Op-Ed: Act NOW to Show Your Support for Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy

Monday, July 3, 2017

The following is a statement from the staff of NUHSA - North Urban Human Services Alliance

If you believe a healthy community begins with all of us, now is the time to act!

The King County Veterans and Human Service Levy connects military veterans and people who are vulnerable to programs and services that help them live healthy, productive and meaningful lives. It helps individuals and families, remain stable in their homes, find affordable housing, get job training, find employment, receive behavioral health treatment, and more.

The current Levy will expire at the end of this year, so officials have been working to gather input on a new proposal for 2018 to 2025. The new levy has added Seniors to its focus: it is being proposed as the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy.

NUHSA and other human service agencies are recommending a minimum of 12 cents for this Levy (15 cents would be even better!).

A reduction in the levy amount would mean millions less for seniors, people with disabilities, homeless people, people struggling with mental illness, people struggling to overcome addiction and incarceration and their children and families all left out in the cold.

Losing this funding would have a tremendous and negative impact on our area. In Shoreline, nearly 16% of our residents are over 65; in LFP, the number is almost 18%.

Furthermore, more than 26% of people in Shoreline are living at or below 200% of the poverty level, and more than 11% in LFP are living at this level. 

(The Federal Poverty Level for a household of 2 is $18,670 for a family of 4, it's $28,290. As you can imagine, even living at 200% of poverty level provides significant and highly impactful challenges for people in our area.)

If you agree with NUHSA and the human services organizations in North King County and throughout all of the County that a healthy community starts with valuing and supporting all our citizens--especially our most vulnerable--please act now to let your Councilmember know.

Call or email your King County Councilmember and let them know that you agree the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy should be 12 cents at a minimum-- or even better, 15 cents!

For Shoreline, LFP, and Kenmore, our Councilmember is Rod Dembowski206-477-1001 rod.dembowski@kingcounty.gov

What else you can do:
  • Levy Board meetings are open to the public. Find out more here
  • Learn more about the Levy here

The proposed measure will cost the owner of an average home in King County - currently $450,000 - about $3 more each month. The owner of an average home currently pays about $1.50 per month to fund the levy, which will go up to $4.50 per month if it is renewed.

The new levy will generate just over $400 million over the next six years, that's $66 million each year, continuing our commitment to veterans and vulnerable populations - and meet the needs of our region's growing senior population.

Yes, this tax is regressive since the only tools we currently have to work with all are. At the same time, this levy includes an exemption/rebate on property taxes for lowest income seniors, so they will actually pay less taxes if it passes than they would if the levy is not implemented.

The members of the King County Alliance for Human Services provide a range of services that help strengthen communities and families across the county at all points in the life-cycle, from early childhood to aging well. We help people going through crises like domestic violence, homelessness, or food insecurity, as well as our supporting our youth and seniors.

NUHSA aims to build the community’s capacity to respond to human service needs in North King County, encompassing the cities of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville.


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