Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy Renewal and Expansion: Advocacy Needed!

For over a decade, the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy (formerly known as the Vets and Human Services Levy) has funded critical healthcare, supports, and housing for our neighbors who need them most, along with domestic violence, public health, and other services.

Executive Constantine recently transmitted a strong proposal to King County Council, expanding the levy to be 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Now we need to urge King County Council members to BUILD ON and INCREASE that proposal, and place it on the November 7, 2017 ballot. People like YOU can help make this happen!

Take Liz Werley-Prieto as an example. Liz is the Project Manager of shelter programs at DESC who spoke at the conference on June 1st. Liz eloquently addressed how the importance of funding the levy is born out through the interactions between service providers and those they serve. Read Liz’s testimony then take action using this link and information below

Read Liz’s testimony here from May 31, 2017 at King County Council:

My name is Liz and I work as the Project Manager of DESC’s shelter program, located right across the street. Since January first, the shelter program registered more than 800 homeless clients seeking shelter who had not interacted with DESC’s services before. Almost without exception, the primary need expressed by these individuals was a place to live, and as service providers we have had to set the expectation again and again that getting a home will almost certainly be a long and difficult process, or that it might not happen at all.

Being homeless has an impact on the mental and physical health of a population already disproportionately affected by disabling conditions. For those of us working in social services, the urgency of having funding at or above the level proposed by Dow Constantine for the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy is born out every day in our interactions with those we serve.

For a much larger proportion of those who live and work in King County, the need for this levy is evident in other ways. The number of people living outside is ever-growing which contributes to the creation of makeshift encampments and leads individuals to meet their needs in ways that are financially and socially costly.

Research published in 2016 found a 44% reduction in days spent hospitalized among housed individuals as compared to the homeless, and an inpatient hospital stay in Washington State costs about $2,900 per day. The levy at hand attempts to serve veterans, older people, and others, such as the homeless, in a way that anticipates their housing and behavioral health needs rather than paying for emergency interventions when they are inevitably required. It does not increase spending on these supports, it has in fact saved $7 million since 2012 by reducing emergency medical and criminal justice involvement.

The $54 per year for the average homeowner that the levy would cost at the proposed level is money that will lead to a higher quality of life for all residents of King County, and most dramatically for individuals impacted by severe mental illness or complicated medical conditions. I urge you to support the levy at least the twelve cents per thousand dollars rate being proposed.

Now we ask that you TAKE ACTION:

Recap: SAAC June Meeting: VA TriWest Homeless Women Veteran Initiative

Susan Christ joined the Single Adults Advocacy Committee to talk about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) new program in partnership with TriWest Healthcare Alliance.  This program is a public-private partnership that will connect women Veterans who are homeless or at risk of being homeless with meaningful, stable employment.

Here’s what Susan shared about the program!

In partnership with VA, TriWest Healthcare Alliance identifies employment opportunities by working closely with female Veterans with children to match their interests and skills with employers who value these qualities and recognize that our nation’s Veterans are ideal job candidates. Our benefits advisors will meet any referred veteran in the community or at a partner organization’s facility to obtain necessary referral information and begin services to the veteran.

Through a public/private partnership between the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and TriWest Healthcare Alliance, we can assist female veterans with a variety of services and benefits Services include but are not limited to:

  • Assistance with obtaining military records
  • Connecting eligible veterans with healthcare, housing and compensation or pension benefits
  • Job coaching
  • Placement with partner employers who have committed to supporting the TriWest Homeless Women Veterans Initiative
  • Peer mentor support after job placement to ensure job retention
  • Close coordination with local employers to identify opportunities
  • One-on-one, specialized interaction with female Veterans to assess skills and employment goals
  • Continued services by VA including housing assistance and healthcare

Referral Information:

View the referral form, request for release of information and initiative fact sheet. Susan Christ mentioned that you may not have all of the information requested on the referral form, but it is fine to just fill in what information you do have and make the referral, they can fill in the blanks as they work with the veterans. Also, the release of information form can be obtained from the veteran by our benefits advisors at their first meeting with the veteran, so it is not absolutely necessary that this form is complete when the referral is made. If emailing referrals, please only include the referred individual’s first name and last initial.

 

You can direct emails and referral forms to: veteransemploymentvbaco@va.gov.