“For the next six years seniors, veterans and vulnerable individuals and families throughout King County are going to be supported as never before.”
StoryServices supporting those homeless who have served our country and the region’s growing senior population highlight the Veteran, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) implementation plan unanimously adopted today by the Metropolitan King County Council.
“The voters of our County overwhelmingly supported the VSHSL levy last year because it is a game changer for the way we go about supporting our most vulnerable populations,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, prime sponsor of the levy’s implementation plan ordinance. “Our community has high expectations for what the proceeds of this levy will accomplish and I am pleased this spending plan meets those expectations and beyond. For the next six years seniors, veterans and vulnerable individuals and families throughout King County are going to be supported as never before. Perhaps most importantly, we are making a major investment in affordable housing which our region desperately needs.”
“The passage of this implementation plan is a giant step forward for King County to address our region’s homelessness crisis,” said ordinance co-sponsor Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “The need for these funds and services has never been greater for our local communities.”
The implementation plan governs the expenditure of VSHSL proceeds and is the result of collaboration among the county, local governments and service providers. The public also had an opportunity to review and comment on the plan, including at a special meeting of the Health, Housing and Human Services Committee held at the Pike Place Senior Center last month.
Approved by voters last November with a 69-percent favorable vote, the VSHSL is a six-year levy that focuses on serving three populations: veterans and their families, seniors and their caregivers, and vulnerable populations. The role of the levy is to serve vulnerable people throughout the county by strengthening and supplementing programs that already care for these populations in need and by creating new programs where none exist.
The levy will provide support to reduce homelessness and provide greater housing stability for veterans, seniors, and vulnerable communities. It will also continue to support county residents who are living in poverty, are immigrants and refugees, who are survivors of domestic violence, and those who have experienced, housing, health, or financial insecurity.
Veterans who have served their country and are now in need of services, including help in getting off the streets, is a major part of the VSHSL, with the implementation plan calling for steps that will help achieve the goal of housing 75 percent of the identified number of senior homeless veterans. It will also provide services to help veterans avoid homelessness, find employment, and other needed support, such as child care for those who attend college or job training.
The plan will also support seniors in our communities by helping build social engagement through senior centers and other programs that support healthy living and better connect isolated persons and groups to the county’s broader community.