The Human Services Safety Net: Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Boulder County’s Human Services Safety Net (HSSN) initiative is filling critical gaps in health, housing, and human services supports during times of uncertainty, and has the backing of our community.
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 and federal cuts to funding for housing and human services programs during a time when need has been skyrocketing. The HSSN tax increase was scheduled to expire at the end of 2015, and Boulder County Commissioners placed a proposed extension of the HSSN on the November 2014 ballot. Voters approved the extension overwhelmingly (63 to 37 percent), an affirmation of its success that means HSSN funding will continue through the year 2030.
The primary function of the HSSN is to help fill significant gaps left by ongoing inadequate state and federal funding for health care, housing assistance, and other human services supports and programs. Its secondary function is to help attract additional funding from other sources. It has been and continues to be successful at both. Since 2010, the Human Services Safety Net initiative has raised nearly $38 million for these supports in Boulder County. Use of the tax is restricted to programs primarily that provide rental assistance, support for child protection, financial help for early childhood care and education, critical mental health and substance use supports, and sustained access to health and dental care for at-risk families and children. It can’t be used for capital, to build housing, or other purposes. See the ballot language linked at right for full details on what the HSSN must fund.
Please note: this initiative was previously referred to as the Temporary Human Services Safety Net, or TSN. The extension of the mill levy is indicative of the ongoing nature of the work it funds, and is reflected in the updated name, Human Services Safety Net (HSSN).