Mayor Durkan Allocates $13 Million in Commerce Grant COVID-19 Relief to Support Homelessness




City has invested an additional $40 million in 2020 to for COVID-19 relief to support individuals experiencing homelessness


Seattle (July 14, 2020) – Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan signed legislation securing an additional $13 million in funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce COVID-19 Emergency Housing Grant to support our most vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis. In the initial days of the crisis, Mayor Durkan personally advocated to Governor Inslee to secure these funds. The City of Seattle has invested an additional $40 million in 2020 for COVID-19 funding to support our neighbors experiencing homelessness.


“Since the first case of COVID-19 was found in our region, the City has worked relentlessly to protect our most vulnerable residents from the worst impacts of this public health crisis. Providing food security, expanding hygiene services, and supporting efforts to safely social distance has saved lives,” said Mayor Durkan. “As this crisis continues to spread through communities across the country, it has never been clearer that cities cannot combat this virus alone. While grateful for these resources, we need more investment from the federal government to address the deep need within Seattle communities.”


Mayor Durkan has allocated funding towards the following homelessness-based investments:

$750,000 for hygiene intervention $1.6 million for shelter de-intensification operations $3.3 million for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) $2.5 million for food support at PSH sites $4.85 million for shelter and PSH facilities enhancements


“Our local governments are taking extraordinary measures to protect vulnerable residents during the pandemic while continuing to provide the basic services we all rely on,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Recognizing that homelessness was at crisis levels before COVID-19, this state funding meets crucial needs now and strengthens communities as they progress through a safe reopening and recovery in the weeks and months ahead.”


Sustain Emergency Hygiene and Shelter Response - $2.35 million

For our neighbors experiencing homelessness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding shelter space for existing clients to properly socially distance according to public health recommendations while increasing support for hygiene needs have been critical and life-saving investments. Following the end of FEMA’s emergency declaration, for two additional months the City will invest $750,000 in sustaining operations of hygiene resources like shower trailers, toilets and hand washing sinks throughout the City. In addition, $1.6 million will go towards continued shelter efforts created by the City..


Support for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) - $5.8 million

The City is directing $3.3 million in funding toward PSH programs that have lost support due to COVID-19. The City of Seattle supports more than 3,600 homes for individuals who were considered chronically homeless – typically characterized by very long periods of homelessness complicated by poor physical, behavioral, mental health, substance use disorder issues and/or victimization. This investment allows the City to fill the significant shortfall created by the loss of revenue associated with the Short-Term Rental Tax. Further investments include $2.5 million to provide 2,600 daily meals at the City’s PSH locations through December.


Service Provider Support $4.85 million

In response to concerns about the substantial and unanticipated costs associated with maintaining services in the pandemic environment, the Human Services Department will award $4.85 million to eligible service providers to help support and maintain Public Health – Seattle & King County and CDC COVID-19 related protections.


Since the start of the pandemic, Mayor Durkan and the City of Seattle have implemented a series of programs that support artists, nonprofits, small businesses, workers, and our most vulnerable including:


Launched free Citywide testing sites at locations in north and south Seattle; Announced her plan to create 500 permanent homes to support neighbors experiencing chronic homelessness;

Launched the “Seattle Protects” marketplace to connect local manufacturers and businesses with those in need of cloth face coverings; Implemented the “Stay Healthy Streets” pilot program as an effective option for travel to essential services;

Created and deployed Mobile Assessment Teams to test our most vulnerable in senior and long-term care establishments at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis; Invested $7 million in CARES Act funding towards food access programs for older adults and people experiencing homelessness;

Allocated $4 million in CARES Act funds toward rental assistance programs; Created a PPE collection program that accumulated more than one million items that were distributed to first responders and frontline essential workers throughout the region; Deferring utility payments for customers impacted by COVID-19;

Implementing a temporary moratorium on residential, small business, and nonprofit evictions to provide relief for working people financially impacted by COVID-19;

Creating temporary restaurant loading zones to facilitate curbside pickup at restaurants; Announcing a small business relief package that included deferred business taxes and a $2.5M stabilization fund;

Creating a new Arts Recovery Package to provide immediate financial relief to artists and cultural organizations that have been impacted by COVID-19;

Providing 6,250 Seattle families and 1,800 workers with $800 in grocery vouchers; Providing rent relief to tenants of City-owned facilities;

Opening emergency child care classrooms to help hundreds of kids of essential workers; Partnering with United Way of King County and King County to invest $5 million in rental assistance to help families stay in their homes; and

Launching the #SupportPugetSoundSmallBiz map to help residents find small businesses open for takeout and delivery in their neighborhood.

The City has also created a comprehensive resource page for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.