Human services funding: Easier access in Federal Way and King County

Federal Way and other King County cities just made scooping up human services funding a bit easier.

Seventeen cities in King County will use a new streamlined electronic application process in awarding human services grant funding for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

The process simultaneously makes requesting money from several cities possible for service providers. Federal Way, Auburn, Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Covington, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, SeaTac, Shoreline, Tukwila and Woodinville will all offer the service.

Historically, applicants have applied for the money, which originates from a combination of funds dedicated by a city and federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money, via a written process.

Many of the agencies that typically apply for the local funds serve a large population and ask for grant money from several cities, said Lynnette Hynden, Federal Way human services manager. Service providers now can fill out just one application and simply check boxes representing the cities from which they are requesting funds.

“That makes it easier for agencies to apply to one central place,” Hynden said.

The funding will mostly be awarded to agencies providing service to low and moderately-low income persons, Hynden said. This qualifying factor is determined by the federal government. Examples of endeavors that may be eligible for funding include the following: Services to low and moderately low-income individuals needing items such as food and shelter; programs for elderly, youth and the disabled; services to address shut-off notices or risks of eviction; community feeding programs; caregiver networks and pregnancy aid programs, according to a city press release. CDBG funds come accompanied by a requirement to rigorously report how the money is used.

Federal Way’s offering

In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Federal Way has roughly $500,000 to extend to individuals or groups providing human services. Of this, $430,000 will come from the city’s General Fund and $73,000 will come from federal CDBG sources, Hynden said. This is roughly the same amount awarded for 2009-2010, she said. However, the funding estimate is not final. The Federal Way City Council could decide to allocate more money to human services during upcoming budget discussions. Hynden received word that CDBG funds could increase by up to 7 percent, she said.

Increased need

Due to the economy, Federal Way expects to receive larger grant requests than in past years, Hynden said. She does not expect more applicants, but does expect those that traditionally apply for the funding to need more of it this time around.

Similarly, the City of Auburn is also expecting a greater need. It increased funding by $10,000 — from roughly $570,000 to $580,000, which will go directly to service providers, said community services manager Michael Hursh.

“Our council and our human services committee has just felt like this is not a time to be cutting back on resources for our citizens that are hit hard,” he said.

During the 2009-2010 process, Auburn provided roughly $470,000 directly to service providers, Hursh said. Another approximately $100,000 was used to fund four internal human services programs, he said.

“The south end of King County is a needy region, but the cities and the privately run non-profits consistently do an incredible job of showing great attention to the need and supporting the residents that struggle every single day,” Hursh said.

Learn more

Agencies interested in learning about the application process may attend two educational public workshops. One gathering will be held 2 to 4 p.m. March 8 at Redmond City Hall, 15670 N.E. 85th St. Another workshop will be offered 9 to 11 a.m. March 10 at Carco Theatre, 1717 S.E. Maple Valley Highway, in Renton. Federal Way Human Services staff will be present at the Renton event. To reserve a spot for a workshop, or for more information, visit www.HSConnect.net or e-mail HSConnect@ecitygov.net.

“Any non-profit agency that wishes to provide any kind of human services to Federal Way should go to one of the workshops,” Hynden said.

Applicants may begin submitting funding requests through the Human Services Funders Collaborative Web site at www.HSConnect.net beginning March 22. Applications are due April 29. The human services commission will choose funding recipients and the city council will confirm the choices sometime this fall.

For agencies that wish to offer human services to Federal Way residents, but that do not meet CDBG requirements, Hynden may be able to offer tips on where to look for other funding sources. She can be reached at (253) 835-2650.

“The more I know about agencies in our local community and what their needs are, the more helpful I can be,” she said.


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