Disproportionally high rates of unemployment. A low-wage job market with racial discrimination. High cost of living. These barriers to economic security have long existed for Black Washingtonians, but in recent years have taken on new forms. A staggering 21% unemployment rate peaked in 2010 and remains high today, while studies show that Black job applicants are less likely to get hired even with a college degree. The release of a new study, “Creating an Equitable Future for Black Washingtonians”, uncovers this startling research and much more. The study also identifies multiple solutions for improving opportunities for Blacks in our state. Download the Economic Security excerpt from the study, attend an upcoming webinar, and learn how you can help us start the conversation to strengthen our state’s economic and civic future by visiting http://www.BlacksWA.org.

We are thrilled to announce the release of a new study: “Creating an Equitable Future for Black Washingtonians”. About a year ago Centerstone formed a coalition which commissioned this report to research the major ways our social, economic, and political systems in Washington State intertwine to create barriers that impede progress within the Black community. The report identifies multiple solutions for improving opportunities for Blacks in our state. These solutions would not only help to improve the well-being of Blacks as individuals and as communities, but they would also serve to strengthen our state’s economic and civic future. Visit http://www.BlacksWA.org to learn more about the research findings, how this report can help our community, and how you can get involved.

For many families in Seattle, eating 3 meals a day is a struggle—they can barely make ends meet. On April 7, we’re asking you to skip just 1 meal and donate your lunch money to Centerstone’s Food Bank to help us Take Out Hunger. Give a little back and make a big difference! Help your neighbors in Seattle to eat well and stay healthy so they can live a better life. Suggested donation: $12

Centerstone was contacted by Jean’s daughter Stacy who was looking for help for her mother. Jean has a chronic respiratory illness which requires her to use medical life support equipment at home. Since Jean is unable to work, meeting expenses can always be challenging. Stacy is usually able to help but has had to recently take care of emergencies with her children. Jean was awarded $150 from Bridge the Gap to help keep her electricity and medical devices running. “My mom worries a lot so having this help lets her focus on getting stronger” says Stacy. “We are thankful for how you have helped our family.”

“I’ve been so worried about how I’m going to make it. My kids are everything and I hate that they have to go through this.” Constance, a domestic violence survivor, relocated to Seattle in January of ‘14 after escaping an abusive partner. She and her kids slept on couches and in their car until she was able to scrape up enough money to lease a small apartment. After a few months, her money began to run out and she was having a very difficult time making ends meet. “When we got our place I thought that everything would be okay, but our money just wasn’t enough.”

After being referred to Centerstone by a friend, Constance received an energy assistance grant but still needed more to prevent her lights from being turned off. Bridge the Gap provided Constance and her family with the extra $393 she needed to keep her power and lights.

Constance is now working and current on all of her bills. “My kids are happy and warm. I’m thankful that there is help for people in situations like ours.”

“I can’t thank you enough for everything that you have done for me. I’ll be okay after this.  You have helped a lot.”

Joshua was a single dad facing not only disconnection of his electricity but also eviction from his apartment which he shares with his young son. After only working part-time for most of 2014, he had just been accepted to a trades apprenticeship program which will provide income and other support services, including child care, while he completes his training. However, all of that seemed to be in jeopardy. After searching for help he was referred to Centerstone for assistance with his light bill. Joshua applied for energy assistance but was still $150 short of what he needed to prevent disconnection.

Joshua received a $150 Bridge the Gap donation which ensured that he would keep his electricity and heat. He was also referred to the Centerstone Rental Assistance Program which helped him with his outstanding rent so that he and his son can remain in their apartment.