Letter to the editor: Spend where it’s most needed


In 2020, the City of Edmonds Human Services Program was created, under Patrick Doherty, Director of Community Services. A program manager and program coordinator were hired. Mayor Nelson has included in his 2021 budget an additional $500,000 for this program.

There is no indication how the funds are to be spent, so in public comments to Council on November 17 and November 23, I asked how the half-million would be used. None of my questions have been answered.

Two of these questions are

  • How will the Human Services Department identify Edmonds residents who are most at risk? What is your outreach plan?
  • Given the pandemic, and limited in-person contact, how will identified residents be served?

In my 45 years, in three states, practicing as a social worker, I have learned the following: social services are usually underfunded; ambitious outreach programs often fail because of lack of teamwork within each agency; it is difficult to identify those at risk.

The Human Services Program will not be able to meet the need for social services in Edmonds. The likely scenario is the program will continue to refer to Snohomish County agencies that are better equipped to address needs.

If the City of Edmonds has an extra $500,000, why not use it for those at risk of going hungry? As the pandemic continues, Council could allocate funds towards non-profit agencies that focus on hunger, such as the Edmonds Food Bank, EastWest Food Rescue, and the Nourishing Network.

Throwing money at problems never works, especially when a poorly planned program is doing the throwing. Those in need should be served, but by County agencies that are better equipped, and will do a better job.

I implore Council, don’t waste $500,000 of taxpayer money by expanding the Human Services Program. Instead, feed the hungry.

Joan Bloom
Former Edmonds City Councilmember

  1. Right on, Joan! Tonight Verdant is having a public meeting discussing the plan for value village and how they are going to do funding based on the information they got from the community input in their housing group. This might help council know better what is going on and what is needed.

  2. Social Workers who work with kids with special needs get nothing and have nothing. Adults who have been given dozens of chances and who have the faculty but not the inclination to change their lives don’t need more money. Give the money to anyone taking care of kids with disabilities, CP, Downs, etc.

  3. Former Edmonds council member J. Bloom is exactly right. For the best productivity and accountability with this money, find existing local agencies that already have proven expertise and infrastructure in place. Considering the challenging forecasts right now, earmarking this money for food programs makes the most sense.

  4. We’ll support Joan in her efforts those families who are facing food insecurities: we just launched PAYING IT FORWARD – If you know a military/veteran family that is facing food insecurities this DECEMBER due to COVID-related issues, please have them reach out to our team through WASERVES.org. We are committing $10,000 to help at least 40 families put food on the table this Christmas season.

    To be considered, the individual needs to be a veteran or caregiver of a veteran, and you’ll be asked a series of questions:
    1. Reason for shortfall
    2. What other resources have been requested.
    3. How many in the household will this help?

    Operation Military Family will also scholarship those who are interested, a one hour consult to help construct a plan to navigate the volatility and uncertainty and identify potential additional resources that could benefit the recipients moving forward.

    Those who need assistance, please visit http://www.waserves.org and put PAY IT FORWARD /Operation Military Family in the comments box along with your contact information. Our team will reach out.

  5. The city should continue to work with their non-profit partners like Wellspring, Washington Kids in Transition, and Homage. to provide immediate support as the most effective use of City of Edmonds dollars.

  6. I would like to see some of the money be used for a low income assistance program for Edmonds public utilities (water, sewer, stormwater). To my knowledge Edmonds does not have an assistance program but the PUD does.

  7. I agree 200% with Joan’s and other comments that if the City of Edmonds has an extra $500,000 that they don’t know what to do with, giving it to County agencies that already have programs in place makes much more sense.
    Using the money to hire more staff for Mr. Doherty is a waste of taxpayer money. This city seems to have a pattern where some senior staff inflate their positions and then move on to other larger positions based on their expanded staff in Edmonds. Could Mr. Doherty have this in mind???

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