It has been a tough year for EvCC student Melanie Brisbin and her two boys, who have been without a home since March.
Brisbin thought things were finally looking up when she received an acceptance letter from Project Self-Sufficiency (PSS).
PSS is a Snohomish County program with a 25-year history of helping low-income families become self-sufficient by providing education, career counseling and vouchers for housing. Getting accepted meant she would be able to continue her education and have a home for her boys.
What Brisbin didn't know at the time was that PSS was at risk of being cut from the county budget due to what was a proposed $10 million dollar shortfall and now has jumped to $21 million. When news of the possible cuts reached her she was fearful for her future, but her survival instincts took over and she went to work looking for a solution.
Brisbin spent countless hours doing research, attending county council meetings and getting the message out about the program any way she could; including interviews with the Everett Herald, King 5 news and KIRO 7 Eyewitness news.
The message; there are 50 newly selected (2008) families like hers who will not be housed unless the PSS program remains funded. This number would add to the 500-600 homeless families at any one time in Snohomish County.
One major factor PSS recipients have in their favor is a two-year contract with Snohomish County, defining the requirements of each party.
" I don't want a lawsuit, I'm hoping that this community can come together in support of this project before it gets to that." Said Brisbin.
Laura Hedges is women's services manager in the campus Diversity and Equity Center and has been a coordinating Council member for PSS since 1983.
"This program is a wise expenditure of taxpayer money because we are investing in our community," said Hedges. "Families who become self-sufficient become homeowners, business owners and employees who give back to the community."
One example of the program's success is a past recipient of the program who went on to get her master's degree and become a PSS counselor.
"In looking at my community for resources to help support this program, I realized that I walk next to some of the best resources each day on this campus," said Brisbin.
She wants to enlist the help of the students and faculty in a writing campaign. "If everyone would take a few minutes and contact their Snohomish County Council Member or Ken Stark, it could go a long way towards keeping Project Self-Sufficiency and many dreams alive," said Brisbin
You can visit the following link for information on contacting Snohomish County Council members. http://www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/Departments/Council/ You can also contact Snohomish County Human Services Director Ken Stark at 425-388-7200.