Voters overwhelmingly renew Veterans and Human Services Levy

August 23, 2011

The popular Veterans and Human Services Levy garnered overwhelming support from King County voters Aug. 16, as the electorate renewed the measure through 2017.

The levy is expected to generate about $100 million for programs to aid veterans and needy residents. The funding is split 50-50 between veterans programs and human services efforts.

“The citizens of King County have demonstrated their respect for our veterans and compassion for our neighbors most in need by voting to renew the Veterans and Human Services Levy,” County Executive Dow Constantine, a levy supporter, said in a statement late Aug. 16.

“I thank the voters for approving the levy and showing, once again, that King County is an extraordinary community in which to live.”

The measure, Proposition 1, garnered more than 60 percent of the vote in the initial results King County Elections released last week. The elections office is due to certify the results Aug. 31.

The measure garnered broad support from human services organizations and advocates for veterans. The county Voters’ Guide, in fact, did not include any statements opposing Proposition 1. Even the County Council put the measure on the ballot in a unanimous decision.

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Veterans and Human Services Levy appears certain to pass

August 16, 2011

NEW — 8:16 p.m. Aug. 16, 2011

King County voters offered strong support Tuesday for renewing the county Veterans and Human Services Levy until 2017.

The measure, Proposition 1, garnered 66 percent of the vote in the initial round of results King County Elections released just after 8 p.m.

The figure is expected to shift in the coming days as the elections office receives and counts more ballots, but the measure appears certain to pass. The initial tally released Tuesday night encompassed 208,833 ballots.

The levy renewal is projected to generate $100 million through 2017. The funding is split 50-50 among programs for veterans and the neediest residents in King County.

The electorate approved the initial Veterans and Human Services Levy — 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value — to fund programs for veterans and social service efforts in 2005. The existing levy is due to expire Dec. 31.

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Voters to decide King County veterans-and-human-services levy

August 9, 2011

Measure funds Issaquah programs for teenagers, parents

King County voters decide the future of a county veterans-and-human-services levy soon, and as Election Day nears, recipients of levy dollars demonstrated how the measure impacts Issaquah and other communities.

The electorate approved the initial veterans-and-human-services levy — 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value — to fund programs for veterans and social service efforts in 2005. The measure, Proposition 1, is up for renewal on the Aug. 16 ballot.

If passed, the levy renewal is projected to generate $100 million through 2017. The funding is split 50-50 among programs for veterans and the neediest residents in King County.

Proposition 1 matches the existing levy and does not include additional taxes. The owner of a home assessed at $340,000 is expected to pay $17 in 2012 if the levy is renewed. (The existing levy is due to expire Dec. 31.)

Proposition 1 receives broad support from human services organizations and advocates for veterans. The measure received unanimous support on the often-contentious council. The county Voters’ Guide does not include any statements against Proposition 1.

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YWCA opens campus near Issaquah for homeless parents

July 12, 2011

Cynthia Liggitt shares her story, and tells how she was helped by the YWCA, during the July 7 grand opening of Passage Point’s transitional housing. By Greg Farrar

Cynthia Liggitt is a single mother, the former wife of a minister and a former inmate at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.

“It still pains me to say that, but I’m learning to tell the truth about my life so that I don’t go down that wrong route again, and I hope that my story might help others,” said Liggitt, who was charged with felony theft and forgery and served four and a half years in prison.

With the help of YWCA’s Passage Point program, Liggitt has finished her incarceration, earned a degree, and received parenting classes and counseling that have helped both her and her 2-year-old daughter, Jayden Wyrick.

Liggitt and local dignitaries, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, spoke at the grand opening of Passage Point in Maple Valley on July 7.

Located next to the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, the six buildings have 46 housing units for men and women recently released from incarceration who wish to reunite with their children. The residents of Passage Point will have access to housing, employment and counseling services.

Residents must be homeless at the time of intake. Violent offenders or people convicted of crimes against children will not be allowed to stay at Passage Point.

The facility is already in high demand.

Tiffany Bradley, from Tacoma, was incarcerated after being charged with 19 counts of identity theft. She was also addicted to methamphetamine, she said.

In October, “I’ll be two years clean,” she said.

Bradley is completing her work-release program at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, and she will exit the system in October. She finished her screening for Passage Point on July 6, and attended the grand opening with her case manager so she could see the campus.

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YWCA opens campus near Issaquah for homeless parents

July 8, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. July 8, 2011

Cynthia Liggitt is a single mother, the former wife of a minister and a former inmate at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.

“It still pains me to say that, but I’m learning to tell the truth about my life so that I don’t go down that wrong route again, and I hope that my story might help others,” said Liggitt, who was charged with felony theft and forgery and served 4.5 years in prison.

With the help of YWCA’s Passage Point program, Liggitt has finished her incarceration, earned a degree and received parenting classes and counseling that have helped both her and her 2-year-old daughter, Jayden Wyrick.

Liggitt and local dignitaries, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, spoke at the grand opening of Passage Point in Maple Valley on Thursday.

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Tour Passage Point residences at opening ceremony Thursday

July 6, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. July 6, 2011

Before the first residents make Passage Point their new home this summer, the YWCA invites the public to view the facility during its grand opening Thursday.

YWCA Passage Point is a residential community near Issaquah for single parents emerging from the corrections system. With its 46 housing units and comprehensive services, Passage Point will empower residents, mostly mothers, to reunite with their children in a stable environment, helping them along a path toward self sufficiency.

“I honestly do not know where my daughter and I would be if not for YWCA Passage Point,” Cynthia Liggett, a Passage Point reunification program participant, said in a news release. “Through this program, I have learned how to become more confident in my parenting skills and know I can use my past experience as a stepping stone to success.”

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Passage Point invites the public to grand opening

June 28, 2011

After years of planning, YWCA Passage Point will open its doors for a public viewing at 10:30 a.m. July 7.

YWCA Passage Point, 15900 227th Ave. S.E., Maple Valley, is a residential community for single parents emerging from the corrections system. With its 46 housing units and comprehensive services, Passage Point will empower residents, mostly mothers, to reunite with their children in a stable environment, helping them along a path toward self sufficiency.

Several local dignitaries, including King County Executive Dow Constantine; Washington State Department of Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail; and Cynthia Liggett, a former inmate, single parent and Passage Point program participant; will speak at the grand opening.

RSVP by emailing Shoko Toyama at stoyama@ywcaworks.org.

King County, YWCA to hold meeting about Passage Point

June 21, 2011

Safety is on the minds of community members neighboring the future Passage Point facility.

The YWCA will provide housing at Passage Point for men and women recently released from incarceration who wish to reunite with their children. The residents of Passage Point, who would otherwise be homeless, will have access to housing, employment and counseling services. It’s slated to open its doors next month.

A half-dozen community leaders met with representatives from King County and the YWCA, as well as King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Andrea Alexander at Evergreen Community Church during a May 24 meeting about safety procedures.

Passage Point, in the southern part of the Issaquah School District, has long been a hot topic for the area. Students living at Passage Point will attend Maple Hills Elementary School, Maywood Middle School or Liberty High School.

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Schools prepare for children of Passage Point residents

February 22, 2011

With the YWCA’s Passage Point scheduled to open in June, its neighbors in the southern part of the Issaquah School District are working to learn as much as they can about the facility before its inaugural day.

About 10 people came to the YWCA Passage Point Community Open House Feb. 9 at Maple Hills Elementary School, some carrying lists of questions they could ask YWCA representatives, King County project managers and school district administrators.

YWCA Case Manager Miesha Phillips (left) answers questions from Deena Rataezyk, Debra Hawkins and Joanna Hodgson at the Passage Point community open house. By Laura Geggel

Passage Point allows the YWCA to provide housing for men and women recently released from incarceration who wish to reunite with their children. The residents of Passage Point will have access to housing, employment and counseling services.

“It’s going to be geared toward a certain population that wants to change,” YWCA Case Manager Miesha Phillips said.

She and other administrators answered questions about Passage Point’s rules and services.

Deena Rataezyk learned that any Passage Point residents who register to volunteer with the district will have to go through a standard Washington State Patrol background check.

Nick LaCaze asked if teachers were ready to teach children living at Passage Point, given that some of them might need extra support at school, and Rataezyk asked if the schools would have additional mental health resources.

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YWCA hosts Passage Point open house

February 1, 2011

In preparation for the opening of the Passage Point housing project this summer, the YWCA is holding a community open house from 7-9 p.m. Feb. 9 at Maple Hills Elementary School, 15644 204th Ave. S.E., Renton.

Passage Point allows the YWCA to provide housing for men and women recently released from incarceration or hospitalization who wish to reunite with their children. The residents of Passage Point will have access to housing, employment and counseling services.

The open house will feature YWCA staff knowledgeable about Passage Point, employment, mental health services, children’s services and Family Village Issaquah, a YWCA permanent housing facility opening this fall.

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