Getting to know NUHSA

Monday, May 23, 2016

Imagine a glass of water. Just nothing but pure H2O.

Now imagine that you release a drop of something into the water. It doesn’t matter what it is: ink, salt, lemon juice, blood, whatever you can think of.

You know what happens. The drop doesn’t stay confined to the area in which you initially dropped it. The drop, whether of something good or bad, spreads. Eventually, the entire glass of water is infused with whatever was in that drop.

That’s the way community works. If one of us struggles, it doesn’t affect just that person; it affects all of us. A struggling person is, in effect, a struggling community.

This is where human services come in, and that’s where NUHSA comes in.

NUHSA is the North Urban Human Services Alliance. NUHSA advocates for human services in North King County (NKC), on behalf of its residents and the agencies that serve them.

Although it is the smallest, and often forgotten, sub-region of King County, our communities are well-connected and in a position to address key community needs. 

NUHSA empowers these communities to meet the critical human service needs in our area and to establish a sustainable system of social and health services for Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline, and Woodinville residents.

Did you know that 10.5% of Shoreline residents are living at the poverty level? In Lake Forest Park, 6.8% are at this level. In Bothell, Kenmore, and Woodinville, the numbers are 7.6%, 10.0%, and 5.5%.

Did you know that in the Shoreline School District, 356 enrolled students are homeless? That’s nearly 4% of our students.

The costs of these challenges are not minimal:
  • Homelessness has been estimated to cost society as much as $40,000 per individual.
  • Substance abuse costs to society are estimated to be as much as $11,487 per individual.
  • Victims of domestic violence incur medical costs of $2,665 and lost wages of $435 per assault. 

Further, a recent KING 5 report stated that “Research shows that when rent goes up by $100 from one year to the next, homelessness increases by 15-39%.” As our area’s growth continues to surge, the challenges residents face increase exponentially.

When anyone in our community struggles, we all struggle. The wellbeing of one person affects the wellbeing of all of us.

Conversely, when one person is raised up, we are all raised up. When one person starts to thrive, we all do.

Our cities and councilmembers are aware of the challenges, and we are making strides. King County Executive Dow Constantine recently implemented the Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Strategy, a program funded by the Best Starts for Kids levy. The program focuses on keeping people from becoming homeless in the first place, thus minimalizing other issues that often follow and making them easier to solve.

Still, there is much work to be done.

NUHSA works with our member agencies in North King County to help educate and advocate for the wellbeing of everyone in our community.

We invite you to find out more:
  • Become a member, whether through your agency/organization/company, or as an individual!
  • Follow us on Facebook
  • And on Twitter
  • Join our mailing list 
  • Come to a board meeting (third Wednesdays, 9am at Shoreline City Hall; no meetings in July and August)
If you want to become even more involved, our Membership and Policy Committees are open to all interested citizens – you don’t even need to be on the board! (Send us an email to find out more!)

And stay tuned for some trainings we have coming up in September and October, on how to be an effective advocate, and what human services resources are available in our community. (Join our mailing list to ensure you don’t miss out!)

There’s no denying the North King County area is one of the best places to live, anywhere. Together, we are working to ensure we all continue to thrive.

--NUHSA Staff


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