The City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) has released its 2016 Annual Report highlighting its funding expenditures, direct service delivery, projects, and results. Under the leadership of Catherine L. Lester, the Human Services department continues to be one of the largest contributors to Seattle’s safety net for people in times of need.
“We work with people in very difficult situations, helping them in times of need to secure their safety, health, and well-being. Since the “whys” for them are often systemic, social, economic, and political, commingled into a tight knot that my colleagues and I cannot always untangle, we set about the business of “how.” “How can we help?” “How are we upholding oppression rather than dismantling it?” “How are we being accountable in both our intentions and our actions?” said Director Lester.
“Getting to the “how” requires dedication to ongoing reflection, learning, and adaptation. In 2016, this dedication was reflected in HSD’s work to support healthy families and healthy communities through a commitment to results and racial equity, stewardship, employee ex-perience, and innovation,” Lester continued.
Highlights from 2016 include:
• 9,548 individuals served by Family Resource Centers;
• 778,692 emergency meals served to low-income persons as well as individuals experiencing homelessness;
• 1,210 outreach visits made to the homeless population in unsanctioned encampments to provide referrals for housing, case management, substance abuse, and mental health assistance; and
• 12,505 Senior Center participants.
The 2016 Annual Report identifies the department’s $147 million investment in services that address six core areas; data and impacts on the community, and a story from an individual who received services or participated in a program during 2016. The full report can be found on the Human Services Department website, or here.
The departments work is focused around six core impact areas: 1) Preparing Youth for Success, 2) Supporting Affordability and Livability, 3) Addressing Homelessness, 4) Promoting Public Health, 5) Responding to Gender Based Violence, and 6) Promoting Healthy Aging. Across the six focus areas, the department invests in programs and services that promote racial equity, and create tangible change for the people being serviced.
HSD fulfills the role of planner, grant-maker, and direct service provider as it relates to Seattle’s safety net within the City of Seattle structure. It works in partnership with The Mayor’s office, Seattle City Council, City of Seattle Departments, Community-Based Organizations, Service providers, and individuals within the community.