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Sunday, October 2, 2022

County COVID-19 Response Prompts Another $86.2M In Emergency Funding

On Tues., The King County Council has approved a third round of emergency funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adopted unanimously, the $86.2 million supplemental omnibus budget provides funding for a variety of programs, headlined by a $12 million increase for food security, rental assistance, homeless services and a variety of measures to boost social programs and address structural racism. The budget also includes millions to support digital equity in K-12 schools and further invest in behavioral health issues that have skyrocketed during the pandemic. The proposal also includes a provision to supply Metro buses with face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Because of COVID-19, families, communities, workers and businesses across King County are hurting health wise, emotionally and financially,” said King County Council Budget Chair Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “This spending package is aimed at providing relief to their urgent needs and from the economic fallout caused by the pandemic. It also will help position our County to bounce back once the crisis is behind us. And, importantly, the funding is targeted to support historically disadvantaged communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic – an important step to take if we are to dismantle and disrupt racism in our communities once and for all. And, our work is not yet finished. We will take up another COVID-focused budget in August to help with urgent needs being faced by our residents, workers and businesses during this tumultuous time.”

The Council first approved $27.4 million in the first COVID-19 emergency funding measure in March and another $62.9 million was approved in mid-May. As with prior measures, King County expects much of the emergency spending to be reimbursed by state and federal funds.

“This supplemental budget prioritizes emergency health, housing and food security investments in response to COVID-19,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski. “I thank our federal delegation for its hard work to secure these funds. They have proven essential to combat the pandemic and address its economic impacts.”

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