Senior Services Van SQAARP Washington and more than 40 other advocacy and community service services organizations that advocate and serve thousands of older adults in King County and the State of Washington are deeply concerned that United Way’s new funding priorities will no longer include investments in programs that serve older adults and people with disabilities.

United Way has traditionally played an “umbrella” role for human services in King County. Older adults have always been part of that umbrella for the past 50 years. United Way is one of the few funders that has provided leadership for supporting investments in the full range of human need, including older adults and people with disabilities.

The direction has changed dramatically this year. The programs that are being cut by United Way of King County are part of a network that supports older adults and the disabled in the community rather than requiring that people be placed in nursing homes.  Washington State has been recognized, nationally, for its extraordinary efforts to support seniors in the community rather than in institutions.  We are concerned that the United Way funding cuts represent a major step in the wrong direction. Make no mistake, these cuts are going to have an impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

In addition, these cuts fail to recognize that there is an “age wave” coming. A snapshot of King County shows that 17% of the population is age 60 and older. This over 60 population is expected to grow to nearly 25% of the population by 2040, as this “age wave” settles in our region. People will be living longer and the service demands for those over 80 is going to put incredible demands on our human service infrastructure. Thousands of those in this growing population live in poverty and are isolated.

We recognize and understand that United Way has the right to focus additional resources on emerging priorities but encourage them to look creative and strategically to how they can support all part of our community, including older people and individuals living with disabilities, many of whom live in poverty.

The following are agencies impacted or part of the network impacted when the United Way of King County ends $1.76 million in investment on June 30, 2016. They have also signed on in solidarity to help ensure other United Ways in the state DO NOT enact similar cuts.

Aging and Disability Services Advisory Council
Alzheimer’s Association
Asian Counseling and Referral Services (ACRS)
Bellevue Network on Aging
Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC)
Full Life Care
International Drop In Center (IDIC)
Kin On Community Health Care
Kirkland Senior Council
Mt Si Senior Center
Pacific Asian Empowerment Program (PAEP)
Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA)
Pike Market Senior Center
Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans
Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA)
Resident Councils of WA
Senior Lobby
Association of Manufactured Home Owners
Catholic Community Services of Western WA
Group Health Cooperative Senior Caucus
Hearing Loss Association of WA
Home Care Association of WA
Long Term Care Ombudsman-Multi Service Center
Manufactured Mobile Home Owners of America
National Federal Active and Retired Employees Association
Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 8 (OPEIU)
Pierce County Community Connections-Aging and Disability Resources
Retired Public Employees of WA
SEIU 775

Senior Services

WA Academy of Elder Law Attorneys-WA Chapter
WA Alliance of Retired Americans
WA Association of Area Agencies on Aging
WA Association of Professional Guardians
WA Association of Senior Nutrition Programs
WA Dental Service Foundation
WA Education Association-Retired
WA State Association of Senior Centers
WA State Council on Aging