Some of the important impacts of the HSSN in Boulder County (2011 – 2019):
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 over $60 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 at right for full details around what the HSSN must fund.
Since 2011, tens of millions of dollars in HSSN funding has gone to the Boulder County Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), a critical support for helping low-income parents and their children get quality child care and early childhood education opportunities. Because of this additional funding, Boulder County has been able to serve nearly twice the number of families and children than federal and state allocations support. With a significant boost from the Human Services Safety Net, CCAP supports both children and parents at the same time, so the community’s return on this “Two-Generation” investment over time is high – research indicates between 7 and 11 dollars for every one dollar spent. Boulder County’s successes in increasing investments in the CCAP program through HSSN have also helped prompt additional financial support for quality child care statewide. Despite the increased support levels in Boulder County, thousands of families are still in need of this assistance, and we continue to work to expand the service through visionary initiatives such as the Human Services Safety Net.
The HSSN has invested over $10 million in the county’s Housing Stabilization Program, which (since 2008) has provided rental assistance for over 2,400 families at risk of homelessness, some of whom were displaced by the September 2013 Boulder County flooding; The funding has also supported our collaboration with many community partners around Boulder County: many of the HSP referrals have come from partner non-profits like OUR Center, Sister Carmen, and EFAA.
The HSSN has also generated the following additional supports for our community:
Over $4 million for direct mental health and substance use services
Over $25 million to boost access to health care, food assistance, safety services (including child protection), including through several non-profit and governmental community partner organizations, as well as medical and dental clinics that serve at-risk low-income populations.
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 in percent of current child support paid from 2010 to today.
The HSSN also plays an important role in helping ensure the fund balance for Boulder County Housing and Human Services (BCDHHS) remains as healthy as possible. In 2019, BCDHHS ended the year with a $14.5 million fund balance. While this is considered to be a healthy balance, for an organization that serves over 90,000 Boulder County residents each year who are in need of a wide range of help, this figure represents a relatively small part of its annual budget – about three months of savings. In today’s ongoing fiscal uncertainty around public supports funding, this is a worrisome number. But this is precisely why BCDHHS has worked hard to bolster its fund balance by leveraging and matching funding from visionary initiatives such as HSSN: to weather uncertainty so that our neighbors in need during times such as these still have supports to stabilize and thrive.