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Council approves more than $389 million for courts backlog, community supports, rental assistance, and more in latest round of emergency COVID funding


The King County Council on Tuesday approved its latest round of emergency COVID-19 funding, a supplemental budget totaling more than $389 million.


The King County Council on Tuesday approved its latest round of emergency COVID-19 funding, a supplemental budget totaling more than $389 million.

This, the eighth round of COVID funding since last March, brings King County’s total emergency funding for the pandemic to more than $1.4 billion.

“Facing historic backlogs and delays in the courts due to the coronavirus pandemic, this eighth COVID budget allocates the resources to ensure access to justice -- that crime victims, such as survivors of physical and sexual assault and domestic violence, may still seek resolution, that citizens may utilize civil legal aid and the courts to resolve disputes, and that individuals accused of a crime may still access a speedy trial,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who chairs the budget committee. “Beyond that, it strengthens our public health response, provides rental assistance for tenants and landlords, invests in community organizations, and continues the strong record King County has built in responding to COVID with equity, creativity, and sustainability at the forefront.”

The funding covers a variety of programs and operations that address both direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic, including health, housing, economic impacts, legal system backlogs and more.

The following is a breakdown of spending in the approved budget.

It appropriates $67 million of the remaining $70 million of the county’s Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (included in American Rescue Plan Act—ARPA-- funding) allocation for the following:

  • Legal System Backlog

$42.5 million

  • Public Health Response to the pandemic

$14.6 million

  • Community Supports, including Civil Legal Aid and Tiny House Villages

$3.7 million

  • Economic Recovery / Workforce Development

$5.6 million

  • County Operations in response to the pandemic

$0.9 million


The approved budget also appropriates an additional $321 million, funded by various federal and state grants (most of which are also supported by ARPA) and the county’s General Fund for the following:

  • Community Supports (Community Development Block Grants, HOME Grants, Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program, Immigrant Community Supports)

$279.6 million

  • Vaccination Efforts (Jail Health, Mass Vaccination Program, Partner Agencies)

$27.7 million

  • Public Health Response to the pandemic

$11.3 million

  • County Operations in response to the pandemic

$2.4 million



Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer: “I am pleased with the significant investments this budget makes in our region’s recovery, including much-needed investments in our criminal justice system to address the current backlog of cases caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns. It is important that we continue to focus on our return to normal in King County.”

Councilmember Kathy Lambert: “This budget makes some significant investments in our court system to reduce the backlog and help stop further delays of justice for hundreds of violent crime victims. I am also pleased with the investments this budget makes to reduce health disparities and increase workforce development, especially in the health care field through a partnership with the Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment. This partnership will build a health initiative to connect women of color, veterans, and those most impacted by COVID to living wage jobs in healthcare in order to build a skilled, community-based workforce to address health disparities in King County.”

Councilmember Joe McDermott: “We are not out of the pandemic yet, but we can continue supporting an economic recovery that helps those worst hit by this pandemic. Supporting women of color, veterans and others most impacted by the pandemic, we will be investing in a workforce program that will provide pathways to good paying, secure jobs in the healthcare industry here in King County. All of this is good for people who need an opportunity to thrive in this economic recovery while developing a robust community health infrastructure that can support all our neighbors in the coming years.”

Councilmember Rod Dembowski: “This eighth COVID-19 response budget prioritizes fundamental human and community needs. It brings our total rental support appropriations during the pandemic emergency to approximately $350 million. It helps ensure access to justice. And it continues to prioritize our public health response to the pandemic and its impacts.”

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