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October 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm #605264
We are seniors at the Center School, (four of us live in West Seattle) and have been studing Mayor McGinn’s budget this year. We have written an editorial and are looking to spread the word on the budget in regards to health and human services. Please take a moment to read and respond. Thank you for your time.
The Health of Seattle
By: Emily Hancock, Alyssa Kaplan, Ciara Kenny, Lillie Moses & Morgan Pikul
Seniors at The Center School
Imagine your family is struck by the failing economy. You become a statistic; you are now a part of the 14.7% living under the poverty line. The bank forecloses your house, you’re on food stamps, and the money that the state gives you simply isn’t enough. This is a harsh reality for many families living in the Seattle area according to the Seattle Health Services Coalition. The answer to our needs lies within the proposed Seattle City Budget. The budget includes an added $1 million to homeless families in the form of shelters and transitional housing, $500,000 to childcare for 75 low income families, $180,000 to domestic violence support and the addition of $133,000 for an outreach program. However this does not mean that all problems have been solved. This is a great start to the proposed budget but we can do more. We need to remove the outreach program, improve funding to shelters and increase support to low-income childcare and domestic violence organizations.
“Without shelters, people will die…we are not the America we used to be…homelessness is on the rise” says one Tent City resident. The number of people in need of shelters has increased over five percent in the past three years, but the number of shelters hasn’t increased, according to Seattle Times. The $1 million this year’s budget gives to shelters isn’t enough to sustain the influx of people that need help. By simply taking a bus through downtown, you can see the severity of the problem: lines down the block at shelters, people riding the bus to get out of the cold, and children pan handling on corners. We can’t continue to turn a blind eye.
Providing childcare to a child from a low-income family costs the city of Seattle over $6,500 per child. The 2013 budget provides support for only 75 children, but leaves 248 children on the waiting list. Many parents are faced with the challenge of finding a safe, affordable place for their children to stay, so they can return to work to keep from being pulled further under the poverty line. Not only does childcare help the family, but it boosts the economy by putting people back into the work force. We have the power to make this positive impact.
On average, for every one person that comes to a domestic violence (DV) shelter, they have to turn eleven people away due to lack of funding. Furthermore, most DV shelters are for women. While visiting New Beginnings it was reiterated that, “DV does not discriminate against, age, sex, money, etc…. Violence happens to everyone” There is little support and very few places for men experiencing DV to go. “You have to help people in their darkest hours… a little money can go a long way…and councilmembers can go farther to make the change we need” (Merril Cousin). By improving funds to DV the city can provide more services to victims, especially to men, in order to help them healthily return to a more positive, and safe life.
But where can we find the money to make these changes? The answer is simple. Amazon.com’s recent purchase in South Lake Union, can free up to $5.8 million in the general fund. If this money is utilized efficiently, the changes outlined above, as well as many others, can be a reality. If you have an opinion regarding Health and Human Services in Seattle please use your voice. Testify at the Public Hearing at City Hall on October 25, 2012, or write a letter to Councilmember Tim Burgess, head of the budget committee. You too can be heard.October 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm #774594October 21, 2012 at 2:40 am #774595October 21, 2012 at 5:28 am #774596October 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm #774597October 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm #774598
it occurs to me that my brevity last night left too much room for misinterpretation
well said active.students
shed22.. you are right. it isn’t all that simple.
but if you don’t start somewhere you never get anywhere.October 21, 2012 at 9:49 pm #774599
I am just curious what this revenue from Amazon is? Property tax? Excise tax? Sales tax? If things go into the general fund or get split with the State, it is never as simple as moving a revenue to an expense, but I like the thinking. It is nice to see these kids engaged and thinking about the folks that live paycheck to paycheck, one month away from homelessness.October 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm #774600
kgdlg is right. Government accounting is brutal and its not as simple as just taking money from Peter to pay Paul. There is a lot more that goes into this.
I applaud the afford though and I am not saying it can’t happen.October 24, 2012 at 1:49 am #774601
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