“Home: Lost and Found” storytelling workshops

The Moth, a popular public radio show that also puts on stage events and open-mic StorySLAMs in Seattle, is hosting free storytelling workshops to develop the storytelling skills of family homelessness providers and advocacy organizations in the Puget Sound Region. “We’re looking for people who have a personal story related to homelessness, who want to learn how to craft it into a compelling 5-minute story that can be told in front of a live audience.” Workshops will be held in February and March. Click here for details and a link to application information. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 6, 2015.
Communities Count tracks student homelessness in King County school districts. Collectively, close to 6,200 students were homeless in 2012-13. The overall rate of homelessness (1 in 44 students) masked large differences across districts — from Tukwila (1 in 10 students) to Mercer Island (2 in 1,000).

Early Learning Symposium at Town Hall

King County is ringing in the New Year with a January 7th Town Hall event designed to catalyze action on behalf of the county’s youngest children. Brain science tells us that quality early learning environments help children develop their full potential. Attendees of this event can participate in building and sustaining a vibrant early learning community that will benefit our region for generations.

Date: Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Time: 10 am to 12:30 pm
Place: Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Avenue, Seattle 98103

To register for the symposium, please click here.

Guest presenters include:
• Dr. Patricia Kuhl, nationally renowned researcher and Co-Director, University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Science (I-LABS)
• Mark K. Shriver, President of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN)
• Roberto Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant to the President for Education, The White House
• King County Executive Dow Constantine
• Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
• Leaders from local community-based organizations, non-profits, and early childcare providers

For background on the benefits of quality early learning, watch an 8-minute video in which economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman explains why Childcare is a Social and Economic Issue.

If you are an elected official and would like to participate in the working lunch associated with this event, please reach out to david@bezosfamilyfoundation.org.

The event is proudly supported by the Bezos Family Foundation, Kindering, The Road Map Project, SOAR, Open Arms Perinatal Services, and United Way of King County.

The ever-shrinking middle class

America’s middle class is on the move — but it’s not moving up. According to the Center for American Progress, only 45% of American families qualify as middle class, down from almost 57% in 1979. And research by a U.C. Berkeley economist found that during the “economic recovery” years of 2009 to 2012, the richest 1% of Americans received 95% of all income gains. In King County, economic recovery has been strikingly uneven by race: by 2013, the proportion of Black households with income below the Federal Poverty Threshold was up to 35%, significantly higher than all other race/ethnicity groups except those identifying themselves as “other race.” Communities Count presents data on wealth and income inequality in the Income section.

Income inequality shrinks the American middle class.

Unemployment is down; poverty isn’t.

Unemployment in King County has plunged from peak of 9.6% in early 2010 to only 4.5% in October of 2014. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except that poverty hasn’t budged. As this month’s update of poverty data shows, 12% of King County residents of all ages and 16% of children under the age of 18 still live in poverty — exactly the same rates as in 2010. Because more people live in King County now than in 2010, though, these percentages include about 20,000 more residents in poverty. Updated data on poverty by race/ethnicity show a similar lack of improvement. Especially troublesome is the finding that more than 1 in 3 Blacks in King County was living below the Federal Poverty Threshold in 2013 — a significantly higher rate than that of almost all other racial/ethnic groups. While beneficial to many, our county’s “economic recovery” is decidedly uneven.