Be an informed voter! Seattle City Council Candidates Forum, 9/24

This Thursday, September 24 from 5:30-8pm, the 18 candidates running for Seattle City Council positions will address pressing local issues at the 2015 Seattle Human Services Candidates Forum. The event takes place at Garfield Community Center.

Be an informed voter, attend the Candidates Forum on Th.

Find out where your candidates stand at the Candidates Forum.

This year, all nine positions are up for election. However, resulting from a decision passed by Seattle voters in 2013, seven councilmembers will be chosen for 4-year terms based on their district. The two remaining positions will be at-large representatives, serving 2-year terms.

This is the first time Seattle has elected councilmembers by district. With each member representing a smaller, more specific area, the hope is that they will interact more directly with their constituents and be able to address each community’s unique needs.

The Seattle Human Services Coalition provided each candidate with eight questions addressing affordable housing, homelessness, food availability, disabilities services, domestic violence, and more. The candidates’ prepared answers to these questions are available online. Additional questions will be presented at the forum.

The forum will be divided into two rounds, with candidates from four districts answering questions first, and the remaining five districts represented in the second round. Halfway through, all the candidates will participate in a “lightning round,” answering questions quickly with “yes,” “no” or “waffle.” Due to time constraints, there will not be an opportunity for audience members to pose their own questions.

Don’t miss this chance to learn about your district’s candidates, and prepare to make an informed vote that will benefit your community.

Sand Point’s Got Talent! A joyful noise

What do you get when you combine the following ingredients: a balmy summer evening, live music, about 25 kids dancing as if no one was watching, watermelon, cupcakes and a talent show? A delicious recipe for BIG fun!

800 Watts of Bass

800 Watts of Bass

Residents and staff of Solid Ground’s Sand Point Housing (SPH) campus came together last week for a unique event: the first performance of the jazz fusion band 800 Watts of Bass – fronted by bassist and SPH resident Luke Jackson – followed by a talent show for anyone brave enough to step up and share. Let it be known: SPH residents stepped UP!

When the band first started, the mood was pretty mellow. A handful of families and teens trickled in. Little girls in princess outfits (later dubbed the “Let It Go” girls) giggled and huddled together on a blanket. Moms and siblings with babies in strollers found spots on the lawn. But as soon as the band started grooving, the Let It Go girls did just that, leaping into joyful dancing which hardly stopped all evening.

The Let It Go Girls letting it go

The Let It Go Girls letting it go

Luke says his mom got him into music as a kid, and it kept him out of trouble and gave him a positive community to be part of. He’s played in various bands over the years but had to stop performing about three years ago when his kidneys began to fail. He’s still in dialysis three times a week and on a transplant waiting list, but thanks to regular exercise, his energy has returned enough to allow him to pick up his passion again and start gigging. His current goal is to complete an album by 2016.

Luke says, “I loved seeing the kids come out; it was basically for the kids. Music doesn’t have an age on it.” With a beaming smile, Jasmine Johnson danced with her two girls, Kenya and Niylah – and then with any other kids who got drawn into her circle of energy.

The band played for about an hour, and then the true joy exploded when about 10 resident kids and youth – and a few adults – put their talents out into the world. From drumming to poetry readings to solo and group songs (cue the Let It Go girls) to dancing to gymnastics to lip syncing, the night was filled with laughter and support and parental pride.

There was real budding talent on display. Niylah owned the mic as she belted out The Greatest Love of All. Kids who initially hesitated to start their acts were bolstered by supportive cheers from the crowd and soon dropped any sign of nervousness. Even some adults got into the act: Resident Joy Sparks moved seamlessly from cuddling her infant to rocking out, surrounded by a cheering crowd of devoted young dancers.

For me, trying to be a fly on the wall and soak it all in, I was in awe of the community Sand Point Housing residents have created for themselves. And when the program officially ended, the fun didn’t stop: Jasmine says, “We danced and danced, and then when the talent show ended, we danced some more.” It was a magical, joy-filled night we’ll remember for a long time.

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West Seattle Garden Tour: Beautiful gardens support important causes

Garden lovers, save the date! This Sunday, July 19 from 9am to 5am, the West Seattle Garden Tour will offer a day-long opportunity to tour some beautiful gardens in the West Seattle neighborhood: a feast for the senses, and inspiration for creating your own garden havens.


Started in 1995 as a fundraiser for ArtsWest, the West Seattle Garden Tour has evolved into an annual fundraising event for Seattle-based community gardens and other nonprofits that promote horticulture, education or the arts. Solid Ground’s Lettuce Link program was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of seven 2015 beneficiaries.  Lettuce Link’s focus on sustainable food production and nutrition education earned it a spot on this year’s beneficiary list.

The 2015 tour will consist of nine gardens all chosen to illustrate the essential elements of gardening utility and aesthetics. This year, Lunch Lecture Guest Speaker Phil Wood will draw on his experiences as an award-winning garden designer and a nationally published garden writer to share the characteristics of successful gardens.


Remember, the tour’s turnout decides the funds awarded to the nonprofits, so there’s never been a more important time to stop and smell the roses! Tickets books are $20 and can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets or any of the following retail locations:

For more information, email

We have a lot to be proud of: Seattle Pride 2015

 This post was contributed by Lara Sim, Senior Public Policy Campaign Manager, Statewide Poverty Action Network and Debbie Carlsen, Executive Director, LGBTQ Allyship.

Anchored in the iconic Seattle Pride Parade along 4th Avenue, this year’s Seattle Pride showcased the dynamic community in which we live. Following our victories for marriage equality in Washington state, dismantling the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and advances in transgender rights in Washington, the events this year had a certain electric element.

Dominating the celebration was the jubilant feeling that accompanied Friday morning’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on Marriage Equality: It is now legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry the people they love. The decision is a historic victory for LGBTQ rights activists who have fought for years in the lower courts. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia already recognize marriage equality. The remaining 13 states had banned these unions, even as public support has reached record levels nationwide. What a victory for equity and human dignity!


Pride parades began as a result of years of repression by the government. This year’s 41st Seattle Pride celebrated the progress we have made in equality and social justice and put a spotlight on the work still ahead of us. That work includes addressing barriers, such as laws on the books that still legalize discrimination.

In his welcome, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray shared some harrowing numbers and reminded us that “in 76 countries, it is still illegal to be LGBTQ and in 10 countries, the punishment is life in prison or death. We know these laws are on the wrong side of history.” During Pride and beyond, we saw our community and our allies come together to make the call for equality and non-discrimination. At Pride, this was the call to action, and we intend to take up the mantle.

The parade itself was humid, rowdy and loud. And it was filled with glitter and love. Over 200 groups pranced, waved and blew kisses from Union StPrideBeadsreet to Denny Way. We found the 2½ hours of revelry grounded in respect, courage and commitment. Organizers reminded us that Seattle’s Pride Parade is one of the top five parades in the country and that the head count was upwards of a half a million people! As the parade wound down, the crowd made its way to the Seattle Center. To see so many rolling around in the International Fountain after the drizzle of rain earlier in the morning was the perfect blend of silly, celebratory and quintessential Seattle.

Alongside all the merriment, State Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu reminded us the fight isn’t over. From her published bio, Justice Yu is the state’s first out lesbian Justice, the first Asian-American Justice, the first Latina Justice, and the 11th woman to ever serve on the Washington Supreme Court. She prompted us to get involved:

For so many of us, acceptance and subsequent success came from an adult or mentor who reached out during a critical time in our lives. You too can be that beacon of hope or voice of comfort for a young person struggling through one of their toughest periods of life. Together we can assist and empower our youth to embrace their identity as they strive for self-sufficiency.”

She is right, of course: The fight isn’t over. For 40 years, in the long arc of struggle for acceptance, we see history changing at breakneck speed. As more LGBTQ individuals pick up the mantle of advocacy, they will help create a world our community never dreamed possible.

Building Community Luncheon was ‘bleeping awesome!’

On Friday April 10, Solid Ground had our most profitable Building Community Luncheon ever: We grossed $290,000 – as much revenue as last year, but with 500 fewer people in the room – and our net income was MUCH higher! We think it’s because people really resonated with our theme, If you want to end poverty, work for JUSTICE!, highlighted here in the Luncheon video:

Justice is, of course, both political and personal. As our President & CEO, Gordon McHenry, Jr. told the assembled:

Today, we are here because we are concerned about justice. I remember being concerned about justice as a young boy. It was in the mid-’60s when I was 6 or 7 years old, walking with my family in the small, segregated town of Terrell, Texas, where my mother was born and raised. It was an uneventful stroll until my parents stepped into the street, because there were some white people coming toward us. Even then blacks in the south yielded the sidewalk to whites.

“A few months ago, I was reminded that some troubling aspects of our society haven’t changed in 50 years. It was after Ferguson, and this time I was walking in the streets of Capitol Hill as part of a small but loud protest march. When we approached the East Precinct, our Seattle police surrounded us with a show of force far vastly outnumbering the protesters.

“Mistrust, Anger, Fear, Misunderstanding, and Conflict. We can all recall such powerful feelings. They are the feelings and experiences that come when you realize you are trapped by injustice. Sadly, it’s a near universal experience for people of color in our country.

“And YET there is the transformational experience of being part of powerful actions and mass movements for justice. The thrill of chanting and believing that our very presence will make a difference.

“What do we want? JUSTICE! When do we want it? NOW!

“Whether you marched for an end to the Iraq wars, rallied to demand
$15 Now, joined hands around an old growth tree, OR packed council chambers with angry residents in wheelchairs (something Solid Ground did in the early 80s to help secure the future of ACCESS transportation), most of us have had that experience. You know that feeling of coming together as MORE than a group of people, but as a FORCE for right, a FORCE for justice.”

Kathya Alexander, the Seattle Storyteller, who worked with us on 40th Anniversary activities last year, contributed and performed a riveting story about the civil rights movement. You can read some of her stories on her Seattle Storyteller website.

Grammy Award winning "Thrift Shop" vocalist Wanz singing "I Will"

Wanz wows attendees at Solid Ground’s Building Community Luncheon

And when keynote speaker Jessica Williams of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart had to cancel due to ill health, local Grammy Award-winning singer and Solid Ground supporter Wanz stepped in at the last minute as our surprise guest star. As Gordon mentioned in introducing him, “Talk about making lemonade out of lemons: ‘This is bleeping awesome!’ ” (a reference to Wanz’ signature riff on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hit track, Thrift Shop).

Wanz’ inspirational song I Will was a great addition to the program, focusing on the importance of community, especially in troubling times. We encourage you to follow Wanz on social media:

If you were at the event: Thank you for making it such a special occasion! If you missed out but would like to make a gift to make the event even more successful, please go to our online donation page. Thanks!!


The Boeing Company | DCG ONE | HomeStreet Bank | Microsoft | Safeco Insurance


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | Marguerite Casey Foundation | Real Change | REI | Seattle Children’s | Sprague Israel Giles, Inc. | Washington Dental Service Foundation | Whole Foods Market

Food Justice: What does it mean to learn it, grow it, live it?

PrintFor some, Chefs Night Out has been a longstanding tradition of food, fun and fundraising. Local food and wine enthusiasts gather for a cocktail hour, auction, and a much anticipated dinner prepared tableside by one of 10 locally celebrated chefs featured at the event. This year the celebration continues on November 16 at the beautiful Seattle Design Center in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle.

In addition to having the opportunity to savor a gourmet four-course meal with fine wine pairings, attendees partaking in these festivities also get to do so while contributing to a cause that challenges the root causes of hunger. All proceeds from the event go toward Solid Ground’s work to achieve food justice through the Hunger & Food Resources department and its subsidiary programs. But this year is a little different; the focus is not only on food justice, it’s also on the development of food justice as a living mantra for the local community. A mantra built on the tenets of learning it, growing it, and living it.

The Apple Corps program, a team of National Service members dedicated to nutrition education, works within local schools to combine standard subjects like math, science, literacy and art with cooking, wellness and physical activity. Gerald Wright, Hunger & Food Resources Director at Solid Ground, firmly believes that nutritional knowledge is power:

Apple Corps 2008The whole idea around nutrition education is that if we can really train children from an early age in all aspects of healthy eating, in understanding the value and benefit of eating balanced, nutritional meals, if we can help children at that young age really start to fall in love with healthy foods – taste it, experience it, and see that it’s good – that enables them to start making healthier choices. That is supportive of food justice.”

Developing an urban farm in a rapidly sprawling city like Seattle can be difficult. But the Lettuce Link program, which has been gardening and giving since 1988, is still going strong. By cooperatively operating two lively farms with their adjacent communities and collaborating with over 64 P-Patch community gardens and 18 other giving gardens, Lettuce Link manages to donate an average of 50,000 pounds of produce per year to those who need it! Marra Farm’s ¾-acre Giving Garden utilizes the dwindling farming space in Seattle and encourages folks in the South Park neighborhood to invest in growing organic food and the environment around them. Seattle Community Farm‘s repurposed sliver of land in the Rainier Vista housing community is also open to local residents and volunteers, with produce going to the Rainier Valley Food Bank and neighborhood residents with lower incomes.

Lettuce Link 1988“Lettuce Link is all about being a community place where people can not only come and learn about growing food, but they can actually experience it,” Gerald says.

The program aims to offer experiential knowledge and hands-on learning as a means of informing and encouraging the local community to grow its own food. The objective is to offer people the tools needed to ensure that price and availability don’t become the barrier to choosing fresh and healthy options. By showing people that you can grow your own food with a little bit of space and some water, that’s putting control over access and quality back into the hands of the folks who need it most. With all of the opportunities that Lettuce Link offers to stay connected to the food we eat by learning how to grow it, this element is a critical cornerstone of food justice.


Eating is necessary to sustain life. Cooking, however, is not – and not everyone has equal access to the knowledge or skills to cook the vegetables they’ve been told are good for them.

Cooking Matters 1994 (by John Bolivar)

Photo by John Bolivar

Maybe people have a concept of what constitutes healthy eating. Someone goes to the doctor and their doctor tells them to go on a low-sodium diet. But they may not know how to cook foods within their new diet. We want people to be in a position of power over their eating. Knowing vegetables are healthy is different from knowing how to cook them,” offers Gerald.

This is where the Cooking Matters program comes into play. With generous in-kind donations from Charlie’s Produce and Whole Foods Market, Cooking Matters students (from kindergartners to seniors) attend hands-on cooking lessons and receive take-home groceries to continue cooking healthy recipes at home. Participants also receive food and nutrition expertise from community volunteer chefs, nutritionists and class assistants. Because “it’s not enough just to know what is nutritious and how to grow it, but also how to cook it,” Gerald says.

We’re turning the page on a community exercising the right to know, grow and eat healthy and culturally relevant foods. And while shopping, weeding or cooking can seem like laborious tasks, they empower individuals to make healthy and sustainable choices that feed their bodies and their communities.


Voices of Community celebrates Solid Ground’s roots

Forty years ago this season, Solid Ground’s forefathers and foremothers came together dedicated to a singular mission: They would lift up the depressed neighborhood of Fremont, building community through art, activism and a wildly positive attitude. The fruits of their labor are visible in the art-saturated Fremont community of the 21st Century; in the thriving culture of recycling started by the early Fremont Public Association (FPA); and in the legacy of good works strewn across King County in fighting poverty and oppressions.

This legacy was built not only by the FPA and Solid Ground, but also via the groups and organizations that have spun off from us: Fremont Arts Council, Seattle Workers Center, Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), Economic Opportunity Institute, our Broadview Shelter & Transitional Housing, our Giving Garden at Marra Farm, our Sand Point Housing campus, and countless others.

On Thursday May 8, founders, friends, current staff, volunteers and program participants came together at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center (located in the neighborhood now known as the “Center of the Universe“!) to rekindle our founding impulse through story, socializing and celebration.

Some of the highlights are captured in these video clips of stories told by Armen Napoleon Stepanian – the honorary but official Mayor of Fremont, self-declared Christopher Columbus of Curbside Recycling, and legendary political rabble-rouser – and Frank Chopp, for many years the irrepressible Executive Director of FPA, now Senior Advisor to Solid Ground, and Speaker of the Washington State House of Representatives. More clips will be posted on this blog soon. Enjoy the power and the passion (and sorry for the compromised audio; we’ve got subtitles to help you along!)


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It was 40 years ago…

Come meet founders, myths and urban legends at:

VOICES of COMMUNITY, Thursday May 8, 7-9pm
The Fremont Abbey Arts Center (4272 Fremont Ave N)

Hear from the horse’s mouth, or at least from the dog on Waiting for the Interurban, about  40+ years of innovation, partnership, hell-raising and action to end poverty.

Thanks to Fremont Brewing Company for creating a special 40th Anniversary Ale that will be on sale!

Sgt. Pepper cover with FPA faces


We’re dreaming BIG… GiveBIG to Solid Ground TODAY!


This year, Solid Ground is dreaming BIG.
Join us in investing in our dream of a world beyond poverty!


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40 years ago, Solid Ground was founded by a small group of individuals who dreamed of alleviating hunger and homelessness in their community. Today, through the incredible support of people like you, we’ve pooled our time, treasure and dreams to create innovative and responsive solutions to poverty.

When you giveBIG, you dream BIG.

Visit TODAY (May 6, 2014) to give to Solid Ground. A portion of your gift will be matched via The Seattle Foundation’s gift pool. Your gift is more than just a donation – it’s investing in dreams of a world beyond poverty. Together we can turn these dreams into reality.

40th Anniversary Building Community Luncheon with keynote speaker Spike Lee, 4/4/14

Keynote speaker: Spike Lee, film director, producer, writer & actor

Keynote speaker: Spike Lee, film director, producer, writer & actor

Join us for Solid Ground’s 40th Anniversary Building Community Luncheon on Friday, April 4, 2014 from noon–1:30pm. This year, we’re honored to host Spike Lee as keynote speaker. With a body of work that spans four decades, he has written, produced, directed and acted in countless films that illuminate the impacts of racism in our country.

As one of the most outspoken African-American voices, he talks candidly, and with authority, about issues of race in mainstream media and Hollywood, using as a backdrop a rare behind-the-scenes look at his celebrated body of work.

And as an organization working to undo racism and other oppressions that are root causes of poverty, Solid Ground is pleased to bring such an influential person in the conversations about race and social justice to our event.

At this year’s Luncheon, we will also come together to celebrate 40+ years of building community to end poverty. We’ll highlight Solid Ground’s 40-year culture of innovation, partnership and action – a culture that has created some of our community’s most effective anti-poverty programs. We will lift up individual stories of leadership and courage, and discuss our plans for the future.

Save the Date for Solid Ground's Building Community Luncheon, 4/4/14

The Mariner Moose & Toys for Kids bring holiday cheer to families in need across King County

The holidays can be a stressful time for many parents who want to celebrate with their children but face the harsh reality of limited budgets. And for moms experiencing homelessness over the holidays – like those staying in our Broadview Emergency Shelter & Transitional Housing facilities – making the holidays special is an even greater challenge.

The Mariner Moose, along with former Mariners Julio Cruz, Dave Henderson & broadcaster Rick Rizzs, provide a joyous annual holiday party for Broadview families.

The Mariner Moose, along with former Mariners Julio Cruz, Dave Henderson & broadcaster Rick Rizzs, provide a joyous annual holiday party for Broadview families.

So imagine the joyfest (i.e., happy chaos) that ensued on December 9 when the Mariner Moose himself – dressed in a Santa suit sporting the number “00” – burst into the room during a Broadview holiday pizza party, handed out signed posters, and took photographs with each kid!

Adding to the fun and mayhem, longtime Seattle Mariners baseball broadcaster Rick Rizzs, former M’s centerfielder Dave Henderson and second baseman Julio Cruz greeted the kids at their eye level – resembling gentle giants as they sat on tiny child-size chairs – and did art projects with the kids and autographed photos. Dave gamely played along as one small boy with a basketball (and a very strong toss!) launched the ball high and Dave headed it back. One mom dressed her one-year-old in a pink Mariners outfit for the occasion. “Christmas came early!” exclaimed another grinning mom, “Merry Christmas to me!”

An annual tradition at Broadview for almost two decades, this party (and others like it) is part of Rick & Dave’s Toys for Kids. Eighteen years ago, Rick Rizzs and Dave Henderson sat enjoying a cold beer at F.X. McRory’s in Pioneer Square a few months before the holidays. A news story came on the pub’s TV reporting on the more than 8,000 people experiencing homelessness in King County at the time. Rick and Dave wondered, “What about the kids? What kind of holiday celebration could their families afford?” The guys decided they wanted to do something to ensure that even kids without a place to call home had a way to celebrate.

So they rounded up a group of then-active players – including Jay Buhner, Raúl Ibañez, Bill Krueger, Edgar Martínez, Jamie Moyer, Jeff Nelson, John Olerud, Matt Sinatro, Omar Vizquel and Dan Wilson – and they held a fundraising dinner which raised $18,000 that first year to buy toys for kids for the holidays. They did some research to find out how they could get the toys to kids in need, and Broadview was among the first three organizational recipients.

The next year, the Mariners RBI Club members got involved, including Bill King, Virg Fassio and Bob Simeone, and they added an auction to the dinner. (RBI stand for “Real Baseball Involvement;” the Club consists of volunteers who connect the Mariners with local community and charity activities.) Each year since, the amount raised and the number of organizations supported have grown. This year’s event was held at the The Harbor Club Bellevue. $225,000 was raised, resulting in 7,000 children – all of whom are accessing services at 19 different local human service organizations – receiving holiday joy via Toys for Kids.

Left to right: Julio Cruz, Rick Rizzs, Solid Ground Residential Services Director Dee Hillis, Dave Henderson, Bill & Sarah King

Left to right: Julio Cruz, Rick Rizzs, Solid Ground Residential Services Director Dee Hillis, Dave Henderson, Bill & Sarah King

While Toys for Kids connects with thousands of kids each year, parties with the Mariner Moose are special and only happen with a handful of smaller organizations such as Broadview. At this year’s party, the RBI Club’s Bill King and his 17-year-old daughter Sarah served pizza and treats to the Broadview families. Bill says that Sarah has been helping out since she was seven years old, and the annual event has made a big impact on her. He recalls that one year, as he and Sarah left the building after a Broadview party, a young teen boy opened his window and called out to them, “Thank you! This has been the best day of my life!”

Rick Rizzs & Dave Henderson would like to thank the many sponsors who contribute to making Rick & Dave’s Toys for Kids an ongoing (and continuously growing) organization:

Jazz & roots greats play 12/19/13 benefit to house homeless

photo by Michael Wilson, used with permission

Bill Frisell, photo by Michael Wilson, used with permission

A Heart Needs a Home, at The Royal Room on Thursday Dec. 19, will bring together a mash-up of local jazz, roots and rock talent playing the music of legendary British songwriter Richard Thompson to support housing for people experiencing homelessness.

A Heart Needs a Home features a house band anchored by local guitar legend Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz (keyboards), Darren Loucas (guitar) Luke Bergman (bass), Eric Eagle (drums) and multi-instrumentalist Michael Connolly (Coyote Grace, the Indigo Girls touring band, Empty Sea Studios).

Lead singers taking on Richard Thompson songs  include:

Richard Thompson is one of the most amazing and well-respected musicians of the rock era. Named one of Rolling Stone’s top 20 guitarists of all time and a founding member of the seminal British folk-rock band Fairport Convention, Thompson’s songwriting and performing have earned him many accolades, perhaps none bigger than his appointment as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2011 for services to music.

Proceeds from the show benefit Solid Ground’s efforts to house families experiencing homelessness in Seattle. Each year more than 55,000 King County residents come to Solid Ground to address urgent food and hunger needs, and build skills to overcome poverty and thrive.

A Heart Needs a Home continues a long-standing series of efforts by local musicians to address homelessness that started in 2003 with the Songs for Shelter CD and concert series.

Concert Details:

  • Two shows: 7:30pm & 9:30pm.
  • Tickets: $20 in advance;  $25 at the door. Buy advance tickets for the early show here and for the late show here.
  • Venue: The Royal Room (5000 Rainier Ave S in Columbia City) is an eclectic, welcoming performance venue that emphasizes creative programming and development in a collaborative community space.

The performers are all really excited about playing together on this show and I think it is going to be a memorable night. Hope you can join us!

Day of Caring Resource Exchange

Editors note: This report was written by Solid Ground Tenant Counselor, Jeanne Winner

Photo courtesy of United Way of King County

Photo courtesy of United Way of King County

On September 17th, I had the honor of participating as a service provider in the United Way’s Day of Caring Resource Exchange along with a few of my coworkers. There were over 1,400 homeless adults who attended in order to receive information, products and services for themselves. This was an impactful and deeply meaningful event for those who were there.

The 600 service providers and volunteers were encouraged by United Way staff “to treat people as ‘honored guests.’ Most of these folks walk the streets and people look away from them. By giving them your full presence and assistance, you are giving a great gift to them, and to yourselves.”

My colleague, Judy Poston, and I shared a table where we did outreach about Solid Ground’s Tenant Services and Financial Fitness Boot Camp programs. We passed out printed materials and talked to 100 people about the challenges they face while trying to find affordable housing.

Judy spoke with people about ways they could work towards repairing their credit, and I talked with people about housing search and tenant rights.

It was apparent that the tables which provided information and products were important to the attendees; yet, it seemed that the booths which offered services right there touched the individuals at a much deeper level. Vince Matulionis, Director of Ending Homelessness for the United Way, told KUOW reporter, Deborah Wang, “The importance of getting a haircut, getting your picture taken, making a phone call, getting your feet washed – most of us in our daily lives tend to take for granted. But when you are homeless, rarely do those types of things come easily and quickly to you.”

The day’s results were amazing. Not only were the participants appreciative and grateful, but for many of the providers and volunteers, it was a deeply-felt experience.

The United Way has organized this event for the past nine years, providing one day a year for people experiencing homelessness in Seattle to get their basic needs met all in one place. The next one is in April. To me, one day a year isn’t enough. I am hopeful that people in our community will come together collaboratively to hold events like these on a more regular basis. It would make a world of difference for so many people.

Fall Fest at Marra Farm Sept. 21

Lettuce Link invites you to come celebrate the harvest, South Park style, at the 12th Annual Marra Farm Fall Fest!

Saturday, September 21, 12–3pm
Marra Farm: 9026 4th Ave S, 98108

  • farm-fresh food
  • apple cider pressing
  • live music
  • children’s activities
  • farm tours
Free and family friendly!

We’ll appreciate the amazing work of Farmer Sue McGann, who is retiring after 10 years at Marra Farm, and we’ll welcome new Marra Farm Coordinator Farmer Kyong Soh!

Volunteers needed: assist with kids’ activities; prep, grill, and serve food; wash dishes; help with setup and cleanup, etc. Contact Amelia: or 206.694.6731 for details or to sign up.

We hope to see you there!

Fall Fest 2013 Postcard-1Fall Fest 2013 Postcard-2

Please join us for “A Place at the Table”

interior-logoFifty million Americans – one in four children – don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”A Place at the Table” tells the powerful stories of three such Americans, who maintain their dignity even as they struggle just to eat. In a riveting journey that will change forever how you think about the hungry, “A Place at the Table” shows how the issue could be solved forever, once the American public decides – as they have in the past – that ending hunger is in the best interests of us all.

The film will be shown at Seattle First Baptist Church (1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle, WA 98122) on Saturday August 17 and Sunday the 25th followed by discussion, advocacy and a call to action. 

Both showings begin at 4pm. Doors open at 3:30pm. All are welcome to this free event. Registration is requested at:

Narrated by Jeff Bridges, the film brings to the fore the serious economic, social and cultural consequences that hunger poses for all of us. In citing the successful “War on Poverty” of the 1970s, filmmakers Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush drive home the point that as a society, we simply need to exert the political will to solve the problem of poverty – and its resultant hunger.

The screenings and discussions are co-hosted by the Social Action teams of Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue and Seattle First Baptist Church. Discussion will focus on local and national advocacy strategies for legislation to alleviate hunger, elevated to the spotlight recently with the approval of the Farm Bill without Food Stamp Aid by the U.S. House of Representatives.

  •  On August 17, Rev. Paul Benz, Director of Legislative Affairs with Faith Action Network, will lead the discussion.
  • The August 25th program will feature Ms. Christina Wong, Public Policy Manager with Northwest Harvest and Co-Chair for the Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition.


Christmas in July at Safeco supports Broadview

The Seattle Mariners and Rick’s Toys for Kids are presenting the first ever Christmas in July on Thursday, July 25 at Safeco Field. The Mariners will take on the Minnesota Twins with a 7:10pm first pitch.

ChristmasinJuly-1_mooseA portion of ticket proceeds will benefit Toys for Kids, the charity started many years ago by M’s broadcaster Rick Rizzs and former M’s centerfielder Dave Henderson. Toys for Kids supports children and families who are homeless and surviving domestic violence, including the residents of Solid Ground’s Broadview Emergency Shelter & Transitional Housing and Brettler Family Place programs.

Toys for Kids has provided loving, generous, magical year-end holiday celebrations for hundreds of Broadview residents. Rizzs and Henderson are truly revered for this work by everyone connected to Broadview and the other programs involved.

So, come on out to Safeco Field and enjoy a night of baseball while supporting a great cause. Tickets are $20 with $8 going directly to Toys for Kids!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to
  2. Select “Buy Tickets” then enter “Christmas” as your Special Offer Code.
  3. Purchase and print your tickets instantly!

The deadline to purchase is July 24!


Ode to the Fremont Fair

I was up at dawn this morning, the celestial pull of the solstice drawing me to the hard gray streets of Fremont.

fremont fair 2013

Today’s news

Yesterday’s rain was a drain, and I couldn’t help but think of the stage crews, the truckers, the roadies and the shuckers who were staging and loading and stocking at the Fremont Fair.



Everything’s wet from the night before, your legs are tight, your shoulders sore. In the afternoon sun you’ll forget the bone chill, for moments of bliss in the midst of it all.

But right now it’s hot coffee, two sugars and a dash of cream, recovering what blew away, getting back to your layout schemes. It’s 18 hours of lugging and waiting, pressing and debating. A crew that becomes family, a community that lives and breathes.

So, here’s to the vagabond fair folk, the traveling tribe of festival and fun, here’s to Phil and Marko and Jessica and 1,000 others who keep the flame alive.

volunteer greeters 2007

volunteer greeters 2007

Here’s to Oliver, Adina, Dox and crew, Al, Pete, Russell and countless more. Here’s to Armen the Mayor, Artis, David, Paul and other others. I know the fathers’ names but few of the mothers.



Here’s to 25 years of Arts Council parade, here’s to Lynn and Barb and Cathy and art without words, the vendors, the food trucks, the hawkers and buskers, the craft folk and importers and oh, here’s to you …

… for getting to Fremont and seasoning the stew.

Happy Solstice everyone!

Tenant Rights Workshop in Federal Way 6/10/13

Want to know more about your rights as a renter? Wondering how to get your deposit back or request a repair? Would you like to know how new changes in the laws impact renters?

House for RentSolid Ground Tenant Counselors are hosting another FREE Rent Smart Workshop for the community on Monday, June 10, 4:30pm-6:30pm, in Federal Way at the Multi-Service Center Conference Room (1200 S. 336th, Federal Way, WA 98003). We’ll provide information about landlord-tenant laws in Washington State and discuss the laws and ordinances that apply throughout the housing search process, move-in, during tenancy, move-out and eviction. Bring your questions!

Since there is no agency that enforces the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act in our state, it is largely up to tenants to understand the laws and know their rights in order to take appropriate action to effectively enforce them. We’ll talk about some tips and best practices for renters to help you assert your rights and have a successful tenancy – whether you are signing a rental agreement, requesting repairs or have questions about your privacy rights.

Especially with recent changes and additions to the laws, challenging situations can arise for tenants. For example, the laws around tenant screening changed in 2012 and 2013, requiring landlords to provide written notice of their screening criteria before they screen a tenant that has applied for housing (see our Tenant Tip from March 2012 for more information). If a tenant is unaware of this law or the changes, they could be unfairly denied housing without knowing why. There are remedies available to tenants if a landlord is not complying with the laws, but tenants have to know those remedies are available in order to use them. Knowing the laws and what steps to take, tenants can take action to correct the problem.

If you are a tenant or service provider and would like to attend the workshop, please RSVP to our Tenant Services Workshop & Advocacy Line at 206.694.6748 or email

We are also available to provide workshops to organizations and groups throughout King County free of charge. Please contact us at 206.694.6748 if you are interested in scheduling a workshop for your agency or community group. For more information, visit our website at

We look forward to seeing you on June 10th!


The tenant information contained in this article or linked to the Solid Ground Tenant Services website is for informational purposes only. Solid Ground makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to its website. Solid Ground cannot act as your attorney. Solid Ground makes no representations, expressed or implied, that the information contained in or linked to its website can or will be used or interpreted in any particular way by any governmental agency or court. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided here should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel. Solid Ground Tenant Counselors offer these tenant tips as generalized information for renters. People with specific questions should call our Tenant Services hotline at 206.694.6767  Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays between 10:30 am and 4:30 pm.

Solid Ground is BIG into…

GiveBIG through the Seattle Foundation on May 15!

GiveBIG through the Seattle Foundation on May 15!

GiveBIG is back! On Wednesday May 15, all donations made to Solid Ground via The Seattle Foundation’s website will be partially matched! This means that YOUR GIFT can have an even bigger impact in moving people out of poverty.

At Solid Ground we are BIG into healthy kids. We believe that education and growth extends beyond the school day. We partner with local schools, agencies and community volunteers to engage kids in experiential learning opportunities throughout the day via our community farms, Apple Corps and Washington Reading Corps programs, and our Cooking Matters nutrition and cooking classes.

When you GiveBIG to Solid Ground, you help feed hungry people, keep people in their homes and get families and individuals experiencing homelessness into stable housing.

So please, GiveBig on Wednesday, May 15 to end poverty in our community. And remember to tell your family, friends and coworkers to GiveBIG to Solid Ground!

We are BIG into food and nutrition!

We are BIG into food and nutrition!

At Solid Ground we are BIG into food and nutrition. We believe that all families should have access to healthy, nutritious food, regardless of where they live or how much they earn. Last year, our Lettuce Link program’s Marra Farm Giving Garden, Seattle Community Farm, Community Fruit Tree Harvest and P-Patch Growing and Giving efforts harvested and donated more than 50,000 pounds of organic produce to 21 local food banks.

REMEMBER: All GiveBIG donations must be made with a credit card, within the 24-hour window of May 15, via Solid Ground’s page on The Seattle Foundation website.

We are BIG into ending homelessness!

We are BIG into ending homelessness!

We work to help families and individuals overcome displacement and abuse, address the issues that led to their experiencing homelessness, develop a strong community support system and secure permanent housing. This year we are expanding our homeless prevention efforts and partnering with Lifelong AIDS Alliance to provide housing stability resources for people with chronic illnesses who face foreclosure. We are completing our Sand Point housing campus by building 54 new homes for formerly homeless families and single men and women.

And don’t forget, a portion of all gifts made to GiveBIG will be matched. Thanks for giving BIG to Solid Ground!

Investing in success

Solid Ground’s 13th Annual Building Community Luncheon was a resounding success! Over 650 people attended and we have raised in excess of $220,000 to help turn generational poverty into generational thriving!

Johnnie Williams

Johnnie Williams

Thank you to all of you who gathered with us on Friday, April 5. You are actively changing the story for 50,000 people a year: people like Johnnie Williams, who as a teen at Broadview learned to draw on his skills and strengths, build new ones, and land in a place of stability, where he could give back to the community and mentor others. Your investment in this work makes our community stronger.  You are our partners in this work and we are incredibly grateful.

Zufan, Sarah, Senit

Zufan, Sarah, Senit and Winta (l to r)

It was inspiring to shine a light on the personal stories of the generational successes from families who have lived at Broadview Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing. Several case managers sat with the families as we screened the video at the Luncheon, and one shared some lovely comments on the experience:

“It was really wonderful and touching to see Zufan and her girls honored in such a way. Having known their family since they first came to Broadview and having the honor and privilege of working with them and seeing them rebuild their lives over the years it was really special. Zufan and Senit and Winta were literally “lit up” and smiling and laughing and so happy as they watched the video! It was really touching and special for me to be a part of their celebration.”

You can watch the full story of Zufan and her daughters, as well as youth mentor Johnnie Williams here.

Paul Tough, best-selling author

Paul Tough, best-selling author

We were also delighted to invite Paul Tough to discuss the ways an organization like Solid Ground can help children living in poverty succeed. The highlight of the program for me, personally, was when Paul was asked how he would invest $500 million to close the achievement gap and asked, “Could I just give it all to Solid Ground?” My answer to that is a resounding yes! (Paul, we’ll be following up with you on this later).

Most importantly, the Luncheon would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors. By underwriting the cost of the event, every dollar raised by our guests goes directly to Solid Ground.


We’d like to give a special thank you to AT&T, the Presenting Sponsor of the Luncheon this year. AT&T has had a strong legacy of investment and impact in the communities they serve for over a quarter century, and Solid Ground is delighted to be amongst AT&T’s partners.



If you are interested in getting involved with Solid Ground events as a table host, guest or sponsor, email me at

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