June 26, 2013
To King County Councilmembers
Re: Community Response to Health and Human Services Transformation Plan
Dear King County Councilmembers:
The King County Alliance for Human Services is committed to the vision that all people across King County have access to the services they need in order to realize their full potential.
Alliance members were honored to be part of developing the Health & Human Services Transformation Plan that will guide program funding for community health and human services. While we appreciate the effort and vision of the plan, we are distressed by the lack of an element critical to success – funding.
Simply put, people are suffering because we do not have the resources necessary to help them. Any new plan, no matter how visionary, requires a strong foundation on which to build. The plan before you lacks the resources required to succeed. And in this case, people will continue to suffer needlessly.
This is an opportunity to correct that. A plan to improve the health and well-being of King County residents, reduce racial disparities, and improve population health must include adequate resources to achieve the vision created by council (Council in Motion 13768).
We urge you to consider the following issues and make the needed changes in the plan before you approve it.
- Creating “the conditions or setting the stage for” new revenue is not enough. The plan must include a strong component affirming the need to create new revenue for regional community health and human services in order to meet the current need as well as the future goals of integration.
- No wrong door, no closed door. Services must be available for any King County resident, not only those who enter the system through proposed pilot projects, established collective impact efforts, or the medical or mental health system. For this reason, services must be adequately funded inclusive of and beyond those entry points.
- The plan inaccurately reflects that agencies are in need of resources. People are in need and agencies provide the services and advocacy to meet the needs of King County residents.
- Doing yet another study of need is antithetical to efficient and effective use of resources. We have the information now: established reports and surveys from across the county have long identified the needs in our communities. Together, the County and the community also have the capacity now to bring this information together to create an initial allocation plan for a new revenue stream for these services. We need to call on these resources and act immediately in response to the urgency of the needs.
- The plan calls for the development of a transformation fund, stating, “To the extent new revenue tools are developed they should be used to establish a ‘transformation fund’ that assures investments support the move toward version 3.0 of an integrated health and human services system.” It is critical to the successful delivery of services that new revenue is not limited in allocation to a transformation fund, but is instead allocated according to need for services.
- The plan points to the Affordable Care Act as initiating savings within the current health care system as well as generating new funding opportunities. It must be made clear that these ACA related opportunities, even if realized, are focused on medical and mental health systems and are not designed to address the long-standing needs for regional human services, nor does it develop a strategy to fund human services critical to the success of this effort.
We are honored to participate in a process that will produce real outcomes for the people we serve. We believe in the power of good government and prudent leadership and we thank you for both in these tough times.
Merril Cousin and Mike Heinisch, Co-Chairs, on behalf of
Participants of the King County Alliance for Human Services
cc: King County Executive Dow Constantine
Organizations signed on so far, starting with
Coalitions of Organizations:
Community Health Council
Church Council of Greater Seattle
Housing Development Consortium of Seattle – King County
King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence
North Urban Human Services Alliance (NUHSA)
Seattle Human Services Coalition
Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH)
Youth Development Executives of King County
The Arc of King County
Asian Counseling & Referral Service
Atlantic Street Center
Catholic Community Services of King County
Child Care Resources
CHS-Village Spirit Center
Center for Human services
Consejo Counseling and Referral Service
Country Doctor Community Health Centers
Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN)
Eastside Legal Assistance Program
The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s
Help Within Reach
Horn Of Africa Services
Interim Community Development Association
International Community Health Services
Kent Youth & Family Services
King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
Kirkland Interfaith Transitions in Housing (KITH)
NAMI Greater Seattle
Northshore Youth & Family Services
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
People Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (POWER)
Phinney Neighborhood Association
Renton Area Youth & Family Services
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
Seattle Indian Health Board
The Service Board
Southeast Youth & Family Services
Southwest Youth & Family Services
Tenants Union of Washington State
Turning Point Seattle
University District Food Bank
Youth Eastside Services
The Youth Suicide Prevention Program
Building support to help people throughout King County meet their basic human needs