Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness

Current Efforts

  • Our monthly meetings are held from noon-1:30p every SECOND Wednesday, at University Congregational United Church of Christ, 4515 16th Ave. NE., Seattle, in the first floor chapel.  PARKING is free is Lots A (across from church entrance on 16th) and C (on corner of 45th & 15th, otherwise pay lot). Note your parking space and sign in with license plate # and space # outside church office door.  Coffee, tea, juice, snacks, BYO lunch. 

  • We maintain an email list that includes at minimum our weekly E-Update every Friday. This is a one-sheet reference, along with upcoming meetings within the All Home Strategic Plan and related area meetings, and other information each week that is pertinent to working to alleviate the harm of unsheltered homelessness in King County WA.  Sign up by emailing to .

  • We continue the Seattle Scofflaw Mitigation Project (SMP), which is a harm alleviation effort within the Scofflaw ordinance in Seattle. This ordinance, written in 2011, is aimed to collect penalties for those with 4 or more tickets. It includes booting and impoundment where responses do not occur. For many reasons, persons living in vehicles get caught in this law and do not understand remedies. Through an agreement with the City of Seattle under former Mayor McGinn, the SMP is notified when Seattle Parking Enforcement Officers discover a Scofflaw-eligible vehicle resident. Harm suspends while SMP does outreach, to include ushering the vehicle resident to court to address outstanding tickets. For assistance, call 425-442-5418 or 206-782-0788. Help is limited to Scofflaw-eligible vehicle residents.  The ITFH also provides a stipend to a knowledgeable formerly homeless outreach staffer, Jenn Adams, who does one-to-one work with vehicle resdients. She may be contacted through one of the two numbers above.

  • The ITFH has reinstituted the All Home Vehicle Residency Work Group to address the shortage of policy, protocols, and remedies available to vehicle residents in King County. Each annual Point in Time Count for the last decade (or more) has indicated 1/3 of the unsheltered count has been vehicle residents. At no City level nor at the King County level is funding, outreach, or harm alleviation in place to address these numbers. The plan will be fostering regional groups, for sectors of the County; namely, EAST, SOUTH, NORTH, and SEATTLE. Seattle's own Vehicle Residency Work Group concludes the end of April 2017, and its work will taken over by a new All Home Seattle Group. If you are interested to work with us, contact 425.442.5418 or write .  Work is to include looking at remedies within 1) Law, 2) Outreach Alignments Local Configurations, 3) Congregational hosting locally, and 4) Building community engagement locally. 

  • The ITFH continues outreach efforts in East King County via Joe Ingram, current ITFH Chairperson. JOe's contact info is 206.579.2205, and . Joe is a member of Washington State Balance of Care for 33 of 39 Counties, is a knowledgeable resource for all aspects of unsheltered homelessness, is a Veteran, and practices Companionship (accompaniment of those in harm's way).

  • In both King and Snohomish Counties the ITFH has been joining partners to further efforts around Homeless Court. In Snohomish County the ITFH co-convenes the Homeless Policy Task Force (the former Continuum of Care), which meets monthly, 2nd Thursdays, 10-12, at United Way, 3120 McDougall, Everett. The City of Arlington has a homeless court started. It is being considered in South Snohomish County. In King County, meetings have been held with the Seattle Municipal Court Presiding Judge, and others, to consider this model. Jurisdictions around the country, such as San Diego, Brooklyn NY, and Spokane WA, have forms of homeless court. The goal is to reduce the legal burdens that keep persons in homelessness via law, debt, and so on.

  • The ITFH remains an active partner in anti-criminalization of the homeless. The Washington State Homeless Anti-Criminalization Campaign was started 3 years ago. In partnership with Seattle University School of Law and the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project (HRAP, under Professor Sara Rankin), there have been just under a dozen reports by law students that span topics of the criminalization of the homeless. "Living at the Intersection" has been particularly helpful in our work around vehicle residency and the law. Further, in collaboration with a private attorney and Columbia Legal Services, a vehicle resident has sued the City of Seattle. This effort is seeking the court to provide relief and policy guidance. 

  • The ITFH continues to encourage the practice of local groups addressing homelessness. Using a companionship model of accompanying such groups, we participate with the University District Conversation on Homelessness (meets 9:30-11, 1st Wednesdays), the Eastside Homelessness Advisory Committee (meets 2-4p, 2nd Thursdays), the Ballard Community Taskforce on Homelessness and Hunger (meets 10:30a-12, 4th Thursday), and we publicize ongoing area group meetings such as the South Homeless Forum (meets 9-10:30a, first Wednesday), West Seattle Interfaith Network/WIN (meets 6-7:30p, 3rd Mondays), Lake City Task Force on Homelessness (meets 3:30-5p, 2nd Fridays), and the Northshore Homeless to Housed group (meets 4-5:30p, 1st Thursday).

  • The ITFH participates on Continuum of Care (CoC efforts attached the Housing and Urban Development with local plans to end homelessness) efforts in King and Snohomish Counties. In King County the ITFH participates in monthly Coordinating Board meetings, and as member of the Single Veteran Advisory Group. In addition the ITFH is leading, as noted, the resumed vehicle residency effort. In Snohomish County, as one of the co-convening team for the Homeless Policy Task Force (HPTF), the ITFH works with the Partnership to End Homelessness (the Snohomish County CoC) through the  HPTF.

  • The ITFH has had legislation in Olympia become law, of note, ESHB 1956-2010. To further the religious rights of faith organization to practice their mission (in accord with RLUIPA) we have submitted advanced bills the last three years. This past session showed possible success in 2018, so there will be interim (between session dates) to form the bill to submit next year. Additionally the ITFH is working with prominent legislators to change the Revised Code of WA as to the acquisition of car tabs by the indigent, both vehicle residents and low-income housed persons (Expired tabs/registration are the gateway to enormous harm for the indigent).

  • The ITFH continues its effort to support the use of small houses. After providing the first such units to Nickelsville (3 of our builders pictured above, Sinan, Dennis, and Rick), the movement has been embraced by the Low Income Housing Institute and others, to include private builders who have made prototypes now in use, and by groups like Facing Homelessness with its current Block Project.

  • The ITFH remains a working partner with the Seattle Meals Partnership Coalition after spending 3+ years working with Operation Sack Lunch Founder Beverly Graham to sustain outdoor meal service with adequate sites and times that serve nutritionally dense food, and to educate those volunteers coming to Seattle to serve the poor to provide nutritious food and to be good neighbors while doing so. It remains a working protocol for the ITFH that the daily need of every unsheltered person is a safe place to sleep and food each day to eat.

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Who we are 

The  Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness (ITFH) is composed of individuals representing religious congregations, religious and secular organizations which work toward preventing and ending homelessness.  Most of our membership spans much of the religious community, including Christian, Unitarian, Jewish, and Muslim.   We reach out to all sectors of the faith community to join us in action and to support us morally and financially. More than this, we work as colleagues with all who seek to alleviate the harm of homelessness.

Our mission
The ITFH works to create the political will to end homelessness.  We are organized by four

· Because housing is a basic human right, being homeless (and/or unsheltered) is not criminal, and its continuing existence is an offense to what is moral in a civil society.

· Homelessness for those unsheltered and for those in interim housing is a major barrier to achieving social and economic justice and is harmful to the well-being of those so afflicted.

· Embedded in the sacred scriptures of all the world's religions is the moral mandate to act individually and in partnership with others to end homelessness.

· Homelessness can and must be ended through a range of efforts that provide either Housing Tonight or a safe permanent place to live, accompanied by programs of sustained support and as necessary pathways that promote work and foster self-sufficiency.