This month in Olympia, Washington’s lawmakers will come together to hammer out a budget agreement. With investment in social safety-net services and the Housing Trust Fund on the line, our legislators’ decisions will have a huge impact on YWCA clients and other community members across the state. In a guest opinion piece published today on Crosscut.com, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish CEO Sue Sherbrooke asks state budget negotiators “to step back from the revenue and expense line items for a moment and look at these big-picture budget matters with an eye for the bigger picture.”
Sue shines a light on a number of women who have turned their lives around with help from programs whose funding is now under threat.
For example, Mariel and her young son live at YWCA Family Village Issaquah, a Housing Trust Fund project, after enduring many bouts with homelessness. She is now enrolled in computer technology training to land a higher-paying job.
Shelby, whose story was featured on Firesteel last month, planned to attend medical school before she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and became temporarily homeless. Washington’s Aged, Blind & Disabled (ABD) program helps her afford stable housing at YWCA Opportunity Place.
Sue points out that making relatively small investments in vital programs like ABD and the Housing Trust Fund now will not only lift up community members like Mariel and Shelby, but will help us all avoid paying the devastating price of homelessness later:
“Focusing like a laser on specific expenditures can reduce line items in the state budget. Taking a wider view helps us see that some cuts are likely to shift and increase costs to other systems in communities around the state and undermine our goals for investing in education and a skilled workforce.
“There is a price to be paid — in both cash and human terms — for taking a narrow view of what saves or costs money in the state budget. If taking the wider view requires additional revenue, those of us working with vulnerable women and families will understand and support that tough choice.”
We hope you’ll join Sue in advocating for wise investment in our communities. Here are two quick ways you can speak up now:
- Contact your legislators and tell them that it is important to protect the Housing and Essential Needs program from further cuts.
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