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City of Tacoma Considers Revamp of Human and Social Services Funding Process

Tacoma, Wash. -- The City of Tacoma's Neighborhood and Community Services Department shared with the City Council today the improvements that are under consideration pertaining to the way human and social services providers are funded. These improvements will be driven by a proactive, data-based, strategic approach to the way the City addresses the community's needs.  

"We see a compelling need to improve our human and social services funding process, and we'd like to work more closely with our community partners to achieve lasting, positive changes in our community by analyzing and courageously addressing systemic issues," said Assistant to the City Manager Nadia Chandler Hardy, who also oversees the City's Neighborhood and Community Services Department. "We're looking to develop a more transparent funding process with accountability at all levels."

As it stands today, the City's human and social services funding process includes an all-call for applications and has historically been based on the needs that service providers state they have. It does not currently incorporate standard performance measures or industry-wide standards. With incongruent scoring, this process also often results in smaller organizations being rated lower when stacked up against larger organizations.

"What we're working on developing today is a more equitable human and social services funding process that better aligns with priorities identified within our Tacoma2025 Strategic Plan, our Human Services Strategic Plan and our City Council Priorities," said Human Services Division Manager Pamela Duncan. "As we move forward into the next decade, we want to work more closely with our community partners to help improve the health and safety of our community members, help ensure that our community members’ most basic human and social needs are met, and help further Tacoma’s economic growth by setting our younger generations up for success. We also want to work with our community partners in taking a closer look at mental health and substance use disorder services and addressing the issue of homelessness."    

As it maps out its future funding process, the City projects that it will focus in 2016 on the areas of homelessness and household security, which have been identified as the most visible, chronic and increasing areas of need in the community with significant service level gaps.


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