Veterans, human services levy worth the cost
July 16, 2011 · 10:36 PM
On the Aug. 16 ballot, King County voters will be asked to renew the Veterans and Human Services Levy, passed by the voters in 2005. The levy rate for 2012 will be identical to 2011. Thus, the 2012 levy cost for a home assessed at $400,000 will only be $20. From 2013 through 2017 the rate can increase a maximum of 3 percent annually. Half of the funds will be reserved for veterans.
Since 2005 the levy has served over 82,000 clients, providing services to assist veterans, end homelessness, improve mental health, and strengthen families. These services have been effective and saved money. For example, King County reports that by connecting incarcerated veterans to services, jail costs were reduced by nearly $1 million; that residents of levy-funded apartments with services use 84 percent fewer public hospital days than when homeless, saving nearly $500,000; that the “Nurse Family Partnership” reduced child involvement in the criminal justice system and increased educational achievement; that the PEARLS Program has been 96 percent effective in improving senior mental health.
In our depressed economy, there is an even greater need for medical and human assistance than in 2005. Renewal of the levy is therefore a necessity for our community.
Diana F. Thompson, Bellevue, Chair of Advocacy Committee of Bellevue Network on Aging