Boulder County’s Temporary Human Services Safety Net Initiative (TSN)


See the 2013 Report on the Temporary Human Services Safety Net:


What is it?

In November 2010, Boulder County voters approved Ballot Initiative 1A, a temporary 0.9 mill levy increase on property taxes. The purpose of the increase is to help fill a void left by state cuts to funding for housing and human services programs. Each year, county commissioners have the option of reducing the tax increase if state funding is partially or fully restored. The TSN tax increase is scheduled to expire at the end of 2015.

Why do we need it?

Boulder County’s caseload for services like food assistance has increased nearly 140% since 2008.  For Medicaid programs, it's been a 65% increase.  During this same time, federal and state cuts to safety net programs have risen into the millions of dollars, and many cities and counties are falling further and further behind the need in their communities.

Through very targeted investments in successful human services, the TSN is helping alleviate the impacts of these cuts in Boulder County even as the tough economy continues to pressure the state budget.

What does it mean for homeowners?

As an example, on a $300,000 home in Boulder County, the 0.9 mill levy property tax increase amounts to $21 per year.

How is it helping our community?

 Since its inception, the TSN has invested at least $9 million in the human services safety net in Boulder County.

Some of the important impacts of the TSN in Boulder County:

  • the waitlist for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which had been closed due to budget cuts, was re-opened, and income limits for it were raised so more people could qualify; 200 additional children and their families received subsidized child care as a result
  • funds invested in the county’s benefits access system helped improve turnaround times on applications for assistance by over 25 percent
  • significant investments were made in the county’s collaborative program for parents who are having trouble making their child support payments; Boulder County was the only one of the “Big 10” Colorado counties to see an increase (1.3 percent) in percent of current child support paid from 2010 to today
  • a $972 thousand investment has been made in the county’s Housing Stabilization Program, providing rental assistance for 267 families who were on the brink of homelessness
  • $410 thousand for direct mental health and substance abuse services
  • $117 thousand for the county’s medical and dental clinics to serve at-risk low-income populations

What’s next?

Boulder County’s Housing and Human Services Department is responsible for managing the TSN funds, and continues to identify needs and priority areas that will strengthen the community’s safety net. In addition to the services funded in 2011 and 2012, additional needs for 2013 include life skills and education support for parents and job training and employment assistance. The Temporary Human Services Safety Net is allowing us to continue to develop a proactive approach to human services. By helping people and families stabilize with food or medical assistance, avoid bankruptcy or the loss of a house, or receive job assistance early in the search process, we can help our community members avoid more catastrophic situations down the line. This ultimately saves tax dollars, since more intensive services later are exponentially more expensive.

Boulder County Housing and Human Services held a town-hall-style meeting on the Temporary Human Services Safety Net in January 2012. Among other things, we heard about how the TSN is proactively addressing community need by investing in front-end prevention and stabilization services. HHS leaders gave presentations about programs, clients served, budgets, and future plans around the TSN. We also heard moving testimonials about the TSN from community partners. Video of the town hall has been published here. It’s worth the time to watch, as it is full of information. The presentation document from the town hall is in the list below.

We’re grateful to Boulder County voters for sharing our vision of community-based early intervention and prevention, and our goals of family and individual stabilization and self-sufficiency.





Housing & Human Services

Phone: 303-441-1000
Fax: 303-441-1523
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Mailing Address

P.O. Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306


Benefits: 3460 Broadway
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Housing: 2525 13th St, Suite 204
Housing Phone: 303-441-3929
Housing Fax: 720-564-2283
Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. M-F


1921 Corporate Center Circle, Suite 3F
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Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. M-F

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