alert us to the launch of the MAPS-MCRC Community Clinic (in collaboration with the Rainier Valley Community Clinic), which will provide culturally competent healthcare for individuals and families who lack access to basic health services. They will provide continuous aid to low-income and underserved groups regardless of their ability to pay. The grand launch will be held on July 17. For more information, go tohttp://www.wherevent.com/detail/MCRC-Seattle-MAPS-MCRC-Community-Clinic.
Farida Hakim promoted the South Bellevue Neighbors Gathering on Saturday, July 16, from 3 to 6 pm, at the Orchard at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 4315 129th Pl SE, Bellevue. It is a barbeque with fixins provided. It’s a potluck, so bring a dish to share, your own beverages, and a blanket or chair. You will be invited to share a 3 minute story. Bring a non-perishable food item for the food drive, which will benefit Hopelink. Children are welcome, bring games! For more information, call 425-746-4848. RSVP at EVENTBRITE, search South Bellevue. See attached flyer.
Brian Anderson, our former EISCC Secretary, alerted us (through Dick Jacke) to performances of James Baldwin’s Blues for Mister Charlie, a searing response to the murders of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers that explores racial violence with honesty, music, dark humor, and compassion. The performances will be held at four different churches in Seattle during the first week of August. Although there is no charge, a donation of $25 is suggested. A conversation will follow each performance, moderated by members of the Wiilams Project (thewilliamsproject.org). See attached flyer
Karen Studders alerted us to a situation in Bellevue where current affordable housing units may be destroyed to make room for a new development, Highland Village. See the attached file for more information (available from secretary below.) She also provided us with a King5 link providing more background on the story: http://www.king5.com/news/local/redevelopment-plans-put-bellevue-families-in-limbo/271307673.
CLOSING: Tony Copes provided the closing prayer by Vaclav Havel.
THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 12:00 – 1:30 pm
PROGRAM: Congregations for the Homeless
LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE (ACROSS FROM NEWPORT HIGH SCHOOL)
Dick Jacke, EISCC Secretary