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County Council approves investment in job training, housing, and counseling for veterans


Veterans and Human Services Levy funds will support veterans and regional homelessness prevention efforts


The Metropolitan King County Council gave its unanimous approval to a $3.4 million investment in new employment initiatives, trauma and family counseling, and housing to support veterans, their families, and others in need. The funds, which were approved at the Council’s September 10 meeting, are a one-time investment from the voter approved Veterans and Human Services Levy.

“This important investment honors the sacrifices of our veterans by making sure we can be there for them when they need help with job assistance, counseling, or housing,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, prime sponsor of the ordinance and author of the Veterans and Human Services Levy.

“This funding makes it possible to honor and help our returning veterans by creating the stability of permanent housing and employment opportunities for living wage jobs in our burgeoning aerospace community,” said Executive Dow Constantine.

“In addition to assisting veterans, these funds will increase shelter bed capacity for homeless youth and young adults by 22 percent. This is part of our ongoing efforts to keep our kids safe and off the streets,” said Budget and Fiscal Management Chair Joe McDermott. “I'm grateful that the voters overwhelming supported this levy, allowing us to help those most in need.”

The approved allocation is part of a funding plan to address three of the biggest struggles faced by local veterans and others in need: unemployment, mental health issues, and homelessness. Highlights include:

• A $2.3 million investment for veterans housing capital and supportive services;
• More than $300,000 for a new Aerospace and Veteran Employment Training Initiative;
• Over $80,000 for increased Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment and military family counseling for the remainder of 2012;
• $375,000 to replace the County’s Mobile Medical Unit vehicle, which provides basic medical care to homeless individuals and families; and
• $310,000 to increase shelter beds and services for homeless youth and young adults.

The Veterans and Human Services Levy was originally approved by the voters in 2005 and was recently renewed in 2011 with almost 70 percent approval of King County voters. Unspent funds from the original 2006-2011 levy created approximately $6.7 million in one-time funds. The remaining original levy balance is expected to be allocated through subsequent annual budget processes in 2013 and 2014.

Veterans and Human Service Levy
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