King County is home to more than 115,000 veterans, and about 1,200 employees at King County are veterans. On Veterans Day each year we have the opportunity to honor veterans, servicemembers, and their families. This year, we not only get to thank veterans for their individual service and sacrifice, but we give our thanks for their support of their fellow veterans by voting yes on the renewal of the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy (VSHSL). In August, over 71 percent of King County voters approved the VSHSL for the fourth time, the highest approval rating in the levy’s history, reaffirming our region’s commitment to King County’s veterans. The commitment to veterans in King County is unwavering and we are proud to provide services and supports to help all veterans who have served thrive.
Building the nation’s strongest local veterans program
The King County Veterans Program (KCVP) resolves to not only thank veterans on Veterans Day but to serve veterans, servicemembers and their families all year long with the dignity and respect they deserve. KCVP is actively serving tens of thousands of veterans across King County. Established in the 1950s, KCVP is one of the nation’s strongest local veterans programs, providing supportive services and financial assistance to veterans, servicemembers, and their families. KCVP’s broad eligibility criteria (veterans who have served at least one day in the military with any discharge type) bring services to more veterans than many other programs. KCVP operates two offices, in Northgate and Tukwila, as social service hubs with onsite community partnerships providing financial supports, housing, employment, behavioral health, wellness supports, and other supportive services.
The VSHSL and KCVP have:
- Served more than 27,000 veterans, servicemembers and their families with fewer eligibility barriers than many federal programs
- Contributed to a 40% reduction in veteran homelessness between 2017 and 2022
- Helped more than 260 veterans, servicemembers, and family members access more than 15,000 mental health counseling sessions
- Contributed to 234 units of affordable housing for veterans and their families
Growing our commitment to veterans
The renewed commitment to King County’s veterans through the approved VSHSL means the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) can continue building upon the services and supports currently available to veterans and servicemembers, and invest in programs that best meet the needs of King County’s veteran community. Last month, Executive Constantine proposed the VSHSL Implementation Plan to the King County Council. The VSHSL Implementation Plan is a strategy-by-strategy plan that details how Executive Constantine intends to invest the 2024-2029 VSHSL proceeds in King County’s communities to improve overall health and well-being, help communities thrive, and reduce disparities throughout King County.
The proposed investments in the VSHSL Implementation plan support veterans by continue building the nation’s strongest local veterans program and continuing to reduce veteran homelessness:
- The plan continues building the nation’s strongest local veterans program by continuing the King County Veterans Program, providing low-barrier mental health counseling provided by licensed mental health clinicians experienced in military trauma-informed care and reintegration challenges, and offering specialized outreach and resource connection programs for veterans and their families.
- The plan aims to keep reducing veteran homelessness in King County by acquiring and operating one or more buildings to be used as an affordable housing facility for veterans and providing housing navigators to assist veterans in their affordable housing search.
The King County community continues to show up to support our region’s veterans. Thank you for helping to make King County a welcoming place for veterans, servicemembers and their families. A heartfelt salute and thank you to all the United States veterans who have served our country and King County. We at DCHS appreciate your service and all of the ways you continue to contribute and add value to King County’s communities.