The Eastside is strongest when we make sure that everyone has what they need to reach their full potential and contribute to our community. The Eastside Human Services Forum supports a strong network of health care institutions, school districts, government entities, funders, businesses, and human service providers in East King County that are working to create the solid foundation we all need to do well in life.
EHSF Mission: To bring together a wide range of voices to build a stable and equitable network of health and human services accessible to all residents, strengthening our East King County communities. Educate – Advocate – Collaborate
This will be accomplished through supporting a broad continuum of services from prevention to intervention to crisis response by:
- Advocating for funds
- Bringing people, groups, and services together to maximize resources
- Educating and influencing decision makers
- Proactively impacting regional issues
- Informing the general community about local needs, advocacy opportunities, and other ways to get involved
In January and May, 2001, a group of elected officials, staff, and commissioners from urban and rural cities on the Eastside, representatives from school districts, health organizations, and non-profit human services agencies met. They discussed first the lack of a group representing the Eastside’s concerns, as well as ideas about human services, and subsequently a proposal that outlined a process to design the structure for an Eastside Human Services Forum.
Driving the need for a new collaborative effort were the following factors:
• With the demise of the Human Services Roundtable, there was no longer a county-wide or Eastside sub-regional organization driven by elected officials to encourage and facilitate coordination of human services efforts.
• The political climate and competition for funds created an environment that was less supportive of human services. We needed powerful, influential advocates to make our case.
• Resources were scarcer than ever, while needs were rising. The slowing economy was causing concern. Working smart to make the best use of resources became more important than ever before.
• There was no “go-to” organization or entity that could speak on human services for the Eastside with a unified voice. There is power in diverse constituencies being brought together for a common purpose.
• The ramifications of unmet needs were surfacing at higher rates in schools, businesses, and in the community. Entities that felt the impact had a vested interest in needs being met.
In late 2001, the Forum hired a consultant to guide the formation efforts, including establishing the structure and bylaws. The Founding Executive Board was appointed in January, 2002.