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King County Executive News

King County Executive News
July 13, 2011

Report on Veterans and Human Services Levy highlights successful delivery of services to 30,000 veterans, families and others in need

Expansion of veteran services, creation of 234 new housing units, improved health, and family stabilization cited in 2010 annual report

More than 30,000 veterans and others in need across King County were helped in 2010 with housing, health care, counseling and job training to assist them toward healthier and more stable lives, according to an annual report on the Veterans and Human Services Levy transmitted by King County Executive Dow Constantine and briefed today before the King County Council's Regional Policy Committee.

"The voters who last approved the Veterans and Human Services Levy should be pleased to know the funding they provided has changed life for the better for thousands of local veterans, their families, and others in need," said Executive Constantine. "From affordable housing to emergency assistance, these programs are working as intended to provide support to our service men and women returning from overseas, and to individuals and families struggling with an uncertain economy."

The 2010 Veterans and Human Services Levy Annual Report documents the accomplishments of a range of programs and services funded through the levy, which was last approved by voters in 2005.

"The Veterans and Human Services Levy has helped fund more and better services for veterans and others who have fallen on hard times and need a hand up in getting their lives back on track," said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, sponsor of the Veterans and Human Services Levy and Chair of the Council's Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. "These annual reports show how Levy funds have been used to make a difference in people's lives."

"The report affirms that this levy continues to support veterans and individuals in their transitions toward healthy and self-sufficient lives," said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, chair of the Regional Policy Committee and is himself a retired Major with service in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve, and Washington Army National Guard.

The new report documents the many ways in which levy-funded services and supports have improved lives in 2010, including:

  • Funding for seven affordable-housing projects and adding 234 new units of housing for low-income individuals and families, including 56 units reserved for homeless veterans,
  • Expansion of the King County Veterans Program from a single office to a total of 10 service locations and 22 outreach sites, serving more than 4,600 veterans, military personnel and family members throughout the county,
  • Establishment of a Veterans' Hotline to help veterans and their families connect to services and information,
  • Funding for a National Guard Family Assistance Coordinator to help active duty and returning veterans with issues related to multiple deployments and other family needs,
  • Integration of mental health and substance abuse treatment services in 26 community clinics to improve access to care,
  • Funding for a Mobile Medical Unit for South King County that offers clinics for homeless persons in South King County, with 1,249 total clients visits receiving medical, dental and psychiatric assistance,
  • Provision of emergency assistance through the Housing Stability Program to prevent homelessness for 1,655 households countywide; one year later, 93 percent were still in their housing, and
  • Provision of pre- and post-natal services to 500 young, low-income mothers that have helped them prepare for birth, care for their newborns, and build parenting skills for the future.

A total of $15.4 million generated by Levy revenues was allocated to programs and services during 2010, targeted to helping low-income individuals and those most in need. Of that total, 40.7 percent was provided to residents in South King County, 37.1 percent was provided in Seattle, 13 percent was provided to residents of East King County, 4.5 percent was provided in North King County, and 4.6 percent was provided to people with no known previous address.

The Levy established two volunteer citizen boards to provide oversight of the development of policies and programs. Together, those volunteers have reviewed requests for proposals for new programs and services, reviewed and analyzed reports on outcomes, and spoken to community groups.

"The Veterans Levy demonstrates our commitment to helping our less fortunate veterans," said Douglas Hoople, retired Navy Lt. Commander and Vietnam veteran and chair of the Veterans Citizen Levy Oversight Board. "We have created permanent housing opportunities for our homeless veterans, and put in place a level of services that sets the standard for the state and the rest of the country."

"This report represents the results of countless volunteer hours and the work of providers and partners across the county working to end homelessness and help vulnerable individuals and families to stabilize their lives and futures," said Loran Lichty, co-chair of the Regional Human Services Levy Oversight Committee.

King County voters approved the Veterans and Human Services Levy to create a new fund source dedicated to helping veterans, military personnel and their families and other individuals and families in need. The priorities for community investments include:

  • Enhancing services and access for veterans, military personnel and their families
  • Ending homelessness through outreach, prevention, supportive housing and employment
  • Increasing access to behavioral health services
  • Strengthening families at risk.

The Veterans and Human Services Levy was approved by the voters for six years and expires at the end of this year.

For more information on the Veterans and Human Services Levy contact Linda Peterson, King County Community Services Division Director, at 206-263-9019.