The Seattle Human Services Department has published (online) its 2009 Annual Report. The report provides a snapshot summary of the department’s accomplishments and outcomes in 2009 in data, photographs, and inspiring stories of people who have turned their lives around with the help of City-funded programs.
Mayor Mike McGinn recently announced the launch of a new City Web site to track how federal stimulus money are used in Seattle. The Web site, recovery.seattle.gov, shows how the city is using money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in seven investment areas: economic development, community development, social services, public safety, environment, energy, and transportation. So far, Seattle has received about $107 million through ARRA. Stimulus dollars directly benefit local businesses and nonprofits throughout the entire city.
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law as a direct response to the nation’s deepening economic crisis. The Recovery Act represents a $787 billion funding package that includes direct funding, tax cuts and tax benefits. The Recovery Act has three immediate goals:
- Create new jobs and save existing ones
- Spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth
- Foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending
New moms in the U.S. are increasingly older, better educated and born in other countries, a new study found, and these shifts promise to change child care, preschool and pre-kindergarten. The study is “The New Demography of the American Mother” by the Pew Research Center. For details visit BirthtoThrive Online.
In a preview of what the 2010 Census may reveal, a new study by the Brookings Institution, “The State of Metroplitan America,” shows the demographic transformation that is taking place in the U.S, especially in urban areas. Along with several other U.S. cities, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellvue is termed a “Next Frontier” area because it exceeds national averages on population growth, diversity and educational attainment. For the Seattle Times article on this report, click here .
Applications are now available for a new infant and child care center in the King County-owned Chinook Building, located at 401 5th Ave. The new center is expected to open this September. For application information, visit http://www.nwcenterkids.org/.
The center will be operated by Northwest Center’s Child Development Program and is expected to serve approximately 60 infants and children. Due to the high demand for infant and child care in downtown Seattle, Northwest Center is planning to hold a lottery among applicants. Online applications for the lottery will be available in early May, and Northwest Center plans to close the lottery and select families in June.
The new center is the first center to receive funding, approximately $1 million, from the City of Seattle’s Child Care Bonus Program. As a condition of receiving these funds, at least 20% of the families served will have annual incomes equal to or less than 80% of the area median income. For more information about Northwest Center’s Child Development Program see this Web site. For information about the city’s Child Care Bonus Program e-mail Ken Astrein, Seattle Human Services Department, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Mayor Mike McGinn and City staff held the first public meeting on the Mayor’s Youth and Families Initiative on Monday, Feb. 22. This was the first in a series of five public workshops to help define a youth and families agenda for Seattle. The other four meetings will be held on March 1 at Northgate Elementary School, March 8 at Van Asselt Elementary School, March 15 at Denny Middle School, and March 22 at Garfield Community Center. For more information please visit the Mayor’s Web site.