February 2023 Newsletter
A Message from EHA's Executive Director
Dear EHA Residents and Program Participants:
I became a US citizen last year after 40 years of living here. I wanted to find out what exact date I first arrived here 40 years ago. I have lots of files of papers and information. One of the files is labeled "Important Documents." I became a citizen on July 22, 2022. I found my old expired passport in the "Important Documents" file. On one of the pages, there was a stamp from when I entered the United States 40 years ago. The date was July 22, 1982, exactly 40 years before I finally became a citizen.
It was not that important for me to find out when I first came here. But it was fun realizing that it was exactly 40 years ago. If I did not have that "Important Documents" file, I would never have discovered the coincidence. There are other documents in the file that I need from time to time. My marriage certificate, my birth certificate, college degrees and other paperwork. If I needed them and could not find them, it would create a lot of unnecessary problems and time wasting.
Being organized is a vital skill in all of life, especially work. I recommend that you read the ideas and tips about organizing in this newsletter and try at least one idea to start.
Everett Housing Authority (EHA) residents, program participants, partners, and community members: We invite you to attend a virtual meeting to learn about and comment on waivers that EHA plans to implement as part of our 2023-2024 Moving to Work (MTW) Supplement, which will go into effect July 1, 2023.
Learn more about specific changes we are proposing to implement this year:
- Streamlining the annual income review process for certain fixed income households
- Implementing a new payment standard for tenants choosing to live in certain affordable housing properties
- Modifying project-based voucher choice mobility prioritization
Unable to attend the meeting? A recording of this meeting will be made available and we are asking for public comment beginning Thursday, February 9 until Monday, March 27. Share your feedback!
The EHA offices are closed to the public and staff can meet in person by appointment only. Please call if you would like to schedule an appointment.
You can continue to call your property office directly if you live at an EHA property. The EHA main line phone tree can help you connect with a staff member if you are not at an EHA property or unsure who to contact to help with your needs.
If your home office documents, family medical records, bills, and kids’ school reports dance between a pile on the kitchen table and an unmarked box in the garage, it’s time to develop a proper filing system.
What you need
- Sticky Notes
- Label Maker (optional)
- Document Binders or Hanging File Folders
- Storage Containers for Paperwork
- A Document Safe
- A Paper Shredder
How long will this take?
Be prepared to spend at least 15 minutes on the task to make some progress. Don’t be surprised if it takes you a few cumulative hours over a weekend to get everything organized. The good news is, once your documents have a proper home, you’ll only need a few minutes a week to maintain the new system.
Evaluate what you have
First, determine your end goal. Do you want to organize every document in your life? Or do you prefer to get rid of as much paper as possible? Then, touch every document and decide where it should go. Divide those documents into piles that make sense to you. As you sort, keep each pile organized with sticky notes. Here are some category suggestions:
- Actionable: permission slips and pending bills
- Household: vehicle registration, home insurance, tax documents, and medical bills; reevaluate annually
- Recycle: generic junk mail, envelopes, and loose notes
- Shred: anything with your personal information
- Relocate: anything that belongs to someone else, such as a neighbor’s mail or employer records that you need to return to the office
- [Name]: family members should have their own designations
- [Project]: bathroom renovation receipts and paint swatches, or pool remodel paperwork
- Archive: irreplaceable items, such as birth certificates, deeds, immigration paperwork, passports, social security cards, and estate plans (these should always go in a fireproof safe)
Develop a filing system
Give each file folder a recognizable name, such as Immigration, Medical, or Taxes [year]. Then, collect everything into document binders or hanging file folders for a file bin or cabinet. Individual three-ring binders work best for smaller piles of documents, such as your Actionable stack with this month’s bills and receipts. (You can also store these in a 1-gallon freezer bag and sort through them later.) Place your filing system in a secure location that is easily accessible but out of the reach of messy kids. Don’t store that fireproof document safe in a corner of your cluttered garage.
Adjust when you need to
It’s important to not let yourself get overloaded. Our experts say decluttering affects the head space as much as it does the physical space. If you’re stressed, consider breaking the task into manageable chunks and limit your work to just 15 minutes a day. Or take time to tackle it while watching an episode of your favorite show.
From Nerd Wallet
Could you afford to replace your entire wardrobe if your apartment caught fire? What about your phone, your laptop and all your furniture? If the answer is no, you probably need renters insurance.
If you’re worried about the expense, renters insurance coverage may cost less than you expect — in fact, some tenants could pay next to nothing. Find out why you may want renters insurance and how affordable it can be.
Your landlord’s insurance won’t cover you. Landlord insurance covers the structure of the building but not tenants’ personal belongings. If your TV is stolen or your dishes are lost in a kitchen fire, your landlord’s insurance won’t pay to replace them — but a renters policy typically will. A landlord’s policy is also unlikely to help if you accidentally damage a neighboring apartment. A standard renters insurance policy includes liability coverage starting at $100,000, which can pay damages and legal expenses if you’re sued for accidentally injuring someone else or damaging their property.
You probably own more than you think. Once you start tallying up the value of each item — electronics, jackets, shoes and so forth — you’ll probably find that it would cost a lot more than you expected to replace everything.
Renters insurance can pay for housing after a disaster. Loss of use coverage can also pay for restaurant meals or other expenses associated with living away from home while it’s being repaired.
It can protect your finances. Maybe you’re saving for a down payment on a house, or you’ve worked hard to get out of debt and build an emergency fund. The last thing you need is a lawsuit wiping out everything you have. This coverage can also come in handy if your dog bites someone at the park, your child breaks a valuable heirloom at a friend’s house or a guest slips and falls inside your apartment.
The cost may be less than you expect. One common reason to avoid renters insurance is the cost. The average cost of renters insurance is $168 a year, or about $14 a month. But if you have a car, you could pay less by bundling your renters policy with your auto insurance, thanks to multipolicy discounts offered by many carriers.
You may also be eligible for discounts if your apartment has smoke detectors, burglar alarms or other safety and security devices.
Do your taxes online for free with an IRS Free File provider.
If your adjusted gross income (AGI) was $73,000 or less, review each provider’s offer to make sure you qualify. Some offers include a free state tax return.
Use the IRS Free File Lookup Tool to narrow your list of providers or the Browse All Offers page to see a full list of providers. After selecting one of the IRS Free File offers, you will leave the IRS.gov website.
What you will need:
- Income statements like W2s or 1099s
- Adjustments to income
- Dependent and spouse information, if applicable
- Prior Year AGI or Prior Year Self-Select PIN
What does "free" in IRS Free File mean?
As long as you meet the eligibility criteria for the IRS Free File provider’s offer you selected, you must not be charged for the electronic preparation and filing of a federal tax return. Some IRS Free File providers do charge a fee for state tax preparation. Any state tax preparation or non-qualifying fees must be disclosed on the provider’s IRS Free File landing page.
Local transit agencies offer a reduced fare for income-eligible residents through the ORCA LIFT Program. An ORCA card allows riders to pay a reduced bus fare because their household income is less than or equal to 200% of the federal poverty level, established by the US Dept. of Health & Human Services. ORCA LIFT cards are accepted on Community Transit and Everett Transit. If you already have an ORCA LIFT card, you will automatically be charged the reduced fare.
Kids 18 and under now ride free on transit, including the ferries! Learn more here.
|Community Transit Low-Income Adult Fare||Everett Transit Low-Income Fare|
|$1.25 for all local bus routes (within Snohomish county)||$1.50 for local bus riders|
|$2 for all commuter bus routes (travel to and from King County)||·Commuter Route 70 fares will remain the same as Community Transit’s local service, including its new low-income fare category.|
How to get an ORCA LIFT card:
- Online here (because this is a regional plan, it links to a King County Metro site)
- Phone: 1-800-756-5437
- Download this PDF and apply by mail
North Seattle Maintenance Pathways has career pathing and training available through Apartment Maintenance Careers:
- Must be 18-24 years of age
- Have the right to work in Washington
- Have a diploma or GED
Apartment Maintenance Careers offers:
- Competitive pay
- Comprehensive benefits
- Housing discounts
Also included through their program is an 8-week paid job training, over 99% placement rate, and national certification.
Contact Sabine Rice:
Email - Sabine.Rice@evergreengoodwill.org
Phone - 360-358-5126
The Washington State Department of Health and Amazon have teamed up to provide Washingtonians with more money to buy fruits and vegetables. People who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Pandemic EBT benefits in Washington can now use SNAP Produce Match for Amazon Fresh purchases. When SNAP/EBT shoppers buy at least $10 of fruits and vegetables with their SNAP/EBT card, they get a $5 SNAP Produce Match promotion that can be used toward future eligible purchases.
SNAP Produce Match is available at 184 grocery stores across 30 counties in Washington as well as participating online retailers. Learn more on the SNAP Produce Match page here.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was created by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to help connect families and household struggling to afford internet service. HUD-assisted families automatically qualify for ACP and the subsidy is not considered income for the purpose of determining program eligibility or household rent.
The benefit provides:
- Up to $30/month discount for internet service
- Up to $75/month discount for household on qualifying Tribal lands
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider
HOW TO ENROLL:
- Go to AffordableConnectivity.gov to submit an application or print a mail-in application
- Contact your preferred participating provider to select an eligible plan and have the discount applied to your bill. Some providers may have an alternative application that they will ask you to complete.
Eligible household must both apply for the program and contact a participating provider to select a service plan.
CHESS OPEN PLAY GROUP
February 3 | 3-5PM | Artisans Books & Coffee | 1802 Hewitt Ave., Everett
From 3- 5 on Saturdays Artisans Books & Coffee hosts Chess players of all levels. Boards available or bring your own. Watch and learn, play a few games, match your wits. Learn more and RSVP on their Facebook page.
GRANDFAMILIES AT IMAGINE CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
February 5 | 9-11AM | Imagine Children's Museum | FREE, Registration required
Free Museum access and playtime • Opportunities to connect with other kinship families • Resources on parenting, child development and building resiliency while facing trauma • Child-centered programming with STEM and social-emotional learning 1st Sunday of the Month February 5 9 – 11 a.m. Ages 1-12* *Chronological age applies Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, click here.
AFTER HOURS: QUEERAOKE & GAYMES
February 3 | 7-10PM | Catalyst Café | $5 (includes chips!)
LGBTQ+ community: karaoke and table top game night! Feel free to use one of our games or bring your own. Here are some things you'll need to know:
- The full food and drink menus will be available.
- This is a *sober* event. No one who appears to be intoxicated will be allowed entry.
- Pets will not be allowed entry.
- We will not be censoring music selections. Some content may not suitable for people under the age of 18.
- To keep everyone safe, we ask that you not bring small children to this event.
Learn more and RSVP on their Facebook page.
LIBRARY TECH HELP AT THE WATERFRONT CETNER (EDMONDS)
February 8 & 22 | 10AM-12PM | Edmonds Waterfront Center
Meet with a Librarian to receive help with downloading library eBooks and eAudiobooks, accessing online library resources with your device, and general tech help.
TALK TIME ONLINE FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
February 8, 15, 22 | 1-2PM | Online - Must Register for Zoom Link
Talk Time Online is a fun way for adults to improve their English conversation skills in a friendly, safe and supportive environment. At Talk Time, trained volunteer facilitators lead participants in a conversation based on a weekly theme. Talk Time takes place on Zoom! To get a Zoom invitation, please register. Email address is required. Your computer or mobile device will need to have a camera and a microphone.
TEEN ANTI-VALENTINE'S DAY PARTY
February 10 | 7-9PM | Mill Creek Library | Ages 12-18 | FREE but must Register
No hateful hearts here! Celebrate your friends and enjoy some music, pizza, and snacks. Bring your creative skills for the cupcake decorating contest, make un-valentines, or just relax and play board games. This event takes place outside of the library's open hours. Doors will open at 7:00pm for this teens-only program. For ages 12-18, or grades 6-12.
MANDALAS - SILVERKITE ONLINE WORKSHOPS
February 18 | 10:30-11:30AM | FREE but must Register
Join SilverKite as we explore the ancient art of mandala. During the workshop you will be guided through a few simple techniques as you create your own stunning and intricate mandalas. Together we will learn how we can express ourselves through shape and color, and discover all the wonderful ways in which the art of mandalas can add peace and relaxation to your day to day life.
You will need:
- sheets of blank paper
- a pencil
- pen (ballpoint, gel, or rollerball)
- compass (any straight edge or circle to trace works too!)
- protractor (any straight edge or circle to trace works too!)
- ruler (any straight edge or circle to trace works too!)
- markers/colored pencils/crayons
ONLINE CRAFT & CHAT - DRAWING & PAINTING
February 28 | 11:30AM-12:30PM | Online | FREE but must Register
Craft and Chat is an online social event that offers you the opportunity to skill share, learn about library resources and make connections with fellow crafters. Join us for an hour of drawing and painting in a supportive community! Bring your own projects to work on and/or discuss. Participants share tips and tricks for techniques and materials, practices and processes.