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United Way targets South King County

United Way of King County is putting the money of contributors where it’s needed most: South King County.

The organization’s board of directors last week allocated $32 million a year for the next biennium from its Community Safety Net Fund. More than $30 million will go to 157 partner agencies that support United Way’s community goals of food and shelter, strengthening families and communities, protection against violence and abuse, healthcare, education and job skills.

A large portion of the allocations will be directed to agencies representing the south end of the county and racial minorities, which officials say can use the most help.

Jon Fine, United Way of King County’s president, said African-American, Asian and Hispanic populations “are growing in our community, especially in the south county region.”

Lori Guilfoyle, manager of south county community services for United Way, said new cities and an abundance of housing in the area are attracting the largest percentage of refugees moving into the county.

Overall, large numbers of families with young children “are coming this direction,” Guilfoyle said.

United Way plans to spend more than $400,000 to help alleviate homelessness, hunger and domestic violence, problems that “tend to be exacerbated” during hard times such as now, Fine reasoned.

“Our neighbors are at higher risk for losing basic necessities and suffering domestic violence during economic downturns,” he said.

Venture funding, providing revenue for innovative health and human service programs, will also increase from $600,000 to $640,000. Four community councils representing Seattle and the county’s north, south and east areas approve venture funds to agencies in their respective communities.

For instance, the Out of the Rain Homelessness Initiative, seeking to substantially reduce homelessness by 2010, will double its funding from $100,000 to $200,000. The Children’s Initiative, which supports health programs for mothers and babies, will continue to receive $100,000.

Among south-end agencies receiving funding is the Multi-Service Center in Federal Way. Nancy Hohenstein, the center’s director of community relations, said a United Way allocation will pay for gasoline, maintenance and a driver’s salary for a 20-foot truck donated by Boeing Employees Fund for hauling food to the center’s food bank warehouse. The warehouse stores food for smaller food banks that can’t afford their own warehouse space.

According to Adam Bashaw, a United Way spokesman, south-end agencies will receive about $8.7 million this biennium, an increase of $762,423 (or 9.5 percent) over last biennium’s allocation. The only other geographic area of the county whose allocation increased was the the north end (5.6 percent).

The east side and Seattle decreased slightly (.07 and 2.03 percent, respectively).

The funding decisions resulted from United Way’s community assessment and agency reports on how they’re using their resources. Agencies are funded based on what they can do to achieve five community goals. The goals are:

1. Food to eat and a roof overhead.

2. Supportive relationships within families, neighborhoods and communities.

3. Safe haven from all forms of violence and abuse.

4. Healthcare to help people be as physically and mentally fit as possible.

5. Education and job skills to lead an independent life.

Agencies located in and serving south King County, the money they’ve been allocated and the goal it addresses include Auburn Food Bank (Goal 1, $94,915), Auburn Youth Resources (Goal 1, $28,531; goal 2, $150,922; goal 3, $4,800); Birth to Three Development Center (Goal 2, $11,302); Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (Goal 3, $159,188); Exodus Housing (Goal 1, $32,325), Kent Community Service Center (Goal 1, $28,651), Kent Youth and Family Services (Goal 1, $11,181; goal 2, $118,220; goal 4, $59,926), Multi-Service Center (Goal 1, $187,235; goal 5, $38,614), South King County Food Bank Coalition transportation project, run by Multi-Service Center (Goal 1, $23,001), Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation (Goal 2, $84,008; goal 3, $35,533; goal 4, $260,263; goal 5, $9,000), Washington Women’s Employment and Education (Goal 5, $59,501).

Some agencies are located outside the south county region but provide services there. They include Asian and Pacific Islander Women and Family Safety Center, Catholic Community Services, Childhaven, Consejo Counseling and Referral Services, Eastside Legal Assistance Program, Family Services, Fremont Public Association, Lutheran Community Services, Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, Refugee Women’s Alliance, Ryther Child Center, YWCA of Seattle, King and Snohomish counties.

The progress of agencies in meeting community needs is monitored by United Way as part of the funding process.

United Way of King County raises money through an annual community-wide campaign. More information is available at www.unitedwayofkingcounty.org.

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