40th Anniversary Timeline: 2001 a year of tragedy & hope


2001

Looking back at the year 2001, it is hard to remember anything other than the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. A few other historical bullet points:

  • George W. Bush was sworn in as President.
  • The Congressional Budget Office projected a $5.6 trillion dollar federal budget surplus over the next 10 years!
  • The Taliban began destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas.
  • In the Netherlands, the Act on the Opening up of Marriage went into effect, which allowed same-sex couples to marry legally for the first time in the world since the reign of Nero.
  • Locally, the Seattle Mariners set a record for winning baseball games, but flamed out in the playoffs.
  • The Nisqually earthquake shook the Seattle region, causing significant damage in Pioneer Square.

Financial Fitness 2001

For Solid Ground it was a time of piloting new ways of responding to the changing needs of our community.

We developed the Financial Skills Education program, later renamed Financial Fitness Boot Camp. The program offers money management classes, skill-building workshops and personal support for families working to attain financial and housing stability. Over the past few years, the program has been part of a national Learning Cluster to develop best practices for the field.

Working Wheels 2001Recognizing that lack of affordable transportation was a barrier to accessing well-paying jobs, in 2001 we partnered with Port Jobs to launch Working Wheels. This program received used fleet cars from the Port and the City of Seattle, as well as donations from private donors. The cars were brought up to safety and service standards by our Transportation Department mechanics and sold at affordable prices to people who needed a car to get or keep a job. We partnered with a local credit union to get favorable loan rates, and even provided ongoing maintenance through the short-lived Community Garage. Working Wheels was closed in 2009, a victim of changing economic conditions that made municipalities hold on to their fleet vehicles longer, and made fundraising for the program more challenging.

Undoing Racism 2001

2001 is also the year Solid Ground committed to undoing institutional racism:

  • Trained staff in Undoing Institutional Racism and cultural competency.
  • Formed a multi-racial staff-driven Anti-Racism Committee (ARC) to organize internally and begin to identify and prioritize anti-racism actions to better serve our clients.
  • Engaged staff and community members to recognize and take action against racism in our own lives and communities.

Responsible Lending 2001Additionally, our advocacy work ramped up its efforts to address predatory lending in 2001. The Statewide Poverty Action Network was a founding member of the Seattle/King County Coalition for Responsible Lending (SKCCRL), which increased awareness of and helped consumers avoid predatory loans, and worked with local lenders to increase affordable loan options without limiting credit access. Our staff  served on the founding SKCCRL steering committee and were active on its committees.

Poverty Action at the Capitol

Poverty Action members march & rally in Olympia in 2012

Poverty Action members march & rally in Olympia in 2012

Join the Statewide Poverty Action Network in Olympia on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 21. Speak out about the importance of basic needs services, fair housing, racial equality, healthcare and other issues impacting the lives of people across Washington State.

Poverty Action’s annual lobby day brings together hundreds of people from across Washington State. It supports issues brought forward by people from across our state through face-to-face meetings with lawmakers, direct actions, and trainings to take our movement back to our hometowns.

This is a great opportunity for both seasoned activists and people who have never expressed their opinions to our lawmakers. Students are especially encouraged to join us and bring the perspective and power of the next generation to the state political process!

WHAT: 
Poverty Action Day at the Capitol – A day of community building, advocacy trainings and exercising political power!

The Washington State Capitol, where YOU have the power!

The Washington State Capitol, where YOU have the power!

WHEN:
Monday, 1/21/13,
9:30am – 3:30pm (bus leaves Seattle 7:30am, returns about 5pm)

WHERE: 
Temple Beth Hatfiloh
201 8th Avenue SE
Olympia, WA 98501

HOW: 
Register online or call 206.694.6794
(toll-free at 1.866.789.7726).

Poverty Action has planned a morning of issue and advocacy briefings in preparation for the 1pm rally at the Capitol and group meetings with lawmakers.

This session, Poverty Action will focus on:

  • Saving safety net programs by protecting them from budget cuts.
  • Fortifying recent changes in payday lending laws that protect consumers, but are under fire from the industry.
  • Tightening up consumer protections against debt collectors and Zombie Debt.

There is free transportation from Seattle to Poverty Action Day at the Capitol (the bus leaves Solid Ground, 1501 N 45th Street in Wallingford, at 7:30am). Breakfast and lunch are provided. Childcare and interpretation services are available upon request.

You can register online or call 206.694.6794 (toll-free at 1.866.789.7726). And for more information, visit the Poverty Action website.

Left Broadview smiling

Mary Ann (not her real name or photo) and her 7-year-old son moved into Solid Ground’s Broadview Transitional Housing program under very difficult circumstances.

Her son had leukemia and was in recovery. He could not walk up stairs and he had no hair. They spent most of their time at Children’s Hospital initially. He could not go to school and could not play with other children.

After Mary Ann’s son improved, a Children’s Advocate stepped in to help him integrate into the Broadview community. They helped mom with school enrollment, and then his really big moment came: He started school and could participate in onsite activities. He attended Children’s Group and went on some field trips, too. He was so happy just to be outside with the other kids on the playground. He made friends and some of the kids came to visit him in his unit. He limps but he can climb the stairs now; he smiles a lot and he has lots of hair again.

Mary Ann has been looking for work and has gone on several interviews. She found permanent housing and thinks she has a job as well. Broadview Transitional Housing gave them a place to heal physically and emotionally. Mary Ann says that they feel normal now. Both Mary Ann and her son left Broadview smiling.

To contribute to the important community and support happening at Broadview, please visit our Broadview donation page.

Get Up, Stand Up!

While the budget crisis has gotten most of the press from the 2011 legislative session in Olympia, there are also some important bills that need your support to give homeowners facing foreclosure a fair chance at staying in their homes, and to bolster protections against predatory lending that were passed last year.

Foreclosure Fairness Act
Our housing counselors report that one of the biggest barriers faced by homeowners threatened with foreclosure is the extreme difficulty of getting whoever owns the loan to discuss modification options. What used to take a few phone calls and a few hours to work out can now stretch out over months of calls, and many forms of delay. This brief video on the Foreclosure Fairness Act dramatizes how consumers are being stonewalled. Please check it out and post the link on Facebook and other social networks to attract attention to the issue!

The Foreclosure Fairness Act (SB 5275 and HB1362) would mandate that banks, or whoever holds the loan, must offer face-to-face mediation with homeowners. In the 23 states and municipalities that have mandatory mediation, 60% of homeowners in foreclosure are able to stay in their homes! The banking industry is trying to strip the mandatory mediation out of the bill, which will take away its most important tool. Please contact your state Senator and Representatives and urge them to support the Foreclosure Fairness Act and to keep mandatory mediation in the bill!

You can use this web form to email your legislators in support of the Foreclosure Fairness Act.

Keep Protections against Predatory Lending
Last year the Legislature enacted law to protect Washington State residents from predatory lending. This year the banking industry is fighting back with two bills that would strip away crucial consumer protections. Please contact your lawmakers and urge them to oppose these bills: HB 1678 and SB 5547.

You can use this web form to email your legislators to oppose gutting protections against predatory lending.

To find out who your Senator and Representatives are, go to Statewide Poverty Action Network and look for the zip code tool on the top of the page.

New law protects consumers from payday lenders

Cool: New legislation in WA state goes into effect January 1, 2009 thatsign calling for the state Legislature to "Stop Predatory Lending" increases protection for consumers of payday loans. Read about it in the Seattle Times.

While the law, passed last year with the encouragement of Solid Ground’s Statewide Poverty Action Network, does not go as far as advocates had initially wished, it is groundbreaking progress in reining in an industry that has mined poor people to make enormous profits. Advocates plan to monitor implementation and impact of the new law before bringing additional proposals to Olympia.

%d bloggers like this: