Commerce announces new emergency housing grant for counties

  • March 19, 2020

Funds are available immediately

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Commerce is making $30 million in funding immediately accessible to every county under a new grant. This funding will help local governments create housing necessary for quarantine, isolation, and additional sanitation to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Upfront, the requirement is simple: coordinate with your local public health department and cities, and get going,” said Lisa Brown, Department of Commerce director. “This grant is designed to get the money out into the communities so we can make a difference immediately. Please work closely with your local public health jurisdiction to deploy these funds quickly.”

Each county will receive a minimum of $250,000, with the rest distributed based on the number of homeless persons as measured by the annual Point-In-Time Count.

The funding will address the quarantine and isolation needs for people experiencing homelessness and other people who cannot isolate at home, including:

  • Create isolation and quarantine housing.
  • Create additional emergency shelter capacity for people experiencing homelessness to replace shelter capacity lost when the state required increased social distancing.
  • Increase sanitation in existing homeless housing.
  • Other costs associated with addressing the public health needs of people experiencing homelessness or displaced from their former housing due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

The ultimate goal is to have facilities available as quickly as possible for those in need.

“This initial funding amount will help every community take immediate steps to help their residents,” Brown said.  “We are aware that more funding from other sources will be essential as we move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The amounts distributed to each county, and more information about the new COVID-19 emergency housing grant requirements are available here.

Grant contact: Kathy Kinard, homeless grants coordinator in the Community Services and Housing Division, at 360-742-2118 or Kathy.Kinard@commerce.wa.gov

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