HSD Life Lines

June 2011

2012 Proposed Budget
 

I wanted to give you a brief update on the City budget process.

 

Last month, you may have heard that Mayor Mike McGinn asked City departments dependent on the General Fund to propose a range of reductions as he prepares his 2012 proposed budget. The Human Services Department (HSD), Fire and Police were asked to propose a 3 to 6 percent General Fund reduction range. For HSD, this is approximately $1.5 - $3 million. Other departments were asked to propose a 4 to 8 percent range.

 

HSD leadership and staff are working with the City Budget Office and the Mayor's Office on proposals to meet our range of reductions. The Mayor will consider our proposed cuts and give us further instructions in mid-June. Over the summer the Mayor will continue to consider the proposed cuts from all departments, along with new revenue projections (in August). He will submit his 2012 Proposed Budget to City Council on September 26, 2011. The Council will review the Mayor's budget in the ensuing weeks and vote on a final budget by the end of November.

 

Budget concerns present challenges to the City and people of Seattle, but Mayor McGinn and I also see great opportunity to become more strategic about the way we deliver and invest in human services. "We cannot continue to whittle down departments and risk our ability to provide direct services to the public," said the Mayor. "We should explore options to create new and innovative approaches to continue to provide the services Seattle residents expect and deserve."

 

Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Summer food program to open in late June

SFSP logoA community celebration will kick off the Human Services Department's Summer Food Service Program on Saturday, June 25th, 10 a.m. to noon, at the NewHolly Gathering Center in southeast Seattle. Mayor McGinn will be on hand along with program partners and neighborhood families.

The program will provide free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for thousands of kids this summer at more than 100 community sites from June 27th to August 26th, 2011. The 2011 program includes several enhancements:

         Books! The Seattle Public Library will provide story times and free books at selected sites

         Fresh produce: The Puget Sound Food Network will help provide bags of fresh produce from local farms for families to take home for the weekend

         Saturday sites: Several meal sites will offer lunch on Saturdays as a pilot project

 

For a complete list of sites and hours for the Summer Food Service Program, please call 206-386-1140 or visit this Web site.

Summer jobs provide valuable experience for youth

SYEP tradesThe Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) kicks off another summer season on June 27th, 2011. SYEP's summer internship program provides youth with the opportunity to learn about the world of work and develop work readiness skills that prepare them for future careers. Youth will be placed in seven-week internships in a variety of sectors including technology, arts and recreation, skilled trades, green jobs, and health sciences. They will work up to 24 hours per week and earn minimum wage ($8.67/hour). This year, approximately 400 youth will participate in the program.

 

For many of these youth, an internship with SYEP will be their first experience in the work place. Research has shown that youth exposed to early work experiences are more motivated to finish high school, continue their education and get on a path toward self-sufficiency. In 2010, close to 80% of summer SYEP participants completed the program successfully. SYEP participants must be 14-21 years old, meet low-income guidelines, and face an educational and/or employment barrier.

 High school seniors bound for college

With graduation just around the bend, all of the high school seniors in the Human Services Department's Upward Bound program will be attending post-secondary schools in the fall. Eighteen of the 27 seniors will go to four-year colleges. The other nine will attend two-year community colleges. Eleven will be at the University of Washington, while others will be attending schools such as Wesleyan University, Howard University, St. John's University, Louisiana State University, Western Washington University, and Washington State University. Upward Bound prepares students to enter a two- or four-year college by supporting academic achievement, goal setting, career exploration, and helping students apply for college.

More than just food at Georgetown Food Bank

Foodbank manThe line at St. Vincent de Paul's Georgetown Food Bank swells with every arrival of a Metro bus outside the building's 4th Avenue South location. Since manager Pete O'Brien began work at the food bank in January 2008, he has seen the number of people served more than triple from about 80-120 per day to 450-500. The current recession has brought in many more middle class families, O'Brien notes. In addition to bags of food, the Georgetown Food Bank has several other services on site including a clothing bank, children's play area, a visiting nurse from Swedish Hospital, a nutritionist from Washington State University Extension, and the Human Services Department's PeoplePoint staff who help connect people with public benefits. The City of Seattle invests $70,000 a year in the food bank.

 

Mini grants will help increase access to benefits

A recently completed Request for Investment (RFI) process will help low-income individuals and families from a variety of backgrounds and communities gain access to public benefits such as child care/preschool, utility assistance, Basic Food (formerly called food stamps), and health insurance. The RFI - a total of $110,000 in federal stimulus money - will fund 39 community-based organizations with cost incentives of $1,000-$5,000 to encourage the use of the Washington Connection web portal and to help clients apply for benefits. The awards were announced in mid-May and among the grant recipients were Teen Feed from the University District Homeless Advisory group, seven small agencies serving African immigrants and refugees, a shelter/transitional housing program, several early childhood education programs, and an agency serving deaf and blind clients. The incentive may be used for "capacity building" efforts that increase an agency's ability to assist clients in applying for benefits. The contract period will be May to November 2011. One agency has already used the portal to help three families apply for child care benefits.

 

Homeless shelter investment report

The Human Services Department (HSD) invests more than $6.7 million annually from local and federal funding sources in emergency shelter programs for homeless people. A recently issued shelter investment report by HSD staff provides information on these investments, including a brief history of HSD investments, a description of the current funding sources and program services, and a look at populations served. 

Nurse Family Partnership helps mothers and babies

NFP logoThe Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) helps low-income mothers and their babies break the cycle of poverty and provides long-term health benefits for both mother and child: The City invests $526,000 in this intensive, evidence-based home visiting program for first-time low-income mothers and their infants. Services are provided by nurses during pregnancy until the child's second birthday. For more information, please visit this Web site.

 

Downtown child care center seeks children
Boy with blocksLocated in King County's Chinook Building on 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle, Northwest Center Kids is seeking children for its full time program, which serves children ages 6 weeks through pre-kindergarten. The City of Seattle helped fund the development of the center with $1 million from the City's Child Care Bonus Program. As a condition of receiving these funds, a portion of the families served must have low incomes. For more information about Northwest Center Kids, please call 206-286-2390. 
Budget cuts bring end to Old Timers Picnic

Oldtimers picnicBudget cuts and the loss of a major sponsor have brought an end to a 38-year tradition, the Old Timers Picnic, offered by several City agencies each August as a summer outing for seniors. Co-sponsored by Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Human Services Department's Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, and Senior Services, the picnic provided a hot dog lunch, an outdoor experience at a park, live music and entertainment, and information from the Mayor, civic leaders, and service providers. In recent years the picnic has taken place at Woodland Park Zoo.

  
City Light offers Skagit tours for seniors

Seattle City Light has offered tours of its hydroelectric projects on the Skagit River for 80 years. After a brief hiatus, the tours have returned, with several options available to visitors. The original boat tour of Diablo Lake remains. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in July and August, guests can book a tour. Thursdays in July and August are reserved specifically for seniors ages 62 and older. For more information, please visit the Web site.

Register for 2011 Families & Education Levy workshops

The Office for Education is sponsoring a series of more than 20 workshops beginning on June 23rd, 2011 for anyone interested in the implementation of proposed levy renewal strategies. City staff, school staff, community members, staff from community organizations, staff from foundations and anyone else interested in partnering or applying for levy funds are invited to attend the workshops. Scheduled from June through October, the workshops will provide opportunities to collaborate. Registration is required. For a schedule of workshops see this Web link.

 

HSD logo

Life Lines is published monthly by the City of Seattle's Human Service Department. Our mission is to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work and take part in strong, healthy communities. For more timely or breaking news, visit our blog, Human Interests, or visit our Web site. If you have questions, please e-mail David Takami or call 206-684-0253.

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