Advocate: Everyone is a champion for change
Public Policy is a significant catalyst for change. It directs funding toward important community health and human service needs that compliment the ongoing fundraising and investment efforts of United Way of Snohomish County. A committee of United Way of Snohomish County volunteers and staff develop an annual public policy/legislative agenda to provide guidance on a variety of local, state and federal policy issues that sustain the work for our three vision councils (see below). We will provide information to legislators and to the public in an effort to increase understanding and awareness of the impact of policy and budget decisions on health and human services in our community.
Washington state has a long history of quality health and human services. The foundation of a robust funding structure that supports health and human services is a vibrant, growing economy that creates new jobs. Maintaining a strong business climate with good jobs for working families stabilizes our economic environment and generates the revenues necessary to fund human services.
United Way of Snohomish County is uniquely positioned to link business, philanthropy and human services to transform our community and improve people’s lives in Snohomish County. We believe everyone deserves a strong, inclusive community that celebrates diversity, provides access to vital resources and promotes civic involvement for all ages. It is critical to maintain safety net programs, housing, food and nutrition, basic health care, behavioral services, basic life skills services and services that promote financial capability. For life-long success, education and resources that encourage the development of healthy physical, social/emotional, academic and psychological behaviors for children and youth are necessary.
Quality Early Learning
Provide funding to support opportunities that ensure children are ready to succeed in school and life
From infancy through high school, children’s educational outcomes are dependent on the quality of their learning experiences. Quality early learning, in particular, has been shown to have a significant positive effect on future life and academic success, because brain circuits are developing actively then. However, for many families, particularly those with low incomes, the demand for early care not only exceeds the available supply, but also costs more than they can afford.
Preserve food programs that keep children and adults from going hungry and being malnourished
Food is a basic need that should be accessible to all. Hunger and poor nutrition leads to low productivity and lifetime health consequences. The number of Washington households reporting food insecurity has doubled since the start of the recession. Over the past three years, 75,000 new households joined the ranks of the hungry, and the rate of hunger in the state is the highest it has ever been. Currently Washington state ranks 14th in hunger.
Housing & Homelessness
Maintain funding to support affordable housing and options that move people out of homelessness
Housing is a basic foundation for self-sufficiency, but on an average night, over 2,300 people are homeless in Snohomish County. There are many barriers faced by homeless individuals. The demand for safe, suitable and affordable housing has far outpaced the supply. The complex set of needs faced by many homeless people leaves far too many residents with inadequate housing options or access to some of life's most basic household and sanitary needs.
Support for Seniors
Maintain funding to support senior information & assistance, transportation and caregiver support
By 2030, almost 200,000 Snohomish County residents will be over age 65. This represents 20% of our population. Adequate support systems need to be in place to address the wellness, care and independence of seniors. Many people desire to ‘age in place’, and need services to maintain their health and their home. Programs that empower, connect and provide advocacy for seniors are important to individuals and families.