URGENT: King County is considering eliminating ALL County general funds for human services in 2010 in order to balance their budget.
**Please forward this message to ALL concerned with human services in King County**
If your agency utilizes any county money or any of your program participants utilize any services provided with county support- speak up NOW!
What can be done? The King County Council Law, Justice, health and Human Services Committee is holding a hearing next Wednesday, July 29th, at 1:30pm in County Council Chambers.
Consider this the first budget hearing for 2010. This committee will be sending a recommendation to the Budget Committee about human services funding and they are actively considering a recommendation to dedicate a portion of the General Fund to human services.
But this will not happen unless we show up, in strong numbers, with compelling stories.
MESSAGES from Alliance participants to King County Council and Executive:
We commend the members of the Law, Justice, Health, and Human Services Committee for exploring options for maintaining critical services.
In order to continue providing these services, which are urgently needed by King County residents, the King County Executive and Council must dedicate a temporary 3.2% of the General Fund to community health and human services until a long-term solution is in place, starting with the 2010 budget.
This action is vital at this time because:
1. Dedicating 3.2% of General Funds will preserve services to help residents of King County meet their basic human needs, while we work together to find a long-term solution.
These services are especially critical in times of severe economic stress, like our communities are currently struggling with.
EXAMPLE: Describe the needs and successes of services you are familiar with, as well as what will happen if they are not available.
2. Dedicating 3.2% of General Funds will keep the human services infrastructure in place and operating, while we work together to find a long-term solution.
In addition to reducing the human misery, maintaining the infrastructure is also more cost effective. It is much more expensive to rebuild this foundation than to maintain it, and will take years to bring back to current levels if it is dismantled.
For example: In dental services, when funding is lost, we not only lose the specific dental “chairs”, we also lose the building, and the human infrastructure- including dentists, volunteer dentists, and other specially trained staff and volunteers.
EXAMPLE: Give examples from different service areas.
3. Dedicating 3.2% of General Funds will align the county’s budget policies with the county’s human services policies, while we work together to find a long-term solution.
The King County Human Services Policy Framework states: “In concert with federal, state, and local governments, service providers, non-profit organizations, foundations, faith communities, businesses, schools, the criminal justice system and others, King County will seek to build and sustain a coordinated regional human services system to provide services, supports, safety and opportunity to those most in need.”
4. We agree with Councilmember Lambert’s comments on July 22nd that the County has already been prioritizing in these times of economic duress. Our recommendation of a 3.2% set aside will allow for the re-establishment of services at the 2008 levels. This would leave in place $7.5 million in cuts made since the 2006 level of $26 million.
Dedicating 3.2% of the General Fund will not solve the problem of adequate, stable funding for urgently needed community health and human services in the long-term. Our elected leaders must continue working, unabated, to implement long-term solutions so that services are available when King County residents find themselves in need. And at least until those solutions are in place, this temporary set aside is a critical measure to ensure the strength of our communities.
The members of the King County Alliance for Human Services pledge to work with you toward that end. We are in difficult times. We need you to stand up for vulnerable King County residents. We need leaders who are heroes and champions. Thank you.
FYI- Why 3.2%? This would hold us at 2008 levels of service and funding.
Detail: The current estimates for 2010 King County General Fund stand at about $580 million. 3.2% of that would yield $18.5 million. The 2008 General Fund allocated $17,533,000 for human services in 2008, and $925,000 to community health clinics through public health. This totals $18,458,000 for community health and human services. This is still a cut from the 2006 levels, which were over $27 million.
If we are to have any chance to maintain county funding for human services we have to pack Council Chambers. Chambers are on the 10th Floor of the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle, filling the block between 3rd and 4th, to the south of James.
Will you, and your board, and your program participants, and community allies be there on Wednesday?
Merril Cousin, Executive Director, King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and KCAHS Co-Chair; and
Mike Heinisch, Executive Director of Kent Youth and Family Services and KCAHS Co-Chair