EHSF Mission: To foster strong public and private partnerships for a stable network of health and human services for the benefit of all East King County residents.
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 subregional 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.