The City of Cincinnati provides human services funding through its General Fund and passes through funds allocated by the federal government.
Human Services from the General Fund
The City of Cincinnati allocates a portion of its general fund budget each year to human services providers to fulfill policy objectives specified by City Council. The current policy priorities include reducing homelessness, increasing gainful employment, violence prevention, addiction treatment, and senior services (see graphic below). Over the past two years, the City’s human services funding has supported critical job training and homeless services for over 12,000 City residents.
The United Way of Greater Cincinnati administers the funding, working with the City-appointed Human Services Advisory Committee (HSAC) to develop and issue requests for proposals to fulfill the policy objectives. 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 the “1.5% ordinance” was adopted, the annual amount of human services funding City Council has approved has increased by over $1.5M to $5M in the 2021 budget.