Commerce invests $1.2 million in homelessness diversion programs statewide

Targeted investments address BIPOC and historically marginalized communities, look to reduce inflow, waitlists in homeless crisis response system

OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced more than $1.2 million in grants to provide homelessness diversion services throughout Washington state. The program is intended to help families and individuals identify practical solutions for resolving a housing crisis quickly and safely, and may include short-term services and financial assistance.

For example, a family is about to be evicted because of job loss and applies for diversion services. Through problem-solving conversations, the service provider works together with them to identify potential ways to maintain housing. Steps may include advocacy and supports such as helping with job search, negotiations with a landlord or friends and family, help with finances to ensure they can afford upcoming rent, or, if necessary, helping them relocate to another city where they can stay with family.

This funding for diversion services can ultimately reduce inflow to the homeless crisis response system and waitlist placements. The awards announced today prioritize services in communities that have disproportionate numbers of people experiencing homelessness, housing instability and housing affordability.

“Providing diversion services when people first face a housing crisis is a proven strategy to help struggling families and individuals,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong.  “This funding will reduce growing pressures and demands on our emergency shelter and affordable housing providers.”

Commerce received 105 competitive applications requesting $20,539,096. The overwhelming response to this funding opportunity emphasizes the need for homeless diversion services in communities throughout the state.

Funding was awarded to seven “by-and-for” organizations – those that have a primary mission and history of supporting and providing services to BIPOC and unserved communities, and that are culturally based, directed and substantially controlled by individuals from the specific population they serve:

King County

  • Neighborhood House – $240,985 to serve BIPOC families and individuals
  • African Community Development Housing – $167,291 to serve African diaspora immigrants and refugees
  • YouthCare – $158,937 to serve LGBTQA+ and BIPOC youth and young adults
  • Organization for Prostitution Survivors – $150,000 to serve survivors of prostitution

Pierce County

  • Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center – $156, 413 to serve BIPOC families

Snohomish County

  • Washington West African Center – $150,000 to serve West African immigrants

Yakima County

  • Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic – $252,118 to serve Hispanic, native and migrant seasonal workers

The program has now invested approximately $3 million in diversion services through three rounds of funding since 2021. To learn more about all of Commerce’s programs and services addressing homelessness, visit our website.


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