Inslee announces funding for rent assistance, tribal recovery efforts, small businesses and nonprofits

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state has distributed nearly $365 million in federal funds to help with COVID-19 response and relief efforts across Washington.

Distributed this week to seven state agencies and the University of Washington, the allocations include nearly $351 million in federal CARES Act funding and $13.5 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. To date, the state has distributed more than $950 million in federal COVID-19 relief and response funds.

“This next installment of funds for communities all over the state will be put to work right away to help stabilize and restart our state’s economy,” Inslee said. “These funds are going to those who need it the most— renters, small businesses, tribes and non-profit organizations working with young people. We will continue to everything we can to ensure that Washingtonians have what they need to be secure, stable and healthy.”

This week’s distributions include $163 million to the state Department of Commerce to provide aid to many of those hardest hit by the economic fallout from the worst pandemic in more than a century. It includes:
•    $100 million to provide rent assistance to low-income renters at risk of homelessness, using an existing framework to send rent payments directly to landlords.
•    $20 million to provide grants to help small businesses, support for local economic development organizations providing assistance to businesses, and support for data-driven recovery plans by region and industry.
•    $20 million to provide operating grants to support nonprofits working to address disparities and inequities exacerbated by increased need and decreased funding due to COVID-19, including a variety of community and youth development programs.
•    $20 million to assist Tribes with their pandemic recovery related efforts.

“Equity is a priority for distributing the funds,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Commerce is working with our partners in local government and economic and community development organizations in every region of the state, paying attention to historically marginalized or underserved communities and groups hardest hit by the virus.”

The state also sent $45 million to the Department of Health to support the agency’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts and to support its testing and contact tracing activities in Yakima.

Another $61 million went to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, mostly to assist child care providers and families receiving services from the Working Connections Child Care program. And the Department of Agriculture received $15.2 million to cover increased demands for the state’s Emergency Food Assistance Program.

The University of Washington received nearly $24 million, largely to support the university’s COVID testing efforts and reimburse UW Medicine’s public health response to the COVID-19 crisis.