Commerce helps secure $17.6 million in federal funding for housing assistance

Funding is through Continuum of Care program, which is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington communities have another $110 million for new and existing housing projects thanks to funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition. Providers across Washington are working on 205 new and existing projects that provide temporary or permanent housing assistance and/or supportive services to people experiencing homelessness.

Of that, more than $17.6 million will go to the Balance of State CoC, for which Commerce is the lead agency. It includes most of the state’s counties. The remaining $92.4 million goes to Washington’s five other CoCs, which are the largest urban counties in the state (King, Snohomish, Pierce, Spokane and Clark).

“The continued federal funding for these individual projects is integral in our state’s effort to house and provide stability to people experiencing homelessness, especially in our more rural communities,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “We’re pleased to lead this partnership with local housing and health care providers. These projects advance equity in the housing crisis response system and connect the most vulnerable households to low-barrier housing opportunities and voluntary services.”

HUD’s Continuum of Care program is designed to create a regional, community-wide approach to ending homelessness with project-level grants for temporary or permanent housing assistance, supportive services, planning and data collection. CoCs are geographic areas with planning bodies including local governments, state agencies, tribes, non-profits and partner organizations that together apply for funding for projects serving people experiencing homelessness in their jurisdiction. Across the country, nearly $3.16 billion was awarded to more than 7,000 projects.

“The success of this year’s application reflects the collaboration and exemplary work accomplished by the Balance of State CoC and our partners,” said Melissa Hess, co-chair of the Balance of State CoC and deputy director at Washington State Community Action Partnership. “We are thankful to HUD for its support of our existing programs through renewals, as well as supporting our CoC to expand services that will allow us to increase access to housing for our community members who need it the most.”

Washington awards by Continuum of Care:

  • Washington Balance of State CoC: $17,598,846
  • Everett/Snohomish County CoC: $16,098,480
  • Seattle/King County CoC: $63,855,086
  • Spokane City and County CoC: $6,333,005
  • Tacoma, Lakewood/Pierce County CoC: $4,530,152
  • Vancouver/Clark County CoC: $2,316,242

In the 2024 award year, the Balance of State CoC received its maximum possible award of nearly $17.6 million, which represents a 21% increase over the 2023 award year. Five new projects were among the 74 that were awarded funding in the BoS CoC:

  • Family Support Center of South Sound in Thurston County and Yakima Neighborhood Health received awards for new permanent supportive housing projects for individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness.
  • Turning Pointe Survivor Advocacy Center in Mason County and YWCA of Kitsap County were awarded funding for new projects that serve survivors of domestic violence.
  • Northwest Youth Services was awarded a new project that will provide youth and young adults experiencing homelessness with transitional housing and/or short term rental assistance.

Eighteen of the Balance of State CoC projects are part of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, which sets aside funding for innovative projects that serve youth and young adults experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

CoCs receiving funding gave evidence of their community-wide commitment to ending homelessness by demonstrating local partnerships with housing providers, health care organizations, victim service providers, school districts and others. They highlighted their use of data and performance measurement in funding decisions and showed how they are advancing racial equity, applying anti-discrimination policies for LGTBQ+ individuals, implementing projects with proven best practices of low barriers to program entry, and engaging with people with lived experience of homelessness in program development and decision making.

As the collaborative applicant, or lead agency, for the Balance of State CoC, Commerce:

  • Establishes a CoC governing board
  • Implements policies and procedures
  • Collects and reports system-wide client level data using the Homeless Management information System
  • Conducts an annual one-night count of homeless housing beds available and people experiencing homelessness in the CoC
  • Establishes a centralized or coordinated entry system for conducting intakes and referrals to homelessness housing programs in the CoC’s geographic area
  • Produces the application for funding in response to the competition outlined in the annual Notice of Funding Opportunity

Full results of the competition and awards by state are available online.

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