The Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy is going to the ballot!
This November, King County voters will vote on the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy. This levy is a renewal and expansion of original Veterans and Human Services Levy, which will sunset on December 31, 2017.
King County Council politics coupled with strong advocacy from the veterans, seniors, and human service communities made for an exciting few weeks of negotiations.. The final approval of the renewal ordinance took place on July 20, 2017. Coalition staff and member programs turned out for press conferences, individual meetings with Councilmembers, and full Council and subcommittee meetings to urge the Council to keep the renewal proposal as strong as possible. Compromises were made on the overall amount of funding and the structure of the renewal, but the final package going to the ballot represents a significant expansion of services for veterans, seniors, and the many who benefit from human service programs in King County.
The new proposal will increase current levy revenue by 260% and add a new funding stream for services for seniors in King County. The expanded funding will support an array of programs, including:
- shelters and coordination centers with supportive services for veterans
- new mobile medical vans to increase access to essential services for isolated, homebound or homeless persons across King County
- housing programs and tax relief to low-income seniors
- system-connected housing that promotes recovery and reentry
- senior activities and programs to promote physical, social and emotional health
- veterans’ employment programs that capitalize on the skills veterans bring from their service
Most relevant for the Coalition’s focus, the new levy will move funding for human services, including domestic violence and sexual assault services, out of the King County general fund and into a dedicated revenue source, stabilizing and increasing the funding survivors in our community depend on. This means that for the next six years, member programs will not have to advocate for their county funding, freeing up time to do the work we want and need to do: work with survivors of gender-based violence. This is a big win!
In the coming months, the Coalition will gear up to campaign for the levy’s approval in November. The crucial supports and services this levy enables comes at a time of overwhelming need in our community and we are committed to doing all we can to get it passed. Thank you to everyone in our community who showed up to contribute your time and effort to get us to this point. Now the real work begins!