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Federal Way awards human services funding to 28 nonprofits

Deciding which of the 79 nonprofits applying for human services funding would be awarded money for the 2011-2012 budget cycle was not an easy process.

Every two years, Federal Way's Human Services Commission accepts and reviews applications for the funding, which includes funds from the city's General Fund and federal Community Development Block Grant monies. This year, requests for more than $1 million outpaced the $511,607 in human services dollars available — $430,000 from the city's 2011-2012 budget and $81,607 in federal monies.

The number of applicants and the amount of funding requested was more than the city has seen in recent years. It signifies the need the community is experiencing as Federal Way and the region struggle to bounce back from the economy.

"Basic needs grow even more in these kind of times," said Robert Wroblewski, Human Services Commission chair.

Agency funding

The city awarded funding to 28 nonprofits operating 40 human services programs. Some of the nonprofits that received funding:

• Federal Way Boys and Girls Club for its Federal Way Safe Zone.

• Child Care Resources for homeless childcare.

• DAWN for housing, community advocacy and a domestic violence crisis line.

• Federal Way Community Caregiving Network for rental assistance and emergency shelter.

• FUSION for transitional housing.

• Jewish Family Services for immigrant services.

• Multi-Service Center for emergency shelter, food and clothing bank and a general education program.

• King County Public Health Department for a medical/dental van.

• Senior Services for Meals on Wheels, and transportation.

• King County Bar Foundation for community legal services.

• Catholic Community Services for Reach Out homeless mens shelter, emergency assistance programs and more.

• Communities in Schools for mentoring and other programs.

• Federal Way Senior Center for its nutrition program.

• Birth to Three Developmental Center for family services.

Meeting Federal Way's needs

The basic needs category received the most funding from the city's portion of the money. Per the Federal Way Housing and Human Services Consolidated Plan, at least 37 percent of the total available funding coming from the city (which has been set at $430,000 since 2006) must go to agencies running programs that supply basic needs. This year, the commission allocated 40.5 percent of the funding to basic needs programs. Basic needs include food and shelter.

Of the $430,000, 28.8 percent went to agencies serving a special needs population. The programs in this category make it easier for populations to participate in the community. This includes overcoming language barriers.

The low-income families with children category received 15.7 percent of the total funding. Remaining funding, 15 percent, went to nonprofits offering community safety programs. The programs help keep Federal Way families free from crime.

Application process

Each of the applicants submitted a 15-page application. Commissioners used a seven-page rating tool to consider the applicants' worthiness for funding. Applications were each placed into one of four categories based on whether their program supplied basic needs or community safety, or served a special needs population or low-income families with children.

Agencies in the 90th percentile in the ranking process were awarded funding. Performance of the agency, gaps in necessary services to Federal Way, the ability to leverage grant money, whether the nonprofit served Federal Way specifically or the region as a whole, and administrative overhead were also considered when deciding which agencies to fund.

"This year was extremely hard, even agonizing for commissioners and staff," Wroblewski said.

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