KUOW radio aired a three-part series on aging in late April that featured Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens intern (and jobseeker) Katherine Kirsch in the story “Work: The New Retirement Plan.” A story on affordable housing for seniors, “A Quiet Crisis,” refers to the Seattle Human Services Department’s Aging & Disability Services (ADS) division projections that the number of seniors living in poverty will double by the year 2025. A third story, “Who’s Caring For The Caregiver?”, discusses services to help caregivers cope with stress. KUOW reporter Ruby de Luna worked closely with ADS staff on these stories.
On April 12, the State Legislature reached agreement on a budget and revenue package, and for the most part, human services were spared from drastic cuts. Legislators were faced with a $2.8 billion shortfall and ended up using a combination of additional federal funds, new tax revenues, budget reserves and targeted program spending cuts to close the gap. Here is a summary of how key health and human services fared in the process:
- GAU now “Disability Lifeline”: General Assistance-Unemployable (GAU) benefits were preserved at lower level than budgeted; the program was also reorganized and renamed “Disability Lifeline”; in one new measure, cash assistance and medical care are now limited to 24 months within a 60-month period, potentially cutting off 1,000 people in King County.
- Housing Trust Fund: $30 million was appropriated for low-income housing instead of the hoped for $100 million; of this amount, $25 million will support workforce housing.
- Early Learning: Four important bills supported early learning, including making voluntary pre-school available to all at-risk three- and four-year-olds by 2018; directing the Department of Early Learning to develop a comprehensive birth-to-three plan, establishing a workgroup to develop a comprehensive plan for a voluntary program of early learning, recognizing that early learning has a major impact on basic education; and, extending the time low-income families can receive state-subsidized child care, starting with children in preschool. Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) was cut by $193,000.
- Basic Health Plan: Fully funded. Some public health programs experienced cuts, including dental programs, tobacco prevention, colon health program.
- Senior Citizens Service Act: Preserved at current funding level.
- Medicaid: Adult Day Health was retained and a slightly lower level. Slight decrease in home care rates and hours for some clients. Case management stays at current rate.
Public Health – Seattle & King County has been awarded two highly competitive federal grants totaling $25.5 million over two years to address obesity and tobacco use. Obesity and tobacco use are leading contributors to premature illness, death and health care costs locally and nationwide. These federal stimulus dollars (part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program) provide one-time funding for policy, systems and environmental changes by local community organizations, schools, businesses and governments. Examples of grant activities include supporting corner stores in offering more healthy options, providing healthier foods in schools, and restricting tobacco marketing.
Interested in applying for funds?
Public Health will conduct a Request for Proposals process and award grants to school districts, local governments, and community organizations. Letters of Intent are due April 21; please visit the program web site, http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/partnerships/cppw.aspx,for more information. Submitting a Letter of Intent is strongly encouraged (and earns an additional 10% in the rating process and makes an organization eligible for technical assistance). If you have questions or want technical assistance from Public Health in completing your Letters of Intent, please email CPPW@kingcounty.gov.
The Seattle Human Services Department’s Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens is collaborating with Seattle Public Utilities and Senior Services’ Minor Home Repair program to provide low-income homeowners with free toilets. Toilets offered by Seattle Public Utilities flush well, help conserve water, and save homeowners money. According to Seattle Public Utilities, replacement of older toilets with high-efficiency models can save a family of four up to 24,000 gallons of water and $140 each year.
If you meet the following criteria and income guidelines, you can qualify for free toilets and installation by a licensed professional plumber:
- You are a homeowner of any age with a Seattle Public Utilities account.
- You currently live in the home you own.
- Your existing toilets were manufactured before 1994.
- You meet income guidelines for your household size (examples below).
|Household Size||Annual Income||Monthly Income|
|1||$ 28,560||$ 2,380|
|2||$ 37,344||$ 3,112|
|3||$ 46,140||$ 3,845|
|4||$ 54,924||$ 4,577|
|5||$ 63,708||$ 5,309|
|6||$ 72,492||$ 6,041|
To sign up or get more information, contact Minor Home Repair at 206-448-5751 (TTY 206-448-5025) or e-mail UDP@seattle.gov.