Seattle Not-for-Profits Awaiting Stimulus Funds To Continue Providing Health Care, Other Services to Ethnic Communities
Many Seattle not-for-profits that provide health care and other services to ethnic communities "are eagerly awaiting" the distribution of funds from the economic stimulus package, the Northwest Asian Weekly reports (Nguyen, Northwest Asian Weekly, 4/2). In February, President Obama signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus package, which includes a number of health care provisions (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 2/18). According to the Asian Weekly, while organizations have "expressed concerns for the upcoming fiscal year, there is optimism for 2011."
The International Community Health Services Foundation -- the largest Asian and Pacific Islander community health center in Washington state -- has had to lay off and furlough staff. The agency provides health services for uninsured and underserved patients who face language and income barriers. It offers services on a sliding-fee scale, with a minimum $15 copayment, but recently has been waiving those fees for patients who can no longer afford them. CEO Teresita Batayola said, "Even though we're understaffed, we still uphold regular clinic hours to meet with patients to establish normalcy," adding, "The staff understands how bad the economic situation is, and they're passionate about maintaining services for our clients."
The federal stimulus funds will "trickle down" to states, counties and eventually to not-for-profit groups, according to Alan Sugiyama, executive director of the Center for Career Alternatives, which provides multiethnic, disadvantaged youth and adults no-cost education, employment and career development services.
Sugiyama said, "All of the nonprofits are suffering just like every citizen. Our revenues are down, our grants are down and all the community-based agencies must be aggressive about fundraising." Sugiyama said his "biggest fear" is that the federal stimulus money would "stay with state agencies. We're just hoping that [the stimulus funds will] jump-start the economy and finally open up things on our side" (Northwest Asian Weekly, 4/2).