Commerce announces $20 million emergency response grants for Tribes

Public health staff, medical facilities, telehealth, business and job support, and social supports such as food, housing to benefit from new state CARES Act funding

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Commerce announced $20 million in emergency Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding is now available to the 29 federally recognized Tribes in the state to bolster their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Communities across the state are working to respond to the health and economic impacts of the virus,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Tribes in Washington state are an important part of our communities, both culturally and economically. It is critical we get this money out to the Tribes as quickly as possible to help support families, businesses and organizations that need the resources and support the state’s recovery.

“We are fortunate to have solid relationships with our neighboring governments, and we have been working closely with them throughout the pandemic to protect everyone,” said Puyallup Tribal Chairman David Z. Bean. “The coronavirus doesn’t recognize boundaries or jurisdictions. That’s why we must all work together to help fight it, protect our communities and recover from its devastating effects.”

Each Tribe will receive $380,000. The remaining $7.98 million will be allocated based on an agreed formula based on Tribal employees and enrolled member data.

The funds are eligible for expenses and activities to support Tribal emergency response to the COVID19 pandemic. This includes public health response, Tribal emergency response staff, medical facilities and telehealth capabilities, business and job support programs, and social supports such as food and housing.

“Challenges caused by the pandemic continue to cause difficulties for Tribes across the state,” said Commerce Tribal Liaison Ernie Rasmussen. “While we know much more about how to combat the COVID-19 crisis, we still have much work to do, and the government-to-government partnerships are necessary and critically important to preserving public health and retaining valuable jobs. The cultural identity that Tribes provide for Washington state along with the positive economic impact as the seventh-largest employer makes this a natural and highly productive partnership.”

This funding is in addition to $10 million in state emergency funds released to support the Tribes in March and April.

More information about the Tribal grants is posted here on Commerce’s website, under the “COVID-19 Emergency Response Grant for Tribal Governments” section.

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