Implementation Board: Helen Howell, Paula Carvalho, Simha Reddy, Gordon McHenry, Adrienne Quinn, John Chelminiak, Nate Caminos, Dr. Damien Pattenaude, Juanita Spotted Elk, and Harold Odom
Governing Committee: Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Jenny Durkan, Johnathan Hemphill, Kirk McClain, Zaneta Reid, Councilmember Regan Dunn, Councilmember Joe McDermott, Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, Councilmember Andrew Lewis, Mayor Nancy Backus, Mayor Angela Birney, and Councilmember Ed Prince
Implementation Board: Rev. Dr. Carey Anderson, Dr. Damien Pattenaude, and Professor Sara Rankin
Governing Committee: None
Background to Meeting
The King County Equity and Social Justice Strategy 2016 - 2022 Plan was co-created with employees and community partners. The Plan is a blueprint for action and change that guides the County’s pro-equity policy direction, decision-making, planning, operation and services, and their workplace practices in order to advance equity and social justice within County government and in partnership with communities. In developing the strategy, the County applied a theory of change that fundamentally shifts the County away from policies and practices that react to problems and crises toward investments that address the root causes of inequities, ultimately leading to better quality of life and greater prosperity in all King County communities.
Shared values of the strategy include:
. Inclusive and Collaborative - The County achieves better outcomes by engaging and including employees and communities early, continuously and meaningfully; it maximizes opportunities and its collective potential by breaking down silos, partnering and convening across government and organizations.
. Diverse and People Focused - The County represents the mosaic of its communities at all levels of the organization to innovate and better serve; nurtures respect and dignity by valuing every person’s leadership, strengths and assets.
The Lived Experience coalition wanted to ensure that the Theory of Change principles as discussed in the strategy were integral to the work of the KCRHA, and a special joint meeting of the KCHRA Governing Committee and Implementation Board was scheduled to discuss this. As stated on the website - The Theory of Change will be discussed during the meeting: If we create a homelessness response system that centers customer voice, then we will be able to focus on responding to needs and eliminating inequities, in order to end homelessness for all.
Welcome, Roll Call, and Agenda Overview
Attendance taken. Almost all of both Boards were present. Acknowledged the Duwamish tribe and that it is their land that Seattle sits on.
McClain shared some opening remarks, quoting Malcolm X - saying that when people get angry real change happens -- that McClain was not an angry person but angry at the conditions and that all needed to really apply themselves to make real change happen.
10:15 they acknowledged the earthquake drill but kept on with the meeting.
Public Comment was opened with two comments.
One commenter said they needed to really lean in to this transformational opportunity. Think differently.
Another commenter wanted to ensure certain funding in the budget this year for outreach through the urban league was included in next year’s budget. He did not see it in the current draft and said this was a mistake. He has been trying to get in touch with city council and other city government people to address this without any response, so he felt he had to address this forum to make them aware and asked for some response after the meeting.
Facilitated Dialogue: Centering Equity and the Theory of Change
McClain then said he was glad to be a part of this group. That all needed to learn from the past or they would be doomed to repeat mistakes. There are 14,000 approximately homeless in King County and we really need to follow the Theory of Change principles to be successful. The Lived Experience Coalition is unified and angry and is saying systems changes are needed.
Two guests (Dr Richards and Dr Perry) from the People’s Institute were present to assist with the discussion. The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond is a collective of anti-racist community organizers and educators committed to building an anti-racist movement. It is nationwide and has been in existence for 25 years.
Richards said they needed to focus on quality of humanity and being accountable to the homeless community.
Glen, who is Native American, was supposed to speak at the start of the meeting but due to technical difficulties, just joined in at this point to share. He said they referred to the homeless as unsheltered relatives as it was more humane. That all needed to deal with the spiritual as well as the mind and body. He sang a Native American song for all bringing a cultural experience to the meeting. Said he had great respect for all present and for what they are aiming to accomplish.
McClain said they needed to remember to put people over policy and process. There’s more here than just involving the brain - they needed to see the people and work with heart and spirit.
Perry and Richards wanted to hear from the people at the meeting what they thought the purpose/intention of the Authority was and asked for people to comment.
Reid cited 3 specific homeless people she knew and said with much emotion these are the reasons we are here. One was a female veteran, now wheelchair-bound, living out of a van for several years because her priority was to get a college education and in pursuing this did not qualify for assistance. This was one of three examples of how the current system failed people. Reid said we are supposed to center these people.
Odom said they needed to break down barriers, understand poverty. We let people sleep in doorways - how dare we!
Lewis said he had a sincere commitment to make progress on extreme poverty and inequality - to break down silos, tackle barriers, center experiences of people. He cited the Health One Team as a good example of trying to help the whole individual - although this is currently just a small program in pilot stage.
McHenry wanted to understand the gap the lived experience people are seeing in the Governing Committee and Implementation Board’s work. He wanted to know how they can all better align with the Theory of Change. He asked if this could be answered at some point, if not right now.
Richards reminded all that racism dehumanizes all people. That long ago it was our place of origin that defined us, not the color of our skin. That before all got to housing equity they needed to get to voice equity.
Chelminiak said he was expecting a training session on racial disparity, which he felt they were starting to get to now.
Howell said she was expecting a training session as well - then received the government document on the theory of change so was a bit confused as to what to expect at the meeting.
Carvalho was expecting some type of training but believed they needed some type of foundation training. She did not want to rebuild the same system which was disempowering to the BIPOC communities.
Richards wanted to know who had gone through the racial training session they offered. It is a 2 day normally (3 day on zoom) session that unravels racism. She said this could not be accomplished in a two hour meeting. About a dozen or a bit less folks had already completed this training.
With forty minutes left in the meeting she suggested they can share what it means to create a space for antiracist organizing principles. She also said Perry and herself would be happy to offer the 2-3 day training if they desired it. What they have found to be effective is:
She spoke about a network vs. an entanglement. A network works together to get things done and entanglement does not get anything done. They needed to fight 1. internalized racial oppression (victim) and 2. Internalized superiority (savior complex) as this results in a co-dependent entanglement.
Hemphill spoke to a very specific example where he is on the subcommittee to define the CEO profile. He wants to give the CEO authority to establish permanent supportive housing if it is so deemed necessary, and others disagree. He felt this was racism because who is out on the street?
Perry said that how you define a problem or situation will also define how you address it.
They needed to focus on what the root cause of homelessness was.
Richards said it was good to have lived experience at the table but did the table itself have to change in some way(s)? (i.e. Roberts Rules). These are protocols that some have been following but not all at the table. Is this helpful or not?
If looking for equity it comes at several levels -
2. Policy, program and procedure (reform)
3. Organizational culture and structure (true nature of our relationship with homeless)
4. Vision and mission (do you believe you can become antiracist?)
McClain thanked Perry and Richards.
Hemphill said that the 200+ lived coalition is centered and grounded around the homeless people in the area and they do have relationships with homeless people.
Richards said that everyone present had lived experience and is having living experiences as we speak. All should look at this as a way to connect.
Odom invited anyone that is interested to come to the outreach they have on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The meeting was adjourned.
Members present: Helen Howell, Paula Carvalho, Simha Reddy, Gordon McHenry, Adrienne Quinn, John Chelminiak, Nate Caminos, Dr. Damien Pattenaude, Harold Odom, and Professor Sarah Rankin
Members absent: Rev. Dr. Carey Anderson and Juanita Spotted Elk
Welcome and Settling In
Jason Johnson (Director of Human Services Seattle) was the facilitator. He acknowledged the indigenous history of the lands they were meeting on - he from Denver, much of the Board from Seattle, one from Idaho.
Meeting started on time. Attendance taken - all present except for two folks, Carey Anderson and Juanita Spotted Elk. When attendance taken each answered whether they were an introvert, extrovert or some combination of both. This was done to help build relationship, understanding between the Board.
A representative from the Hawkins Group gave an update on the CEO process. In the last eight weeks they have met with the stakeholders - this Board, the Governing Committee, etc. and have put together two documents. The first is a position profile to be used in recruiting and the second is a screening document to be used in assessing candidates. This should have been completed by Oct 12 but is being completed by Oct 15. At this point the actual search for the CEO will begin.
Reddy wanted to know what themes for the position came through. Four key things were mentioned:
1. The person has experience launching a new organization or working with a new organization the size of 50- 100 people.
2. The person is comfortable working in a complex political environment.
3. The person has a passion for the work, is an advocate for the vision.
4. The person have a degree of financial fluency.
Adrienne wanted to know a bit about how the recruiting was going to happen. The Hawkins Group would not keep their search to just those within homelessness work positions. Focus was more on the core skill set accompanied by the heart/passion for the work. They asked the Board as well as other stakeholders to please put forth names they felt should be considered and they will be looking nationwide for candidates.
RHA Staff Update
Next up was an update from a staff member, Leo Flor, on two subjects.
First, the Advisory Board names were to be brought forward at this meeting, but it is on hold until the next meeting because they have to verify something in the charter.
Second, the temporary staffing recommendation had to be discussed and approved/not approved. The CEO needs to have some temporary budget for the hiring of some initial positions within the first five months of his/her hire. This gives the CEO funding for these few positions.
Reddy wanted to know if the five positions mentioned are fixed, and the answer was no. This was just a suggestion to put together a budget for approval purposes.
Odom said that the hiring needed to be equity-based and based on the Theory of Change. Flor said that this was in their hands as the Implementation Board to direct the CEO to hire in this manner. Also Odom felt it important to hire an ombudsman at the start.
Chelminiak wanted to know if this included salaries and benefits, what size organization was being considered and how many months did the budget cover. The salaries and benefits covered approximately five positions for five months. The size of the organization long-term is open but was expected to be around 60 or so.
Quinn reiterated Odom’s point about the importance of hiring an ombudsman as one of the first hires.
A vote was put forth to approve the temporary staffing/budget recommendation with the priority to hire an ombudsman as one of the first hires. It was approved unanimously.
The meeting was opened to public comment for ten minutes. There was one public comment - again from a man who spoke at the last meeting saying that the regional committees feel disconnected from the Implementation Board. They have no idea what is going on. The regional committees are out on the front lines dealing with COVID-19, winter shelter, and vehicle homelessness and need to be brought in the loop as to what the Implementation Board is doing. There was discussion from the Board with this public person for ten minutes as there was no other public comment. All agreed the Board needed to be accountable to the Public. They will determine the best way to communicate out to these groups - maybe with some formal monthly communication. There needs to be ongoing dialog back and forth. Trust dissipates quickly without connection and the Board needs to be wary of this.
RHA Implementation Board Chairs
Next on the agenda was the structure for the Implementation Board - a subject continuing from the last meeting. Should they have co-chairs, vice chairs, etc. It was agreed that they should have two co-chairs, with at least one having lived experience. The rest of the executive set up - whether they would have vice chairs, a secretary, treasurer, etc would be decided at a later date. The vote was unanimous for the two co chairs. The staff will ask all Board members if they are interested in a co-chair role and these names will be presented at the next meeting.
The next meeting of the Implementation Board is being rescheduled due to Veterans Day. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 10 from 4 - 5:30.
An additional meeting is being held with the Governing Committee on Thursday, Oct 15 from 10 - 12. The subject of this meeting is a facilitated dialogue about centering equity and the Theory of Change in the work that these groups are doing. This references the Theory of Change created by community and adopted by the King County Continuum of Care board last year. The Theory of Change will be discussed during Thursday’s meeting: If we create a homelessness response system that centers customer voice, then we will be able to focus on responding to needs and eliminating inequities, in order to end homelessness for all.