King County Executive Dow Constantine recently met with eight employees to hear their experiences and thoughts on what King County can do to improve services to veterans, seniors and vulnerable populations, the people who would receive support from the Executive’s proposed Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy.
The employees from the Department of Community and Human Services, District Court and Public Health – Seattle & King County, many of whom are veterans themselves, provide an array of support services to veterans and other clients, such as case management, housing assistance, healthcare and education or training support.
“Some of you are veterans yourselves and all of you provide direct services to veterans and others in our community, and all of you have unique perspectives on what we can do to improve our services to veterans and seniors and people who are facing particular challenges, such as homelessness,” Executive Constantine said to the group.
Some of the issues the group raised included getting veterans into housing, particularly with the shortage of homes and the rapidly rising cost of housing in King County; better coordination and easier navigation of the array of federal, state and local services available to veterans; expanding resources to treat veterans charged with domestic violence offences; and providing funding to get veterans short-term training to adapt the skills they acquired in the military into skills or certifications for jobs in the civilian world.
There were also recommendations for what we can do to help more veterans succeed in King County careers, including training for supervisors with veterans reporting to them which recognizes the different management styles between the military and King County; and establishing mentoring or affinity groups to connect employee-veterans at the County with other employee-veterans.
On May 22 Executive Constantine announced his proposal to replace the expiring Veterans and Human Services Levy with a new levy that will increase the county’s capacity to serve veterans and vulnerable populations, and add new services to help the region’s rapidly growing senior population.
Thank you to all the employees who shared their knowledge and ideas with the Executive in this employee listening session!