How can we help? Top
Frequently Asked Questions –
Community and Human Services
Food stamps, medical coupons
Public Housing, Section 8
How do I donate/volunteer?
Court ordered community service
Mental health/substance abuse services
Employment services – youth and adult
Food stamps, medical coupons
Is this where/how I get my food stamps/medical coupons/etc.?
To sign up for food stamps, medical coupons or similar benefits, you need to contact the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). The easiest way to do this is through a Community Service Office and there are several around the county. To find the site closest to you, click on the link above and enter your zip code. You will be given the address and phone number for the office nearest to you.
Public Housing/Section 8
Are you the same thing as the King County Housing Authority?
No, the King County Housing Authority is a separate entity and is not part of county government. The general phone number is 206-574-1100.
I need Section 8 housing/public housing. Can you help me?
Section 8 housing and public housing are coordinated by the local housing authorities. They are not part of King County government or DCHS. Three separate housing authorities operate in King County.
King County Housing Authority or call 206-574-1100
Seattle Housing Authority or call 206-239-1500
Renton Housing Authority or call 425/226-1850
I have a health/medical issue and I don’t have any money. Do you know who can help me? (Also dental, child’s health, vaccinations, etc.)
Public Health services are provided at Public Health Centers located in Seattle and King County. For information about services and locations call 206-296-4600 or TTY Relay: 711. Not all services are offered at every Public Health Center but they will be able to direct you. There are also low-cost Community Health Clinics around the county. You might also talk to a state Community Service Office for DSHS to see if you qualify for medical benefits.
I am homeless/at risk of becoming homeless and don’t know who to call. Can you give me some help?
There are emergency shelters located in several cities in King County. Call the Community Information line - dial 211 from any phone within King County - and they will walk you through the services and housing options that may be available to you or go to the Community Information line on the Web.
I need to apply for Unemployment Income. Can you help me?
You need assistance from the State of Washington Employment Security Office. Call the telecenter at 1-800-318-6022 or go to www.go2ui.com
How do I donate/volunteer?
I have two good mattresses (clothing, furniture, etc.) and want to donate to an agency that will accept or need them. Who should I call?
Call the Community Information Line and they can help you. They try to link people with something to donate with an agency that has that need. The number is 206-461-3200 or call 211 from any phone in King County.
I want to help in human services. How do I volunteer?
The Department of Community and Human Services has ten citizen advisory boards that offer volunteer opportunities for individuals who want to have a voice in planning for services in the areas of aging, alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment, developmental disabilities, mental health, regional human services, veterans, women’s issues and more. Check the link above to find out more. Many other kinds of volunteer opportunities are available in community agencies. Go to the Community Resource website operated by the Crisis Clinic or to the United Way of King County volunteer page.
Court ordered community service
I have been court ordered to community service. Can you help me with some ideas?
There are several different types of courts in King County: municipal, district, superior, and federal. All courts have different rules about completing your court-ordered community service. If your case is from a municipal (city) court, you should call that court. If your case is from the King County District Court, call Probation Services at 206-205-5340 . If your case is from King County Superior Court, call King County Helping Hands Community Service Program at 206-296-1196.
I’m a veteran and need help.
King County Veterans’ Program is here to help you. Staff will talk to you to determine your needs and what services may be available for you. Eligibility criteria apply for some services. Services include help with housing, financial assistance, trauma counseling, referrals to mental health and substance abuse services, and other assistance. The main office is in downtown Seattle at 206 296-7656 and another full time office is open in Renton at 205-3211 (Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.). There are also satellite sites around the county on varying days and times. Either of the main numbers can help you with information on alternate locations. Information is also available online at King County Veteran’s Program.
What do I need to qualify for assistance?
You must have your Form DD214 and income documents. Other documents needed will be determined by your social worker when you call.
How much will I receive, and how often can I get assistance?
The amount is determined on a case-by-case basis.
How long will it take for my landlord to receive a check? Why do you need my landlord’s social security number?
It can take up to 15 business days for the check to be received. The Veterans’ Program needs this information for W-9 reporting purposes.
Where can I get a Veterans Identification Card (VIC)? Why can’t you use my veterans ID card as proof of my service?
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a Veterans Identification Card to use at all VA medical facilities. The VIC is issued to all veterans who are eligible for medical benefits and only for the purpose of identification and check-in for VA medical appointments. For information about the VIC (what it is, how to get one, what to do if lost or stolen, when it can be used, etc.) go here for details.
For purposes of establishing benefits, the VIC does not work as the Veterans’ Program must have proof of the service dates and the character of discharge to determine eligibility for programs and services.
Do you help find houses/apartments for veterans?
We may be able to assist with the move-in costs and first month’s rent, but the client has to find and obtain an “intent to rent” letter or lease agreement on their own. Talk to your social worker for more information.
How can I get into a William Booth bed? How long can I stay?
You must register and enroll with the King County Veterans’ Program. Beds are available on a first come, first serve basis. Call daily to check availability. As for the length of stay, your social worker will be able to assess the need.
Who is my social worker?
Not all clients are assigned social workers. If you do not have one you will see the Staff of the Day social worker.
Am I considered a veteran if I was in the National Guard?
It depends on the time served in the National Guard and completion of service commitment. Talk to the Veterans’ Program to discuss your situation.
Do you know of any other agencies that can help me?
We have various lists of agencies that can help. You social worker or intake worker will attempt to assist you, but you can also call 211 for a comprehensive list of agencies available to address your needs.
Mental health/substance abuse
I have a family member or friend who has a mental illness / a chemical abuse problem, and I am worried about him or her. What help is available in King County?
First of all, ask yourself if the person may be a danger to himself/herself or others. If so, call 911. If your friend or family member is already enrolled in the public mental health or substance abuse service systems, suggest that they call their case manager right away. If the person is low-income, but not currently enrolled in Medicaid, the first step is to call and make an appointment at the nearest DSHS Community Service Office to discuss enrollment. If the person has Medicaid and is not yet enrolled and wants a referral to a community agency nearest to them, call Mental Health Client Services at 1-800-790-9049 or the 24-hour Alcohol/Drug Hotline (Seattle area 722-3700 or toll-free 1-800-562-1240) for assistance. You don't have to have your Medicaid card yet as long as you have an appointment to be evaluated, in order to make an appointment with an agency. Internet or phone resources for information and referral include the Crisis Clinic hotline (1-86604CRISIS) or the 24-hour Alcohol/Drug Hotline (Seattle area 722-3700 or toll-free 1-800-562-1240).
I have a client who is moving from out of state to Seattle, who will need medication and continued treatment. How can I help him or her get linked up with treatment in Seattle?
Call the King County Mental Health Plan Client Services Line at 1-800-790-8049 or call DSHS to find out about eligibility for state support services.
I just received a letter telling me I have continued mental health services (or terminated services), and I have some questions about the letter.
Call the 1-800 number on your letter (or call Mental Health Plan Client Services at 1-800-790-8049) and select “Option #2” on the menu. Care Authorizers will help with your questions.
Employment Services – youth and adults
I was recently laid off, and need to find a place I can get some job training and some help. Can you help me?
The King County Work Training Program may be able to help you. They provide a range of job placement and training services. They are located at WorkSource Renton and the number is 206-205-3500. There is also a Dislocated Worker Program that specifically works with people who have been laid off or downsized. That program can be reached at the same number. For additional unemployment service information, including other sites in the region, go to the Washington WorkSource website.
My child/student is/has dropped out of school. I’ve heard that you might be able to help get him/her on track with education or job training. What services do you offer at YouthSource?
YouthSource is part of our Work Training Program that provides alternative education and employment training opportunities for youth 16-21 years old. We specifically offer basic skills remediation so that students can prepare for GED testing, which is available onsite. All students are also assigned a case manager who will assist them in goal setting to work towards a GED credential and post secondary education placement. Case managers also provide job readiness training, along with opportunities for subsidized work experiences. In addition to education and employment services, YouthSource gives access to other resources that will support youth in self-sufficiency.
How do I enroll a student into YouthSource?
There may be a waitlist to enroll in the YouthSource program. Youth can be referred to our program, or walk in on their own. To enroll, youth must attend an information session or orientation. At that time, we provide more detailed information on the services available and eligibility criteria. After a youth attends an orientation they will be contacted by a case manager to finish the enrollment process. Official enrollment into the program requires some basic skills testing, a probation period, and obtainment of necessary enrollment documents.
I have a youth at home who will be looking for summer work. Can you help me?
Contact our Work Training Program staff in Renton at 206-205-3510 to discuss what programs might be available, depending on eligibility criteria.
I need housing repair services and I don’t have any money. Can you help me?
The Housing Repair Program provides interest-free loan and emergency grant services directly to low and moderate-income home owners in King County, outside the city of Seattle, to repair their homes or make disability accommodations. The program also provides grants to individual low-income renters with a disability to help make their housing more accessible. The Housing Repair Program phone number is 206-263-9095 and they are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. If it is after hours, please leave a brief message and your phone number and they will call back the next business day.
Does King County/Housing and Community Development Program help a person find a place to live?
No, the Housing and Community Development Program does not provide services that help an individual find housing in King County. We have a resource section on our Web site to assist you in your search for affordable housing. Go to the Housing Resources section here to find referral numbers or call 211.
Do you help people buy a home with no downpayment?
King County contracts with community agencies that provide homebuyer education, counseling and down-payment assistance. Go here for numbers for referrals to Habitat for Humanity, HouseKey, HomeSight and others.
How do I get a public defender?
Come to any of the Office of the Public Defender screening locations (there are seven sites) and a staff person will help you with a financial interview.
What do I need to bring with me to apply for a public defender?
· Your court summons, which should show your case number, charge, next court date and type of hearing scheduled
· Your two most recent pay stubs
· Your most recent bank statement
· A copy of your income tax return
· $25 for a processing fee, payable by cash or check
How can I speak to an attorney today?
You can call the Attorney of the Day at 206-447-3900 x519, Monday through Friday from 12:15 – 1 p.m. to receive general legal advice.
Aren't public defenders supposed to be free?
Public defenders are free if you are determined to be indigent (very poor). If you have enough money that you are not considered indigent, but not enough to afford your own attorney, you are considered “able to contribute.” In this case, the OPD screener will have you sign a promissory note to help defray the cost of the attorney, which can be paid back over a period of months. In either case, under county law you still must pay the $25 processing fee.
What are OPD hours?
Offices are open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You must have your court summons with you if you arrive after 4:15 p.m. for an interview or you will need to return the next day with your court summons. No appointment is necessary.
How do I apply for developmental disability services?
Please contact the State Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities at 360-725-3413 or the Region IV office (King County) at 206-568-5700. They can begin working with you over the telephone to begin the application process.
Who is my DD case manager? I need a case manager – how do I get one?
Please contact the State Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities. See question above.
Who do I contact to start a group home?
Please contact the State Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities.
What does King County do to help people with developmental disabilities?
The King County Developmental Disabilities Division offers services for infants and toddlers birth to age three through contracts with local providers, and offers a range of family supports and employment assistance through community based agencies. Go here for more information.
I/my family member have/has a developmental disability. What types of housing assistance can I receive through King County?
King County DDD can assist state enrolled people. Please see information on eligibility for enrollment with DDD. If you are a client of State DDD, King County DDD can assist you in identifying housing options and possibly in finding affordable housing. We work through your case manager to identify housing that is appropriate for you. The first step is to contact your case manager who will get information from you about your housing needs. King County DDD and State DDD will then identify affordable housing that is available, and add you to a wait list of people who need housing. If you are about to lose your housing, KCDDD may be able to help you with temporary assistance, if that assistance will help you maintain your housing over the long term.