Opportunities

A new federal internet discount program

Need help with the costs of internet access?
Discounts of up to $50 per month are now available through the national Emergency Broadband Benefit program to qualifying low-income households.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in collaboration with internet service providers, has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households (and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands).

Home and mobile internet service providers offering the EBB discount in the Seattle area include Comcast (Xfinity), CenturyLink, Wave, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, PCs for People, and Human I-T. For a complete list of participating providers in Washington, see the FCC’s program provider list. Current Comcast Internet Essential customers automatically qualify for the EBB program and can enroll directly through the Comcast EBB site.

Wave Simply Internet and Internet First customers have to first confirm their eligibility through the GetEmergencyBroadband.org national verifier and then have Wave apply the discount. More information is at the Wave EBB page.

New customers and those with other existing services need to apply through the GetEmergencyBroadband.org national verifier to confirm eligibility and then work through participating internet providers.

Families and households are eligible if they receive Medicaid, SNAP, or other public benefits, are school lunch eligible, are already in the Lifeline program, receive Pell education grants, or have lost jobs and income during the pandemic. More eligibility information: getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify.

The EBB also has an element that enables internet providers to offer a one-time discount of up to $100 to their EBB eligible customers to buy a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from the provider. The internet providers that are offering this part of the program in the Seattle area include T-Mobile, PCs for People, and Human I-T.

To see if you qualify and learn more about these programs, the list of providers and online application are available via GetEmergencyBroadband.org or by calling the national support line at 833-511-0311. If you are assisting others or spreading the word, the FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit toolkit offers outreach materials in different languages.

Community

In honor of Chris Cornell

May is Mental Health Awareness MonthSadly, Chris Cornell died four years ago. There is a bronze statue of him next to MoPOP, the Museum of Pop Culture, which I walk by frequently, usually on the way to a grocery store. I honestly knew nothing about him until I heard about the statue and how his death affected Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, a great champion of Path with Art. They were friends and often performed together.

Remember that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. If you need someone to talk with, please do not hesitate to reach out. One resource is easy to remember: call 711 or 1-866-427-4747 on your phone and you will be connected with someone.

While Path with Art is not a social service agency, one of my goals is to create a peer-to-peer support network. Like many others, I suffer from depression, including thoughts about suicide. You can reach me and others on the blog editorial team via blog@pathwithart.org. We really are in this together. Never forget that.

Community · Interviews · Partners

A Refuge in Little Saigon

Seattle Clubhouse members

by Tim ‘Birch’ Schooler

The setting was a snowy day in Seattle, and things were fine since we interviewed by streaming video. The Seattle Clubhouse proper is near the corner of 14th and Main Streets in the Little Saigon neighborhood. Clubhouse staff opened on that day, though there was to be an earlier-than-usual closure because of bad roads from the weather.

The Seattle Clubhouse is a safe space where members living with mental illness can step out of the shadows of social isolation and into the light of a healing community. Through meaningful relationships, our Clubhouse members have real opportunities to reintegrate into society by becoming gainfully employed, pursuing education, and attaining stable housing.”

In the digital sphere of Clubhouse and prior to our interview was the occasion for several members to chat by video conference from their homes. Nik, a Clubhouse associate, provided details from working on the Recovery Times newsletter.

He organizes a monthly schedule for production. He has taken it from a rudimentary packet that went out on a quarterly basis prior to his arrival to a monthly newsletter. We sat by our computer screens, and I started by asking Nik about the evolving Recovery Times newsletter.

“I thought that we could expand it,” he said.

Since it is now published monthly, among the benefits of improved formatting, there is further engagement with the members in the work of the Clubhouse. Recovery Times has become a creative outlet for writing and for poetry of the Clubhouse members. Nik went on to explain, “We have a lot of people who want to write. It so happened that it developed that way.”

Prior to his moving to Seattle, Nik contributed to a book created by the Clubhouse in Hawaii. Nik recorded responses of Clubhouse members in meetings in Hawaii. After he transcribed their comments, they were added to the coffee table book. He “wanted to give something back” to the Hawaii Clubhouse. A copy of that coffee table book was presented to lawmakers to emphasize the importance of the Clubhouse to its members.

Seattle Clubhouse photo collage

Then as now, Nik wants to give a voice to people who might not otherwise have a means of expression. Fast forward to his time in Seattle and Nik had no prior experience with the software that the Clubhouse uses for the Recovery Times. He uses that application because it is affordable.

Nik also talked about the editions of the Recovery Times which is a printed publication firstly, but also has a digital distribution. He said that making something only as one thing does not involve more people. Print and digital editions of the same Recovery Times publications benefit members and include people who don’t have computers or smartphones.

Nik said that a Clubhouse member doesn’t need to think about buying a computer, and that is a benefit because computers are not cheap. Nik includes care for the environment as inspiration which is an important value with the operation of Seattle Clubhouse.

“There are no filters,” he said. Writers may submit almost anything for Recovery Times. “For the most part, it is what members want to write.” That is important since the philosophy of Clubhouse International means that staff and members work together and move toward mental health wellness.

Nik learned about bringing up the enthusiasm and abilities of the members. When a member mentions wanting to write about a Clubhouse event, he starts out by asking, “What did you do?” Writing follows from his prompts like that one. Nik then emphasized, with a smile, a Seattle Clubhouse member who always has a topic ready.

“A vibrant Clubhouse program in Seattle provides family members, friends, businesses, downtown stakeholders, and persons living with mental illness a low-cost option for gaining respect, hope, and unlimited opportunity to access the same world of friendship, housing, education, and employment as the rest of the community.”

Community · Short Story

Becky and Baby

Baby the Goat

This is Baby. I came to meet him in a very unusual way. His owner’s sister called me for help. It seems the owner, a fifties-ish woman, was fleeing a domestic violence abuser. They had been sharing an inoperable RV on an urban farm. She’d had enough, so she had the RV towed to a place in Seattle both strange to her and uncertain as to safety.

I found her and within minutes I’d been introduced to Baby, who was sharing the RV with the woman, whom we can call Becky. Other than the oddity of Baby the Goat, Becky had lived a rather full life with a developmental disability serious enough that even she reported to being at about 3rd grade level on reading and comprehension.

Becky managed well in most other ways such as upkeep of the RV, fixing her meals, and so on. But the RV’s engine was a quagmire. It needed this, it needed that, and mostly these were guesses. Not so unusual in the world of vehicle residency where too many engines either stop working or never worked.

I took on sharing some of the many tasks with her that faced her. She needed the Benefits Law Center to straighten out how badly Social Security had messed up her status, such that they kept shrinking her allotment. For that connection we’d been helped by Mary’s Place. Becky wanted to get a battery and we had to drive 20 miles for the right size. She was still dedicated to getting this RV running. On the way back I made use of a colleague at Solid Ground to do intake of Becky into the Homeless Management Information System and to do an assessment.

Our Scofflaw Mitigation Team (SMT) partnership with St. Vincent de Paul provided Becky with one of their case managers. While all this was progressing, it was clear Becky’s abuser had learned where the RV was. She had it towed about 5 miles away to an old neighborhood of hers. Not exactly fooling the abuser who had his friend’s keep looking for her and once they did, to keep an eye on her. For our part we engaged the Sheriff’s Deputies. But she had to get out of the RV. It was never going to run. And it wasn’t safe.

My reaching out to Catholic Community Services enabled her to gain shelter, now being offered in a local hotel. On one of our drives to/from gaining her some supplies, I asked where she wanted to end up. “I just want a place where I can live and Baby can be there with me.” I asked, “what would you like to do once there?” She said, “I’d like to sew.”Bill Kirlin-Hackett

In each of us there is a wish, a dream, a vision, and it issues as fulfilling our deepest desire of what peace looks like. Our SMT knows that the homelessness system will not deliver that vision to Becky. So we’re putting out an “ad” through faith communities for some willing congregational-member family with some land on the fringe of town with an accessory unit on the property to house Becky and Baby, and then some interior space for a sewing machine.

It is an incomplete story, as most stories are. For now, they are both safe.

Bill Kirlin-Hackett
service organization partner and
member of the Program Advisory Board, Path with Art

Opportunities

Access Art: Seattle Opera’s Don Giovanni

For Path with Art’s first Access Art event of 2021, Seattle Opera’s new production of Don Giovanni will be available to stream through from March 12 through 28.

Fate catches up with the legendary libertine and brings his joyride to a shocking conclusion in this dark masterpiece, which is filled with bold and evocative music.

On March 19 at 5pm, join Seattle Opera Community Engagement Manager Alex Minami for a 30-minute pre-show talk to learn more about Mozart’s beloved drama of sin and punishment, Don Giovanni.

Register for Access Art here!

Community · Partners

A major gift to SAM

An art collecting couple recently gifted more than a dozen 20th-century abstract expressionist and European masterworks, collectively worth about $400 million, to the Seattle Art Museum. SAM plans on opening the collection to the public in October.

Included are works by Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, and three often overlooked women artists of that era — Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler.

“The acquisition means that ‘in one gift, in one fell swoop,’ SAM will have one of the best public collections of New York school paintings in the country.”

Abstract expressionism developed in New York in the 1940s and 1950s.

Community

Portraits from a Path with Art Advanced Painting class are featured on the ArtsFund blog

“WE NEED ART AND ART NEEDS US”

How much art exposure do you need everyday to reduce stress and anxiety?

How can we use art as a form of meditation?

Is the pandemic fostering a new generation of artists?

This month on the ArtsFund blog, the president and CEO of Sound, formerly Sound Mental Health, reflects on the importance of art during periods of increased isolation brought on by the pandemic and more. Learn about how arts exposure can positively impact your mental health.