Investments in Financial Stability: 2018 VSHSL Annual Report

This is the second post in our blog series about 2018 Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) investments.  You can read the first post here.

Last year marked the launch of King County’s six-year Veterans, Seniors and HumanAnnual report thumbnail for blog Services Levy. The renewed and expanded levy builds on the success of the 2006-2017 Veterans and Human Services Levy and expands to include for the first-time dedicated funding for seniors and their caregivers.

We are excited to share with you, in a five-part series, the stories of those impacted by investments in the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy’s five result areas- Housing Stability, Financial Stability, Social Engagement, Healthy Living, and Service System Access and Improvement – in 2018. Read below to meet Ursula, a young mom who, supported by New Family Services, pursed an education while providing for her son.

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Meet Ursula

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 Ursula working on an assignment at the North Seattle College Jewelry studio.

At 35, Ursula Stuart had not been to school in 16 years, but after she gave birth to her son in 2016, she knew that an education would be essential to improving their lives. “I had a background in jewelry making and other creative disciplines. It’s something I am passionate about and realize I have a talent for.”

The Nurse-Family Partnership, which supported Ursula as she adapted to parenthood, connected her with New Family Services, which paid for prerequisite classes for North Seattle College’s jewelry program. A year later, Ursula knew she wanted to pursue an Associate of Fine Arts degree. “I applied for a scholarship and am now enrolled for another year,” she reported at the end of 2018. “I just finished an artist’s residency and have been exposed to so many opportunities I didn’t even know existed.”

“I am so grateful to [New Family Services] for helping me go back to school and discover my passion for learning. Without this resource, I would not have been able to afford tuition or supplies” -Ursula

While her son is in daycare, Ursula is on track to graduating with an Associate degree in the spring of 2020, which she is confident will position her well to teach jewelry-making one day and start a custom-jewelry business. She also plans to apply for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree after completing her Associate degree.

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Mary Frenzel-Brock, a social worker with King County’s New Family Services, helped Ursula go back to school and discover a passion for jewelry designing and teaching while supporting her young son.

Meeting clients where they are

Financial Stability strategies meet seniors and their caregivers, vulnerable populations and veterans and servicemembers and their families, where they are, whether they are transitioning from military to civilian life, navigating benefits when disability prevents long-term employment, or building a career or pursuing an education while trying to provide for children.

The VSHSL implemented four key financial stability strategies in 2018 that focus on income and employment, financial guidance and literacy, and inclusivity of financial services and benefits. Financial Stability programs included:FS blog 69 clients

  • The King County Veterans Program (KCVP) offers clients resume development and job search assistance. KCVP also partners with local WorkSource offices and YWCA programs to help veterans in securing job training and employment support, which includes financial assistance.
  • The Vet Corps program helps ease the transition from military to civilian life for student veterans. Support includes peer counselling and benefits navigation for veterans at colleges and universities across the county.
  • Community Employment Services, Career Connections and New Family Services are three programs that help residents experiencing homelessness and new parents work towards gaining financial stability through training and employment.
  • The King County Veterans Fellowship places eligible veterans into six-month internship positions in King County departments to help ease the transition from military to civilian life while gaining hands-on experience in civilian jobs.

Fast Facts

90 percent of households in the Passage Point program, which reconnects families after incarceration, remained housed or exited to permanent housing (4)

Read the 2018 VSHSL Annual Report to learn more about VSHSL’s Financial Stability investments.