Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Council of Seattle / King County
Council Minutes, April 24, 2021
Approved at the July 24, 2021 meeting
Assumption, Blessed Sacrament, St. Brendan, Christ the King, Holy Family of Auburn, Holy Rosary West Seattle, Holy Spirit – Espiritu Santo, Immaculate Conception, Mary Queen of Peace, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of the Lake, Sacred Heart of Bellevue, St. Alphonsus, St. Anne, St. Anthony, St. Benedict, St. Bernadette, St. Catherine, St. James/Blessed Rosalie Rendu, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, St. Edwards, St. Joseph (Seattle), St. Jude, St. Louise, St. Luke, St. Mark, St. Mary, St. Matthew, St. Monica, St. Patrick, St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Stephen the Martyr, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Theresa, St. Therese, St. Thomas, and St. Vincent de Paul.
ABSENT: Holy Family (Kirkland), Holy Innocents, Immaculate Conception, St. Joseph of (Issaquah), St. Madeline Sophie, Christ Our Hope, St. Francis of Assisi, St. George, St. John Vianney of Kirkland, and St. John Vianney of Vashon.
NON-VOTING STAFF AND GUESTS:
Mirya Munoz-Roach, Executive Director, Hannah Hunthausen, Manager of Vincentian Support and Community Engagement, Mike Ewanciw, CFO Finance Director, and Father Bob Grimm, Spiritual Advisor.
Mary Jo asked that we keep all those Vincentians that have gone before us in our prayers
The council welcomed Father Bob Grimm and Tricia Wittman-Todd in their new role as our spiritual advisors.
Mary Jo announced that Holy Spirit and Divina Providencia in Kent have merged as one conference. Their new conference name is Holy Spirit – Espiritu Santo. This is now a bilingual conference.
Father Bob Grimm presented a prayer asking the Lord to help us discover Christ anew in the faces of the people that he calls us to serve.
CALL TO ORDER/MINUTES:
President Mary Jo Shannon called the business meeting to order at 10 a.m.
A motion was made to approve the January 2021 minutes. Jim Jordan noted that under the executive director’s report, in the second paragraph imagine is spelled incorrectly. There is a g at the end instead of an e. This correction will be made. Jim Jordan then seconded the motion. The minutes were then approved unanimously.
Finance: Dave Cullen, board treasure, reported that SVdP will not apply for a second PPP loan. The society does not meet the new requirements. As far as the financials, SVdP has a strong cash position ($5.6M). Retail sales and recycling are $52,500 below budget. And the Society’s income is $200,000 over budget. This is because SVdP has done a good job of controlling expenses.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT:
Mirya noted that we have taken a deep dive at the financials. However, we need to understand how the operation works as a whole.
Goal: As we move into our 101th year, we should look at sustainability, and community needs to strengthen our position so that we can live out our mission more fully.
- Emergency Fund – This campaign is being ran as a major gifts campaign. The goal is to raise $1.8 million. So far the society has raised $600,000. Please refer individuals with capacity to donate towards this fund to Mirya.
- Seattle Times Giving Give – This article will be released on April 25th. It is part of the Give Big social media campaign. It will run through May 5th.
- Blue Dress Online Event – This is SVdP’s biggest fundraiser of the year. It is scheduled for May 19th from 6-7 pm, please join us. Due to COVID restrictions this event will be streamed online.
“Help Me Grow”- This is a Centro Rendu program funded by King County and is housed in our SVdP helpline. Vincentians can refer families to our helpline. This program provides connections for families with children ages 0-5 to learn more about resources targeted at the well-being and development of our youngest and vulnerable families. Although King County wants a particular focus on Latino families due to their high need for services that are culturally tailored to meet their needs, the SVdP Help Me Grow program is prepared to serve all populations that meet the criteria of having children under the age of 5.
Corporate Training & Continuing Education – This is step 1 of the Green River College/SVdP collaboration towards the development of a youth training program and curriculum for workforce development. The first class will be free for SVdP employees.
Centro Rendu’s Children’s Day Celebration – Friday, April 30th from 3-6pm at Renton Memorial Stadium. This is a free drive-through celebration for families with children ages 0-12. Come celebrate this special day, and get your free children’s day gift.
- Capital improvement needs
- Thrift – still closed
- Clinic opening new programs: Asylum Clinic – where immigrants that are eligible for asylum can undergo a psychosocial evaluation. This clinic is being hosted by UW students.
- Capital improvement needs
- Lots of interest in this property from investors and developers, metro/sound transit and Imagine Housing.
Mission: To develop affordable housing, build welcoming communities, and foster vibrant futures.
Vision: Is an Eastside organization with interconnected and welcoming communities where all people can live, learn, work and play
Imagine Housing houses homeless individuals, section 8 recipients, and those in VA transitional housing programs.
61% of households have annual incomes below $20K.
54% of residents are minorities.
Proposed Affordable Housing in Kenmore
Populations: Individuals and families
Long-term lease at Fair Market value; 23-year lease
Current Value: $5,420,000
Building would include ground floor space for SVdP programs
Imagine Housing would rent back to SVdP at $15 a square foot
*Mary Jo shared that the board invited Imagine Housing to its April board meeting. The board asked a number of questions with regard to Imagine Housing’s letter of intent. However, the board did not feel that Imagine Housing had a concrete proposal to present to the council. More conversations will need to be had. Mirya is spear-heading these conversations with Ned’s support. *
Mary Herbert expressed her concern about the potential closure of SVdP thrift stores. She stated that her conference gives out a number of vouchers to their local SVdP thrift store.
Mary Jo shared that the board is looking at the possibility of buying pre-paid gift cards to give to neighbors where there may not be a SVdP thrift store. The gift cards would be for Goodwill, Target, Kroger and more. This notion is currently being researched.
Colleen Meehan: shared that there is an Imagine Housing complex in her parish. Further, that cops are there every day. Tenants know cops by name. Moreover, that she can walk into the building at any time even though it’s supposed to be a secure building.
Marci Tittle: Does Imagine Housing plan on tearing down the existing building and build something new? Yes.
Conference Support Update:
Upcoming Training and Events: The calendar on the member website is up to date. Please refer to it to be cognizant of all upcoming events. Reminder: Every second Wednesday of the month, the Learn of Lunch takes place. Guest speakers are invited and/or Vincentians are given an opportunity to raise concerns/questions about different matters they would like to be addressed. All Vincentians are welcome to join these sessions. Here is the link to the calendar tab of the member website. https://svdpseattlemembers.net/calendar/
2021 Virtual Western Region Meeting (May 17-21, 2021): There is a $20 fee to attend this event. It is an opportunity to connect and hear from Vincentians from other parts of our region and share what we are all doing. A number of sessions will be offered both in English and Spanish.
King County Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program: The tenant portal opens on May 17th. Assistance may be provided for up to 12 months’ contingent on what the neighbor owes. Neighbors who do not owe rent beyond the current month can receive assistance, if they meet the income guideline. Assistance will be provided for individuals who are 50% AMI. Forward rent can be given. There will be different ways in which individuals can receive assistance. If a neighbor received assistance in the first go-around, they are eligible to reapply. This does not render them ineligible. Individuals will also be able to access funds by contacting agencies rather than going through the lottery process. SVdP is in the process of discerning its own involvement.
EFSP Food Grant: This a federal grant for food assistance targeted for South end conferences. This grant includes in-kind food, diapers, and select gift cards. A number of south end conferences are working with other ministries within their parish to help with this food distribution.
*Mary Jo shared that there is funding available for undocumented individuals from the state. Eligible persons will receive up to $1,000. Organizations around the state are working with people to distribute these funds. The criteria is that individuals have to have been affected by COVID-19 in some way. *
Blue Dress Event: SVdP is offering a unique opportunity to be a virtual table captain (crowdfunding ambassador). It’s super simple and a great way to support SVdP. You or anyone you know can create your own fundraising page. Here is link for creating your own personalized Blue Dress Event crowdfunding page: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E346699&id=44
Ed Sarasaud gave a power point presentation about the idea of SVdP moving away from thrift. He presented the findings, history, context, financial impact, and recommendations regarding the SVdP thrift stores. The board is committed to being open to the councils’ opinion. Most importantly, the board would like the council to know that this will be a gradual process.
Colleen Meehan: The Kenmore store is not in an accessible location.
Mary Hebert: From the perspective of her conference, both of the places they refer neighbors to are going to be closed. This is disappointing.
Mary Sweeny: Please keep in mind that the dollars that we loose on stores are dollars that we can’t give to neighbors. When people donate money to SVdP, they would not appreciate the fact that we are operating things that are causing a significant loss. Could we utilize those funds better to more appropriately align with our mission?
Marci Tittle: Her conference is the closest to Kenmore. They have engaged with Goodwill in her area. Neighbors say that the selection is better and they can find what they need. She agrees that the Kenmore store needs to be utilized differently. This is from a financial standpoint.
Sandra McGowan: We are not losing the land. Moreover, SVdP does not have the expertise to compete in the thrift environment. Does it make sense to continue this method of operation? Goodwill and the Salvation Army spend thousands in marketing and other matters. Our responsibility should be to figure out a way to effectively use our resources so we can support our neighbors. If the goal of thrift is to provide a place for our neighbors to obtain low cost goods: It makes sense to partner with Goodwill and Salvation Army and see what kind of deals we can get from them. John from St. Catherine agreed with Sandra.
Maryann Curran: Agrees that the St. Vincent de Paul stores does not have great inventory/variety. Excellent points were made. Maryann believes it is time to move away from thrift stores. It’s been talked about for years.
Allen Ballinger: Agrees with all that has been stated. SVdP is never going to compete with thrift stores like Goodwill because they are everywhere. We need to accept this and move on.
*Mary Jo reported that in the next month or so, the council will be asking precinct chairs to ask their conferences if would like to switch from vouchers to cards. More to come on this. *
Voice of the Poor Training: This training is scheduled for May 19th from 10 am to 12 pm. It is for Vincentians that are interested in advocacy and organizing. Getting to the root cause of why are neighbors are in the situations that they are in. The training will be on Catholic social teaching and Vincentian advocacy. Certain individuals will receive an invitation. You will then be asked to think of who you would like to be a part of this.
RV Pump out Project: Mary Sweeny has been leading this project. Mary Jo pointed out that the city of Seattle is going to implement the 72-hour move for RVs. ½ of the RVs can’t move. We want to be prepared to figure out what we are going to do if the city starts issuing tickets. Secondly, this program is $100,000 short in its budget. We may need to organize ourselves to advocate for the city for $100,000 more so we can continue to do the pump outs. We will need to meet with city council.
Metrics: Mary Jo reported that we are only at 38% of our ability to meet the need in Seattle and South King County. A big thank you to those that have been contributing to the conference support fund and /or to individual conferences. Mary Jo encourages others to do the same.
New Protocol to contact Vincentian Support staff: Mary Jo announced that Vincentian support staff is overwhelmed. She instructed that if Vincentians have questions, please talk to your president first. If your president does not have an answer, then contact the precinct chair. If the precinct chair does not have an answer, please have your precinct chair email Hannah and/or Riley. This is an effort to not flood Hannah and Riley’s email, and to keep your precinct chairs in the know.
Legislative Update: The right to counsel passed in the state legislature. This means that anyone that gets an eviction notice has a right to counsel. This is a big win.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION:
Vincentians were broken out into groups. Groups were asked to share their thoughts on the thrift stores, how they are personally doing, and how they are preparing for the potential end of the moratorium. 15 minutes were given for discussion. The group reconvened and reported.
Tom Martin then made a motion that SVdP of Seattle King County move gradually away from thrift, there was discussion about a more progressive approach, and Betsy Pierce second an amendment to the motion and a final vote from the council was taken to “move ‘in an appropriate manner’ away from thrift.” Council approved this motion without dissention and gave the board the “green light” to move forward as it has and as appropriately needed on this initiative.
The meeting closed at 12:00pm with a prayer.
NEXT MEETING: July 24, 2021 via Zoom
Adelfa Moreno | Board Secretary