The Council on Tuesday approved another round of emergency funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, approving $86.2 million in funding.
The King County Council has approved a third round of emergency funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adopted unanimously Tuesday afternoon, the $86.2 million supplemental omnibus budget provides funding for a variety of programs, headlined by a $27.2 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.
Council Chair Claudia Balducci:
“I’m proud that in this emergency supplemental budget, we are striking the right balance to prudently reserve essential funds to maintain our ongoing COVID-19 public health response, while also supporting families across King County who need roofs over their heads and food on the table to weather this unprecedented crisis.”
Councilmember Rod Dembowski:
“This supplemental budget prioritizes emergency health, housing and food security investments in response to COVID-19. 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.”
Councilmember Kathy Lambert:
“The COVID-19 relief funding approved today makes crucial investments in the community that will help us all as we continue to feel the impacts of this pandemic. I am very proud of the funding allocated in this budget that will be used to increase internet access for students throughout the county, support agriculture in our region, help provide legal assistance to those in need, assist the brave survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and so much more as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. I trust that this funding will be used effectively to assist our community during this difficult time.”
Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer:
“I am pleased that today’s emergency budget will provide millions of dollars to help address food insecurity, particularly in South King County. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring people have access to food has been my top priority.”
Councilmember Reagan Dunn:
"As our region continues to fight against COVID-19, the needs in our communities continue to grow. Today’s budget releases funds to sustain King County's pandemic response, assist those who are most impacted, and support our community partners who continue to serve the health and safety of our residents in this challenging time.”