Mayor Durkan Transmits Legislation To Deploy $14 million in Federal Resources in Fight Against COVID-19

Proposed Programs include Small Business Stabilization Fund and United Way’s Home Base

Seattle (April 24, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan transmitted legislation to accept and appropriate funds from the recently passed federal CARES Act to directly support the City’s response to COVID-19. Approximately $14 million in new federal funds will be directed toward food assistance, rent relief, investments in shelter and services for those experiencing homelessness and additional funding for the Small Business Stabilization Fund.  

“As we quickly redeploy this relief, we know that the city alone cannot scale to the needs of this crisis as it relates to the needs of our residents and small businesses,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “Our small businesses and workers are facing immediate and real economic harm across the region, which is why the next Congressional package must provide extended relief to individuals who lost their job or have been impacted by COVID-19. Seattle can only get through this unprecedented time together.” 

Mayor Durkan is proposing to use approximately $14 million in new federal funds towards these COVID-19 priorities: 

·        $1.5 million for the Small Business Stabilization Fund 

·        $5 million for the expansion of food delivery programs for older adults 

·        $2.1 million for meals at shelters 

·        $5.3 million for rental assistance programs for households at risk of eviction or homelessness and programs that serve low-income persons diagnosed with HIV/AIDS 

·        $150,000 to assist hospital patients’ transition to long term care 

“The City is doing everything it can to direct its resources to COVID-19 relief, including grants to small businesses, grocery vouchers for families in need, and hygiene centers for our homeless neighbors. As sponsor of this legislation, I’m pleased the majority of these new federal dollars will go toward grocery vouchers and grants for small businesses. We’ve heard from many constituents who didn’t have access to the first round of grocery vouchers and are in desperate need of help to put food on the table, and this money helps us reach more families in crisis. But as a City, we need federal resources coupled with local and state revenue to reach many more people,” said CouncilmemberTeresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide), and Chair of Council’s Select Budget Committee.

The City will direct $1.5 million to the Office of Economic Development’s (OED) Small Business Stabilization Fund. This will allow OED to provide $10,000 grants to 150 more small businesses financially impacted by COVID-19. Nearly 9,000 small businesses applied for the first round of OED’s Small Business Stabilization Fund and only 252 were awarded grants from the original $2.5 million allocation. Applications will not be re-opened for the newest round of funding; OED will select awardees from the thousands of applicants that did not receive funding via the first round. The Stabilization Fund was one of the first initiatives the Mayor launched to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The need goes far beyond what the City can provide without further support from the private sector, philanthropic partners, and economic relief from the federal government. Interested individuals and organizations can donate to OED’s Stabilization Fund by emailing covidpledge@seattle.gov

With many Seattle residents having lost their income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and are struggling to pay rent, $5.3 million of federal funds will be allocated for rental assistance programs for households at risk of eviction or homelessness. In partnership with United Way of King County and King County, the City recently contributed $1 million towards the expansion of United Way’s Home Base program. In a matter of 48 hours, nearly 7,000 applications were received for a program expected to serve 2,000. In addition, the Human Services Department will receive $425,000 from the federal Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) grants to support low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS to maintain or access permanent affordable housing through programs devised to assist with their long-term self-sufficiency.  

The City is also directing $5.13 million in funding to the Human Services Department (HSD) to support older adults. This amount includes $150,000 in Medicare Title XIX funding, adding capacity for Long Term Service Supports assessments to help hospital patients transition to another care setting. HSD’s Aging and Disability Services will also expand existing food delivery programs and shift to a home delivery program model to facilitate appropriate physical distancing and meet older residents where they are. These home deliveries to particularly vulnerable individuals can serve as wellness checks while maintaining physical distance. Further, HSD will receive funding from the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) to support additional meal service at the City’s new 24/7 shelters.   

The $14 million in new funding are from these specific programs, which have some defined limitations to uses:  

·        $5,640,185 from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) 

·        $426,000 from Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) 

·        $2,829,807 from Emergency Solutions Grant 

·        $4,983,977 from Older Americans Act Grant 

·        $146,669 from Medicare Title XIX