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In response to ‘Homeless, desperate and frightening in Federal Way’

To claim there is a lack of compassion or concern at the city because there is not a city-sponsored shelter ignores the positive impact that the city is making.

In order to get a more complete picture of the funding that comes out of the city’s general fund through the Community Services Division, it’s helpful to take a closer look at the numbers.

Each year, the city allocates more than $1 million in funding to provide assistance to low-income residents and individuals experiencing homelessness.

Through the city’s grant programs, the city allocates $536,000 in general funds and about $691,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds annually. Grants support a variety of services that seek to meet the needs of community members, from food, shelter, and healthcare to employment training. Agencies that receive these funds are trusted organizations and include Catholic Community Services of King County, Multi-Service Center, and Federal Way Community Caregiving Network, just to name a few.

One could argue the most impactful grants are those that address homelessness and hunger. Programs addressing homelessness received $189,000 of the general fund grants and $32,800 of CDBG public service grants. The funding is going toward prevention ($86,800 for 4 programs), shelter/day services/ medical or dental care/street outreach ($118,000 for eight programs), transitional housing ($22,000 for two programs), and hunger ($83,000 of general fund grants for four programs).

City grant funding often serves as a catalyst for recipient organizations, bringing credibility and visibility or simply meeting match requirements when it comes to securing funding from other state and federal agencies.

To claim there is a lack of compassion or concern at the city because there is not a city-sponsored shelter ignores the positive impact that the city is making in the aforementioned areas. The city and Mayor Jim Ferrell are stepping up — both financially and organizationally — in coordinating a winter severe weather sheltering program. With the homelessness crisis affecting the entire region, the only way a community is going to be successful in reaching those who need help is by coming together. We live in an extremely generous community that has a wealth of nonprofits and faith-based organizations with a collective desire to assist those in need.

We are committed to helping service providers who do the work at the ground level reach as many people in need as possible in our community. Whether that is accomplished through administering grants through the general fund or assisting administratively with pass-through funds awarded by the state or other funders for shelter, the city remains committed to wrapping our arms around those seeking help.

Sarah Bridgeford

Community Services manager

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