New Emergency Housing Grant Available

The Washington State Department of Commerce is making $30 million in funding immediately accessible to every county under a new grant. This funding will help local governments create housing necessary for quarantine, isolation, and additional sanitation to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Mason County’s portion of that grant is $505,405.

“Upfront, the requirement is simple: coordinate with your local public health department and cities, and get going,” said Lisa Brown, Department of Commerce director. “This grant is designed to get the money out into the communities so we can make a difference immediately. Please work closely with your local public health jurisdiction to deploy these funds quickly.”

Each county will receive a minimum of $250,000, with the rest distributed based on the number of homeless persons as measured by the annual Point-In-Time Count. 

The funding will address the quarantine and isolation needs for people experiencing homelessness and other people who cannot isolate at home, including:

  • Create isolation and quarantine housing.
  • Create additional emergency shelter capacity for people experiencing homelessness to replace shelter capacity lost when the state required increased social distancing.
  • Increase sanitation in existing homeless housing.
  • Other costs associated with addressing the public health needs of people experiencing homelessness or displaced from their former housing due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The ultimate goal is to have facilities available as quickly as possible for those in need.

“This initial funding amount will help every community take immediate steps to help their residents,” Brown said.  “We are aware that more funding from other sources will be essential as we move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.”