United Way of King County

 

January 27, 2012

HEADLINES

Local
Homeless Count finds more than 2,500 people living on the streets
Volunteers spend time and send messages on national day of service
King County releases state legislative agenda

State
Update of UWKC state agenda
DEL seeks input on child care subsidy rule changes

Public sector job loss slowing Washington’s economic recovery
Housing and child care assistance available for individuals and families

Federal
In a time of vast budget reductions, most Americans say “no” to cutting food stamps
Despite economy, homelessness declines

Advocacy by charities pays off

Local

Homeless Count finds more than 2,500 people living on the streets 
The 32nd annual One Night Count of homeless people in King County took place in the early hours of Friday, January 27. 800 volunteers fanned out across the county and found 2,594 men, women and children who are homeless and without shelter, a small increase over last year. Officials from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and Undersecretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs joined the count.  Read this press release to learn more.

Volunteers spend time and send messages on national day of service
Thanks to the more than 500 volunteers and 300 providers that assisted 1,500 people experiencing homelessness with a range of services at the Community Resource Exchange (CRE) on January 13- the event was a real success! And, just a few days later, 1,600 volunteers braved the snow to log 7,000 hours of community service in honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  United Way used these two days to send messages to state legislators about ending homelessness and meeting basic needs, including over 130 postcards from volunteers and guests of CRE to their legislators asking them to support the Housing Trust Fund, the document recording fee and Housing and Essential Needs.

King County releases state legislative agenda
The King County Council adopted its 2012 state legislative agenda on January 17 prioritizing the preservation of basic needs services such as health, housing and human services as one of the key issue areas it will focus on.

 
State

Update of UWKC state agenda
The state legislature is nearly one third of the way through its 60 day session. While a number of major policy bills have been introduced and voted upon in committee, there has seemingly not been the level of urgency in resolving the state budget urged by the Governor.  United Way has continued to advocate for major issues affecting housing and homelessness including Housing Trust Fund, document recording fee, and Housing and Essential needs. To learn more about these issues and their status, go to our blog .  You can also listen to this Thursday hearing on the State of Homelessness in Washington State.

DEL seeks input on child care subsidy rule changes
The Department of Early Learning is seeking input on proposed Working Connections (WCCC) and Seasonal Child Care (SCC) subsidy rule changes and related sections of child care licensing rules by February 13.  DEL is revising the rules to implement state and federal audit recommendations on the subsidy programs, portions of 2011 Senate Bill 5921, and other changes to help promote the health and safety of children in license-exempt in-home/relative care settings where children receive WCCC subsidies.  Go here for information on providing comments.

Public sector job loss slowing Washington’s economic recovery
Many Washington industries have suffered heavy losses since the onset of recession, but the public sector has been hit particularly hard. These jobs, which range from road crews to public school teachers, are an important part of Washington’s economy, and rapid losses are slowing our economic recovery.  Arun Raha, the state’s former chief economist, explained “Public sector jobs pump their paychecks into the economy. Less state and local government jobs translate to less paychecks circulating to boost private businesses and to provide tax income.”

Housing and child care assistance available for individuals and families
Two state programs are available to help people with rent assistance and child care.  Individuals enrolled in the state Medical Care Services may be eligible to receive up to $400 in rent and utility assistance through a new program called Housing and Essential Needs (HEN).  In addition, families that meet income qualifications may be eligible for assistance with child care through Working Connections.  Go here for information about HEN and here for more information on applying for child care assistance.    Please encourage all eligible to apply! 


Federal

In a time of vast budget reductions, most Americans say “no” to cutting food stamps
The Food and Research Action Center released polling data last week showing Americans overwhelmingly support SNAP, the federal food stamp program. While some federal and state legislators advocate cuts to SNAP, which currently serves one in seven Americans, 77 percent of voters (across all racial, gender, income, and party lines) said this was the wrong way to reduce spending.

Despite economy, homelessness declines
A new report released by the National Alliance to End Homelessness reveals that despite the poor economy,  homelessness in the U.S. declined by 1 percent between 2009 and 2011, likely due to federal investments focused on homelessness prevention and quickly re-housing people that became homeless. The State of Homelessness in America 2012 examines changes in national, state and local level homelessness data, and gives homelessness ratings for the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country: Seattle – Tacoma – Bellevue metro area was rated the 8th highest in homelessness rates.  

Advocacy by charities pays off
The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy study examined 110 charities in 13 states and found that advocacy campaigns such as pushing for more aid to schools and housing for the poor resulted in $26.6 billion in benefits to communities over five years.