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 nonprofits experts, businesses and local government that are working to create the solid foundation we all need to do well in life. This includes access to quality early learning to build strong brains and bodies, the support and skills to get and keep good jobs and affordable health care for physical and mental well-being. When the building materials for well-being are not available, people and communities may have difficulty weathering life’s storms. The sudden loss of a job, the unexpected illness of a family member or market forces driving up the cost of homes, can affect any of us at any point in our lives. By advocating for policies and resources that invest in our well-being, Eastside Human Services Forum is working to ensure that all of our residents’ talents and contributions are available to create a better future for our entire community.
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.