The King County Council on Tuesday approved a sixth round of supplemental funding in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The $92 million budget includes funds for eviction protection and rental assistance, vaccination efforts, PPE, community-based organizations and more.
“The Council’s unanimous approval of the 6th Covid Budget marks the year’s first big step forward in addressing the health and financial needs of our community as we face the continuing challenges of Covid together,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “This budget addresses critical needs in public health and provides a massive amount of assistance to residents struggling to pay rent. We also apply the lessons learned over this last difficult year and created many improvements to our systems, adding a hub-and-spoke model to work with community-based organizations and an advisory committee to the rental assistance program and an accounting system that will allow small organizations without deep reserves to receive assistance when they cannot wait for reimbursement.”
While this budget largely represents efforts to maintain existing support and programs responding to COVID-19, it still makes large investments in several key areas:
- $45.2 million for rental assistance funded by Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, a $900 billion supplement to CARES Act
- $29 million for public health response and county operations funded by reappropriation of unspent Coronavirus Relief Funds
- $11.2 million for vaccination efforts for 60 days funded by state grants
- $5 million to establish a revolving fund to provide upfront payment for grants to community-based organizations that cannot wait for reimbursement
- $1.9 million to extend the JustCARE and Co-LEAD programs to end of March
In 2020, Council allocated $263 million in CARES Act funding through five supplemental budgets. With the pandemic still far from over, however, councilmembers expect a seventh budget proposal in the coming weeks, this time funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.
“But while this is an important and essential step, much of the real work in 2021 remains before us. We will be receiving the 7th Covid Budget from Executive Constantine tomorrow and taking it up at the April 20th meeting of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. At this meeting we will be determining how best to allocate the new and significant funding coming to us from the U.S. Treasury with the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) by Congress and the signing of it into law by Pres. Biden on March 11th. King County expects to receive well over $400 million.”
The above is a press release from King County Council. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable. The publication of this press release does not indicate an endorsement of its content.