Community Reinvestment Project

The Community Reinvestment Plan Report (PDF) sets out a strategy for the distribution of $200 million from the Community Reinvestment Account to invest in communities disproportionately harmed by the historical design and enforcement of state and federal criminal laws and penalties for drug possession, “War on Drugs”.

Background

Couple smiling in home office

In 2022, the Legislature created the Community Reinvestment Account, setting aside $200 million to address racial, economic, and social disparities created by the historic design and enforcement of state and federal criminal laws and penalties for drug possession (the war on drugs). The Legislature directed that the Department of Commerce (Commerce) invest the funds in four program areas: economic development, civil and criminal legal assistance, community-based violence intervention and prevention services, and reentry services.

Commerce – in partnership with the state Office of Equity – worked with a contractor the Harriet Tubman Foundation for Safe Passage (HTFFSP) to develop a Community Reinvestment Plan laying out recommendations for how these funds will be invested over the next biennium (July 1, 2023-June 30, 2025). The plan development process had a strong emphasis on direct outreach to communities and individuals impacted by the war on drugs and actively involved community advisors and researchers.

The Community Reinvestment Plan recommends Commerce distribute the $200 million across the state through more than 17 individual grant programs in the four program areas. Subject matter experts will administer the grant programs across several Commerce units and divisions and in other state agencies. Some of the grant programs included in the Community Reinvestment Plan are expansions of existing programs – implementation will be relatively quick and easy. At the same time, some of the programs represent new ideas, requiring more time and collaboration to implement. Please read the full breakdown of the proposed programs (PDF).

Values Underlying Community Reinvestment Plan

African American young mother embrass her daughter with smile of love, looking each other on sofa at home, Black couple woman and kid express feelling of love.

The harm from unjust practices requires healing – recognizing the structural racism embedded in the historical design and enforcement of state and federal crime laws and penalties for drug possession. This means being explicit that historical policies targeted Black, Indigenous, and Latino residents of Washington and funding must be prioritized to begin to undo this harm in these communities.

We recognize the harm that carries over between generations within families and support steps toward intergenerational healing – recognizing the mental, spiritual and embodied impacts of the war on drugs. Not just in terms of physical detention and incarceration, but also in the harms that result from over-surveillance, over-policing, over-incarceration, and over-sentencing present throughout the criminal legal process.

We must connect community-level harm with community-level listening – considering harm from a community-level perspective, not only individual. We acknowledge that existing public datasets might not adequately capture the kinds of harm and impacts that communities have experienced and continue to experience.

Community Reinvestment Plan

young latinos in traditional barbershop

With funding distributed through Commerce, the Community Reinvestment Plan will support 17 different grant programs. Each of the program managers will distribute the funds in accordance with the Community Reinvestment Plan.

  • Employment Security Department – $25 million to provide workforce and small business services.
  • Office of Civil Legal Aid – $8 million to fund legal representation and vacating criminal records and legal financial obligation relief.
  • Department of Commerce – $167 million to support violence prevention, reentry services, and economic development.

Four Primary Funding Categories

Economic Development

$138 million. Programming is designed to address wealth disparities to promote asset building. Built on four strategic sets of investments: subsidized lending, financial assistance, outreach and support and workforce development.

Violence Reduction

$30 million over four program areas. Programs will consist of violence prevention and intervention services, and Community Healer, Youth Sports Capacity Building and Barber/Beauty Shop Health Navigation programs.

Reentry Services

$12 million. Programs, facilitated by community-based organizations, focused on improving transitions from incarceration by providing access to services including housing, employment services, education, legal aid, transportation, communication, and basic needs.

Legal Assistance

$8 million. Creation of a software platform to facilitate legal financial obligation relief and case assistance.

Eligibility and Focus Areas

Consistent with the funding source, ESSB Section 128(134) of Chapter 297, Laws of 2022 (SB 5693), services and benefits are prioritized for communities impacted by the historical design and enforcement of state and federal criminal laws and penalties for drug possession, including but not limited to Black, Indigenous, and Latino individuals and communities.

By and For Organizations

Given the disparities caused by the war on drugs, in developing and implementing the Community Reinvestment Plan, priority will be given to Black, Indigenous, and Latino By and For organizations with the following characteristics.

  • Be part of, rooted in, and defined by the identity of the Black, Indigenous, and Latino community.
  • Have leadership and staff who belong to the Black, Indigenous, and Latino community.
  • Build trust, advocate, respond, and solve problems specific to community members.
  • Have roots in their communities as change agents and providers of mitigating systems of community service.
  • Invest in and work with community members to improve their quality of life.

Geographic  Considerations

Proportionate to the amount of harm, grant programs will distribute roughly 64% of funds to six counties: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane and Yakima. The remainder of the investment will support the other counties across the state.

Measuring Outcomes and Benefits

Beautiful small business owner

The Community Reinvestment Plan (CRP) must demonstrate significant long-term economic benefits to the state, a region, or a specific community within the state. Measuring outcomes involves carefully assessing and tracking the economic impact of various investments over time. This will include factors such as new job creation, job retention, increased personal wealth, and higher incomes for individuals and families. Impacts on wealth disparities will be realized by actions designed to promote asset building, such as home ownership, and expanding access to financial resources, including but not limited to grants and loans for small businesses and entrepreneurs, financial literacy training, and other small business training and support activities.

Among other things, the success and effectiveness of the Community Reinvestment programs will be determined by the geographic and demographic impact of the distribution of the funds to individuals and families harmed by the war on drugs.

Each grant program will have Key Performance Indicators reported out using a consolidated accountable and transparent reporting mechanism. Data points unique to each grant program will measure and allow us to understand outcomes. The Community Reinvestment Plan implementation will integrate racial equity considerations in all outreach and contractual programs and practices, and be a catalyst for change to traditional Commerce practices and systems. To be successful, the Community Reinvestment Plan implementation will require intentional, regular and transparent communication internally within Commerce and externally with other state agencies, grantees, potential grantees, and community partners.

Contact

Contact the Community Reinvestment Project Team at CRP@commerce.wa.gov

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Get Involved

Open Grants, Loans, and RFP’s

Now accepting proposals for the Community-Led Firearm Prevention Grant. https://www.commerce.wa.gov/contracting-with-commerce/ofsvp-solicits-proposals-for-community-led-firearm-violence-prevention/

Open positions

Commerce Specialist https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/washington/jobs/4397771/commerce-specialist-3

Resources

Executive Orders

Supporting Materials

Four Primary Funding Categories