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June 2012

The State Budget and Human Services

Dannette R. Smith


As the dust settles on the most recent State Legislative session, we are getting a clearer picture of how the budget affects human services.

The Legislature concluded its second special session on April 11 by passing a 2012-2013 supplemental budget that spares kids and vulnerable populations from even deeper cuts. Since 2009, the state has cut more than $10.5 billion from health care, education, and resources people need to remain economically secure during a recession, meaning that critical services have been reduced when they are needed most.

Although most safety net programs were protected from further cuts this year, the largest single reduction was $127 million in "unspent funds" from Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), which provides struggling families with child care support, job training, and help finding a job. These funds were unspent because of a decline in the number of families receiving assistance due to eligibility restrictions, forcing some families out of the program.

A quick budget summary: 

  • Apple Health for Kids fully funded, with an additional $500,000 for outreach
  • Working Connections Child Care eligibility back to 200% FPL
  • No further cuts to TANF or State Family Assistance
  • Gang Prevention Budget Proviso - Included at $250,000
  • State Food Assistance - No further cuts - funded at 50%
  • Emergency Food Assistance Program not cut (food banks)
  • Funding for free/reduced-price school meals - no cuts
  • Farmers Market Nutrition Program for WIC and Seniors - No cuts
  • WA New Americans - No cuts
  • DSHS Naturalization Services - No cuts
  • Medical Interpreters - No cuts
  • State Family Assistance - No cuts
  • LEP Pathways/Refugee Services - No cuts
  • Payment rates reduced 2% for boarding homes/assisted living services
  • Increased training, certification, background checks for long-term care workers

 One caveat: the budget bill grants authority to the Governor to make across-the-board cuts for the existing biennial budget to balance the budget later in the year due to a negative revenue forecast or if the budget comes out of balance otherwise. We will keep you informed.


Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department



Helping a beloved husband remain at home

caretakerBeing the primary caregiver for a loved one can be a daunting task. Sometimes it begins abruptly as the result of a sudden medical incident. Often, it involves a gradual change of roles in a long-time relationship.

Such was the case of Herb and Helen (who asked that we use only their first names). He is a few years older than his wife and after a certain age, his health began to decline with Parkinson's Disease and other ailments. Helen continues to work outside the home, yet takes patient and loving care of her husband. Over time, Herb's health deteriorated to the point where his wife could no longer manage his care alone. Medicaid was not a viable option for them, but they found they qualified to receive respite and other assistance through the Aging and Disability Services (ADS) Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP). An ADS FCSP care coordinator arranged for an in-home respite aide through Korean Women's Association (KWA) to help with Herb's morning routine.

At age 90 with multiple health issues, Herb requires care with all activities of daily living. Respite services make the crucial difference in Helen's ability to keep her beloved husband at home. A respite aide from KWA helps get Herb up and ready in the morning before Helen goes to work. A family friend spends time with Herb during the day to ensure his safety.

"We are very appreciative of the help we have received from ADS over the past few years," said Helen. "I don't know how I could have managed Herb's care at home without it."

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more than 43 million caregivers in the U.S. provide care for someone age 50 or older. In King County, an estimated 210,000 adults are caring for a loved one. As baby boomers get older, these numbers are expected to rise dramatically.

In addition to respite care, ADS division contracts with a  number of agencies in King County to provide services such as referrals to local support groups, counseling, training on caregiving topics, practical information and caregiving suggestions, and emergency support. Another related program, Kinship Care, supports grandparents and others caring for young children.

For more information, please visit this excellent Web site or call 206-448-3110. For information about respite care please contact Carole Bourree, Seattle Human Services Department, Aging & Disability Services, or 206-694-4696.


by Carole Bourree

Communities Supporting Safe & Stable Housing comment period ends

The Human Services Department (HSD) released the draft Communities Supporting Safe & Stable Housing Investment Plan on May 11, 2012 and received public comment through the end of May. The department received a total of 27 comments by e-mail and hard copy from a range of individuals, agencies, providers and community organizations. HSD staff will finalize the plan in mid-June and will issue a Request for Investment for some of the 2013 funds in late June. The purpose of the plan is to fundamentally improve our ability to prevent and end homelessness, while maintaining our commitment to providing safe and accessible shelters and supportive services for people who need them. For latest information, please visit HSD's blog. For a copy of the draft plan and background information, please visit this Web site.  

More than 1,000 homeless youth counted
Count Us InOn May 16th, 19 community partners - including HSD staff- banded together for Count Us In, a point-in-time count of homeless and "unstably housed" youth in King County. Thanks to a tremendous community effort, Count Us In had record participation of 1,132 youth and young adults ages 13-25 throughout Seattle and King County. For details see this Web page.

Youth gains valuable work experience
Kyle MatthewsKyle Mathews has participated in the Human Services Department's Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) since 2009. Kyle has shown a strong commitment to his future by studying hard and preparing for college, developing work readiness skills, and exploring career options. One of 20 SYEP youth selected as a City intern this spring, Kyle was placed in an internship at Seattle City Light. While at City Light Kyle developed positive working relationships and gained valuable experience in his career of choice: engineering. Kyle will be attending Eastern Washington University next fall.
Video on 'Policy of Obesity'

Weight of the nationMSW Intern Onika Shabazz's digital story, which she created as part of her internship at the Human Services Department, was shown at the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Conference, Weight of the Nation, in Washington D.C. last month. Onika took a two-day class and spent hours developing the script for the digital work. See conference link. Onika is developing a second digital story on the Farm to Table Project in which she interviewed a provider, parent and farmer.   

SE Asian young men's group wins grand prize
SE Asian Men's groupA group of Southeast Asian American students shared their experiences as members of a Seattle film project and walked away with the Grand Prize at the 2012 Spring Youth Forum in Grand Mound, WA in May. One of the prizes included a $3,000 partial scholarship to an upcoming prevention leadership conference. The project diverts youth from drug and gang activity and gives them the opportunity to learn about documentary making and film production.The Southeast Asian Men's Film Project offered by Asian Counseling and Referral Service provides high school-aged boys, primarily from refugee families (Cambodian, Cham, Hmong, Lao, Khmu, Mien and Vietnamese), an opportunity to connect with their culture, school and community through film-making. The Southeast Asian Young Men's Group is funded in part by the Seattle Human Services Department.

Summer meal program kicks off with FREE lunch on June 26
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Join Councilmember Nick Licata and Human Services Department Director Dannette R. Smith at the kickoff of HSD's Summer Food Service Program on Tuesday, June 26 from noon to 1 p.m. Free lunches similar to the meals available this summer will be served. The Fandango Project will perform music and dance. Funded by the U .S. Department of Agriculture, the Summer Food Service Program provides free meals to kids age 0-18 at 90 sites in the community from June 27 through Aug. 24, 2012.



Senior Coffee Hour to feature City's seawall project 
Join us on Thursday, June 21, 10 to 11 a.m., for an update on City's seawall project. Speakers will be Jennifer Wieland, Seattle Department of Transportation Project Manager of the Elliott Bay Seawall Project and Nathan Torgelson, Policy and Development Manager from the Seattle Parks Department.

The Coffee Hour will be in downtown Seattle in the Central Building, 810 3rd Avenue (between Columbia and Marion streets), 1st Floor.

Spotlight newsletter for seniors goes electronic
Subscribe to Spotlight, a newsletter published twice a year for older adults from the Seattle Human Services Department's Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens. To subscribe, please write to David Takami at
Human Services Coalition honors local heroes

At a ceremony on June 5, 2012. The Seattle Human Services Coalition gave out its annual Human Services Awards in different categories. This year's awardees were as follows:

  • Outstanding Organization Award - South Park Information & Resource Center
  • Excellence in Advocacy - Racial Equity Team
  • Innovative Program - Powerful Choices 
  • Stewardship Award - SOAR 
  • The Ron Chisom Anti-Racism Award - The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project 

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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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