(The Center Square) – King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing a renewal of the six-year Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy that could generate an estimated $581 million.
The levy would be assessed at 10 cents per $1,000 in assessed value, and is estimated to cost approximately $84 per year for a median-priced home in 2024, according to the proposal.
Generated funds would be allocated towards programs that help veterans and seniors transition to affordable housing, provide access to job training and employment services, access emergency financial assistance, obtain domestic violence advocacy, and receive behavioral health treatment.
The levy was first passed by voters in 2005. It was renewed in 2017 with the addition of senior services. According to Constantine, the levy has successfully “served more than 27,000 veterans, service members and their families with fewer eligibility barriers than many federal programs.”
The county contributes the levy for a 40% reduction in homeless veterans in King County. When it was renewed in 2017, funding reached over 100,000 seniors and paid for 675 bonuses focused on employee retention at 55 human services agencies, according to Constantine’s office.
“Together we can continue our investment into the 300 programs led by more than 150 community-based organizations . . . that help ensure seniors have connection to community and veterans have a place to call home,” Constantine said in a statement. “This levy has helped more than 185,000 people in the last six years and I’m excited to see what it can do in the future.”
If passed by voters, the county’s goal for levy dollars would be funding permanent supportive housing for veterans; continue work to reduce veteran homelessness; increase funding for senior centers; and maintain access to mental health supports for veterans and seniors.
By May 2023, the King County Council is expected to vote to put the executive’s proposal on the August ballot. If voters approve the levy, Constantine would prepare a more detailed implementation plan by Oct. 31, 2023.