Tukwila is meeting its human-services needs | Chuck Parrish

Tukwila is a generous and caring community. In an improving but still challenging local economy, the City of Tukwila, on behalf of its residents, continues to fund human service organizations that serve individuals and families in challenging circumstances. Human Services Department, staffed by director Evie Boykan and Stacy Hansen, facilitates the process. Few services are provided directly by the City of Tukwila. A call to Human Services Department will likely result in a caring and informed referral to one or more of the organizations.

Tukwila is a generous and caring community. In an improving but still challenging local economy, the City of Tukwila, on behalf of its residents, continues to fund human service organizations that serve individuals and families in challenging circumstances. Human Services Department, staffed by director Evie Boykan and Stacy Hansen, facilitates the process. Few services are provided directly by the City of Tukwila.  A call to Human Services Department will likely result in a caring and informed referral to one or more of the organizations.

The volunteer advisory board advises the mayor and City Council on the status of human service needs and programs. The board provides recommendations for prioritizing human service needs and recommends policies and programs for funding. About $370,000 is granted annually to the organizations providing these programs. This year the advisory board reviewed over 40 grant requests.

Current members are: #1 (Health Community) Terra Straight #2 (School District) Nina Williams #3 (Citizen) Jennafer Price Cargill #4 (Citizen) Chuck Parrish #5 (Citizen) Sharon Kidd #6 (Business Com) Linda Weedman #7 (Religious Com.) Jan Bolerjack

The residents of Tukwila partially fund organizations that address needs in the following areas: affordable childcare and childcare training, telephone support for adults and teens in emotional crisis, parenting and family development skills, sexual assault victims, domestic violence victims including children, individuals with physical disabilities, mental health services, substance abuse assessment and referral, elder and adult daycare service, legal services, resources for homeless adults and youth, food assistance, rent and utility assistance in emergency situations, emergency shelters and transitional housing, children with special needs, dental care, medical care, pregnancy aid, homeless shelters, food bank and food pantry, senior transportation and nutrition.

In addition, immigrants and refugees are served by organizations that help people to adjust and to integrate into the American family while training to become self sufficient. Organizations address needs in the following areas: access to social services and meeting basic needs, housing, driver training, business and job seeking skills, income tax help, English language learning and literacy and citizenship training.

Reduced revenues at the federal, state and county levels have resulted in reduced funding to human service and safety net organizations. Increasingly, these organizations seek revenues from cities to make up the difference. It is an economic consequence of tax cutting policies.

The support of these programs is not only kind and compassionate, it is practical. The services are limited to those who cannot afford them. The absence of such efforts inevitably leads to the disintegration of families and lives and consequently the disintegration of the community. Let’s keep up the effort.

Tukwila Reporter columnist Chuck Parrish can be reached at editor@tukwilareporter.com

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