(The Center Square) – The Seattle Human Services Department is awarding 22 agencies with a collective $3.8 million to support low-income families by providing them with culturally specific services.

The agencies will receive annual awards ranging from $86,000 to $300,000 starting in 2024 and continuing through 2028, according to the department. After that, agencies can renew their awarded contract with the Seattle Human Services Department for another four years.

The programs receiving funding are experienced at providing culturally relevant services to families in the BIPOC – black black and indigenous and people of color – community, as well as refugees, immigrants and families experiencing homelessness.

The department received 35 proposals, which is a 37% increase from 2018. The 35 requests totaled nearly $9.5 million. Out of the 22 accepted programs, 15 are receiving first-time awards through the department.

“This is an investment in services rooted in community and often led by community,” Seattle Human Services Department Youth and Family Empowerment Division Director Shukri Olow said in a statement. “Many of the 22 programs funded are new [Human Services Department] partners with deep connections to [black, indigenous and people of color] families, and their work will result in improved access to resources.”

Funded programs include workshops and classes on child and youth development, as well as aid in adjusting to life in the U.S. for refugees and immigrants.

Low-income families are expected to have more opportunities to gather for mutual support and learn about parenting practices.

“For families, and especially children, to thrive they need connection connection to cultural traditions, their communities, and their practices,” Seattle Human Services Department Director Tanya Kim said. “This connection builds resilience, it improves educational and life outcomes, and it helps counteract the racism and discrimination many children experience outside their families.”

The 22 organizations receiving funds from the human services department are:

African Community Housing & DevelopmentAtlantic Street CenterBlack Star Line African Centered Family Educational CollectiveChildren’s Home Society of WashingtonChinese Information and Service CenterCommunities of Rooted BrillianceCultivate South ParkDivine Alternatives for Dads ServicesEritrean Association of Greater SeattleFamilies of Color SeattleHummingbird Indigenous Family ServicesInterCultural Children and Family ServicesMary’s PlaceNative Family Learning LodgeNeighborhood HouseOpen Doors for Multicultural FamiliesSeattle CARES Circle of National Cares Mentoring MovementSeattle Indian Health BoardSolid GroundSouthwest Youth and Family ServicesVoices of TomorrowWashington Therapy Fund Foundation

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