Access to services in the community still available, uninterrupted

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Contact: Norah M. West, 360–902–7833, norah.west@dshs.wa.gov

Long Beach, WASHINGTON — Next month, Washingtonians in the Long Beach area will be able to access services like food, cash and medical benefits and other supports online and over the phone as the Department of Social and Health Services’ brick-and-mortar Long Beach Community Services Office will close permanently on Nov. 30, 2020.

“COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we gather in public buildings,” noted David Stillman, assistant secretary for the agency’s Economic Services Administration, which administers public benefits. “Because of our commitment to customer service, we have been deliberate and forward-thinking when designing several ways for Long Beach area residents to access services through DSHS. …


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Throughout the month of October, DVR’s Business Services and Pre-Employment Transition Services teams co-partnered on a two-part, weekly virtual forum welcoming employers and accessibility advocacy groups to engage with youth and DVR customers seeking job opportunities.

The October forum comprised eight sessions:

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Rachel Kiken

Week 1: Organizations WISE and PAVE presented on advocacy.

Week 2: VIGOR’s Rachel Kiken shared about the many career opportunities VIGOR supports across multiple states. WA State Laborer’s Union explained to attendees about opportunities in its statewide apprenticeship program, which is a paid apprenticeship program that opens doors to many different jobs in the labor industry.

Week 3: Hilton’s Larry Freshler spotlighted employment opportunities, job flexibility and upward mobility within its various franchises. Hyatt Hotel’s John Ficca highlighted the hotelier’s Seattle/King County-based Hands On @Hyatt internship program, which provides employment pathways into many departments within Hyatt. …


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A poem from a patient at the Child Study and Treatment Center, where the nonprofit Pongo uses poetry to help in therapy. This poem is among several that will be published in the anthology “The Real I Feel.” The publication, the second featuring CSTC patients, will be released in 2021.

From group counseling to one-on-one sessions with a psychologist or even a soccer game, therapy takes many forms.

Including poetry.

The Child Study and Treatment Center makes poetry a central part of its recreational therapy program that encourages patients — some as young as 6 years old — to express themselves in creative ways.

CSTC has teamed with Pongo, a Seattle-based nonprofit, since 1999 to help the facility’s patients work through their trauma and other troubles.

“All emotions are on the table,” said Ann Teplick, the Pongo project leader at CSTC since 2005. …


Child makes pizza, broccoli in a dish
Child makes pizza, broccoli in a dish

OLYMPIA — In the spring, hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians lost their job due to COVID-19. She was one of them. A single mom, she was home all summer with her three children, two of whom had been in school when the pandemic hit. They were struggling to make ends meet.

This family is one of thousands in Washington state who qualified for a U.S. Department of Agriculture food benefits program called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT. From June through September 2020, the Department of Social and Health Services distributed more than $147 million in food benefits to families who qualified for P-EBT, serving nearly 400,000 children. …


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OLYMPIA — As the coronavirus worsens hunger for college students across the United States, thousands more community and technical college students in Washington state will receive food benefits.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved Washington’s proposal to allow low-income students in a wider range of certificate, degree and industry-recognized programs to receive food assistance through the state’s Basic Food Employment and Training Program, or BFET, provided they meet all the other eligibility criteria. …


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The Specialized Treatment, Assessment and Recovery Ward, better known as the STAR Ward, at Western State Hospital opened to patients in early February 2020.

The STAR ward specializes in treatment for patients who are deemed to be the most assaultive at Western and is limited to only 10 people being treated on the ward. …


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Contact:
Norah West
norah.west@dshs.wa.gov
(360) 489–5587

OLYMPIA — The Department of Social and Health Services recently received nearly $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue its ongoing work of detecting and preventing food benefits fraud. Washington is one of nine states awarded the two-year grants, which are intended to help increase the accuracy of household Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits and protect taxpayer dollars.

“Our state has long been recognized as a leader in food benefits accuracy and fraud detection,” said DSHS Secretary Cheryl Strange. “We’re proud to receive this grant, which allows us to continue to develop innovative ways to ensure the continued integrity of this vital program, and to increase fraud prevention without reducing crucial access to food for Washington residents.” …


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Update: Kittitas and Yakima counties as well as the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Yakama Nation within affected areas have been added to the places that may be eligible for Wildfire Disaster Cash Assistance.

The Department of Social and Health Services has updated its Disaster Cash Assistance Program to serve people who are affected by the wildfires burning throughout Washington state. DCAP for wildfires will assist households that have financial losses that will not be covered within 30 days.

If your household was impacted by wildfires in Douglas, Okanogan, Whitman, Lincoln, Spokane, Chelan, Pierce or Thurston counties, you may be eligible for DCAP. …


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Every summer, staff at the Child Study and Treatment Center take patients on a camping trip to Penrose Point State Park in Lakebay.

As has been the case in 2020, COVID-19 altered those plans. But the CSTC team found a way to make it work. Instead of heading out to the park, the camping trip happened at a playground area on the facility’s campus. They pitched tents, cooked camp meals, tie-dyed shirts and had other outdoor fun.

The purpose of the excursion is to teach the kids interpersonal skills, teamwork, problem-solving and frustration tolerance. …


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Ryley receives his diploma

Amidst a pandemic, a little miracle occurred in the Habilitative Mental Health ward at the Department of Social and Health Services’ Eastern State Hospital. Ryley, a patient on the HMH ward (a ward specifically for persons with an intellectual disability and a co-existing mental health diagnosis) graduated from high school.

For special education students like Ryley, graduation normally occurs around the age of 21. But Ryley put in the extra effort and hard work and graduated one month after turning 19. That is a significant achievement.

Although Ryley did all of the things needed to achieve his diploma, he was not alone in achieving this milestone. Jill Jordan, Education Program Manager worked very closely with him and other Eastern State Hospital employees from the HMH ward, and from the Medical Lake School District all worked to together ensure Ryley had the tools he needed to succeed. …

Department of Social and Health Services

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