The Human Services Chamber has successfully worked to increase the amount of funding that goes to support human services and to ensure that these dollars are allocated through a competitive and transparent process that ensures taxpayer funds are spent effectively to achieve maximum results for the community.
The City of Cincinnati allocates a portion of its general fund budget to human services providers to fulfill specified policy objectives, which include reducing homelessness, increasing gainful employment, violence prevention, addiction treatment, and senior services (see graphic below). Over the past two years, this human services funding has supported critical job training and homeless services for over 12,000 City residents. Under the process that has been used by the City over the past decade, the United Way works with the City-appointed Human Services Advisory Committee (HSAC) to develop and issue RFPs to fulfill the policy objectives established by Council. HSAC reviews the RFP submissions and recommends organizations to be awarded along with the corresponding funding amounts to Council. Council makes the final determination on awards. This process ensures that awards are transparent and results-based.
In 2017, City Council approved an ordinance proposed by HSC that will incrementally increase human services funding to 1.5% of the general fund budget by 2023. From the early 1990’s until 2004, the City consistently funded human services at 1.5% of the General Fund Budget. In 2004, that amount dropped to .6%. By 2017, the percentage had only increased to .8% of the General Fund Budget, despite the fact that the City ranked in the top 5 nationally among cities with the highest poverty. Since this ordinance was adopted, City Council has approved an additional $2M for human services (1.2% of the General Fund budget for the FY2019-20 budget) and will continue to allocate additional funding every year through 2023 to benefit the city’s most vulnerable residents.