Since March, the King County Council has been providing significant funding to respond to the growing need for services across King County due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From assistance for small businesses to funding for free local testing, I’m working hard to help South King County get the support we need.
Support for Small Businesses
At my request, the County Council recently provided $1 million to local chambers of commerce and merchant associations to assist local small businesses access state and federal benefits. The funds can also be used to support local marketing efforts to try to help our small businesses stay afloat.
All eligible chambers and associations can receive $5,000 to start the work. A competitive grant process is ongoing for small business organizations to apply for an additional $25,000.
Impacts on Communities of Color
Across South King County we are seeing COVID-19 have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. In response, the Council allocated $3 million to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund administered by the Office of Equity and Social Justice.
In addition to funding much-need translation of public health information, the fund has also provided grants to community-based organizations which are serving high-risk communities. For example, the Community Network Council received funding to serve more than 2,400 hot meals to families and senior citizens, provide boxes of produce and other items such as diapers to families, and provide resource referrals to community members in the Kent area.
The next round of funding for these grants will be available soon. To apply, please visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/equity-social-justice.aspx or contact my office.
Ensuring Access to Technology
At a time when many are working and learning remotely, the divide between those who have access to technology and those who don’t is more significant than ever.
In response to this “digital divide,” the Council provided $1.5 million for grants to community-based organizations to support students, seniors, non-native English speakers and the unemployed by securing technology, internet services and training. The County is currently developing this grant program. Interested organizations should contact my office to be notified when this program is open for applications.
Free Testing Services
In partnership with local organizations and Ms. Tina Knowles Lawson’s #IDIDMYPART campaign and Beyoncé’s BeyGood organization, Seattle King County Public Health recently held free drive-through COVID-19 testing and essential supplies (e.g. diapers, toiletries) handout events in Renton and Federal Way.
In addition, several free testing sites are available in Kent and Renton. Information on testing site locations, hours, translation services, and more is available at https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/care/testing/locations.aspx.
While my staff and I are all working remotely, we are still available to serve you during the pandemic. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.
King County Councilmember
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