King County will cut $814,862 from DESC's HOST Outreach & Engagement Program (86% of total funding) on December 1, 2010. This funding cut will devastate the program, causing the immediate suspension of outreach and engagement services to hundreds of vulnerable men and women
Time is short. The King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) plans to finalize these cuts THIS WEEK. Your immediate action is needed!! Tell King County Executive Dow Constantine and Department of Community and Human Services Director Jackie MacLean to restore HOST's funding.
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Homeless Outreach, Stabilization and Transition serves men and women with long histories of homelessness and numerous psychiatric hospitalizations, living on the streets of Seattle with untreated schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious mental illnesses and often co-existing chemical dependency.
Left unengaged, these individuals cycle back and forth from hospital, to jail, to the street. These are the most visible, vulnerable and costly individuals in Seattle. They are frequently exploited on the streets by other people. One-third are defined as high utilizers of jail or hospitals, or referred directly by the criminal justice system to HOST.
This will cut nearly half of all outreach and engagement to homeless people occurring in Seattle.
Currently, over 150 men and women are actively engaged with the HOST team. Nearly all of these people will lose all mental health services on December 1. They will not be transferred or 'picked up' by another program. The jails and E.R.s of our city will become their new safety net this holiday season.
There will be no efforts to engage an additional 200 people known to HOST staff.
These state-mandated cuts to non-Medicaid funding are disproportionately placed on the most vulnerable of citizens. Efficiencies in county administration should be fully exhausted before cutting direct survival services to mentally ill homeless men and women. Please re-evaluate how these cuts are being administered, and restore funding to the HOST program.