Posts tagged human services programs
Boulder County’s human services programs highlighted nationally
County’s focus on early intervention and prevention helping increasing numbers of people
Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County’s front-end approach to providing human services will be in the national spotlight this weekend. On Sunday, June 24, Dateline NBC will feature a documentary on three families who have received services through the county and its collaboration with community providers.
According to the network’s description, the one-hour special, “America Now: Lost in Suburbia,” focuses on formerly middle class families confronting poverty for the first time. Dateline producers and camera crews have been in Boulder County since late 2011 conducting interviews and gathering footage for the documentary. Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services (DHHS) Director Frank Alexander spoke with Dateline NBC anchor Lester Holt for the program, and numerous interviews were also conducted with DHHS staff and representatives from community non-profit partner organizations.
The program will air this Sunday at 7 p.m. Mountain time on NBC.
Since 2008, Boulder County has seen a 150 percent increase in need for Food Assistance and a 63 percent increase in need for Medicaid services. Some of this increase is a result of people applying for human services assistance for the first time in their lives. Alexander notes that in recent years, in part to address this rising need, Boulder County has shifted to a front-end, early intervention and prevention approach to providing human services. “This involves helping clients identify their full range of needs as soon as they come to us,” he said. “For example, if we can help someone avoid foreclosure by getting him into housing counseling, we save him and the community nearly $75,000.”
Boulder County’s foreclosure rate has fallen 58 percent since it peaked in 2009, the same year the number of clients in DHHS’ foreclosure counseling program hit its high point. “Many clients who come to us for Food Assistance quickly find out that they also need housing counseling and are eligible for financial assistance with childcare,” Alexander said. “By investing more in this early identification of needs, we are saving money and helping people avoid deeper crisis.”
Ballot Initiative 1A, also known as the Temporary Human Services Safety Net (TSN), is helping generate funding for these crucial services. The TSN, passed by voters in November 2010, was designed to back-fill budget cuts to Boulder County’s human services programs. The county has seen a 20 percent cut to its human services funding at the state and federal level during a time when need has risen dramatically.
“Our front-end approach to human services is strengthening our safety net,” said Boulder County Commissioner Cindy Domenico. “Thanks in big part to the taxpayers and our community partners, as more of our neighbors find themselves needing help we’re building a system that is there to meet them earlier and more efficiently.”
Help with childcare available for qualified Boulder County families
Funds from Ballot Initiative 1A continue to boost childcare program and promote self-sufficiency
Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County Families who need help with childcare and who meet eligibility requirements are once again being invited to sign up for childcare assistance. The Colorado Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP) waitlist is open for applications. CCAP is a program that supports individuals and families at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, helping them access quality childcare so the parents or guardians can remain employed or in educational programs. For low-wage working parents and guardians, or parents enrolled in school or technical training, childcare can represent an extraordinary expense.
As economic conditions have worsened, the need for childcare assistance has increased dramatically in Boulder County. Not only are more families in need of this help, but also declining wages and job losses have made more families eligible for CCAP benefits. In 2010, the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services suspended enrollment for CCAP because need was outpacing resources for the program. Later that year, Boulder County voters approved Ballot Initiative 1A, which was designed to help backfill deficiencies in state funding for county human services programs. Among other things, money from 1A, also known as the Temporary Safety Net, has been used to reopen the CCAP waitlist and to expand the program itself. More than 40 percent of the $5.1 million raised by 1A in 2011 is being used to meet additional childcare needs in Boulder County.
In order to qualify for CCAP, parents or guardians must be Boulder County residents, and must have a job, be searching for a job, or be in school or seeking training. Income caps for qualification are based on family size. As examples, a family of three with a monthly gross income of less than $2,857 or a family of four with a monthly gross income of less than $3,346 could take part in CCAP. Families who qualify pay a portion of the childcare costs based on income. A full list of requirements and more information on CCAP is available on the Boulder County website or by calling community partner Aspen Family Services (which administers CCAP’s application process) at 303-604-1043, ext. 2828.
The City of Boulder, along with Foothills United Way, Boulder County and the City of Longmont, will issue a joint online application for human services funds on Monday, March 28. The application will be available through an eCommunity application that represents a collaborative effort to streamline funding applications and reporting criteria throughout Boulder County. The application can be found starting Monday by visiting the website: http://www.unitedwayfoothills.org/.
Funding will be provided to community agencies that enhance a comprehensive and coordinated human services network. All Boulder agencies are eligible to compete for funding through this biennial fund round. The approximately $2.5 million available through the 2012/2013 Human Services Fund are administered through the City of Boulder, Department of Housing and Human Services.
Applications are due electronically by Friday, May 13, 2011, at midnight. No late proposals will be accepted. For more information about the application or specific questions regarding the City of Boulder’s Human Service Fund, please contact Valerie Watson at 303-441-1829 or email@example.com. Additional information is also available at www.boulderhumanservicesfund.com