Edmonds may fund $1,000 cash payments for coronavirus relief

If approved, residents earning under $52,000 could qualify for cash or services via nonprofits.

EDMONDS — The Edmonds City Council is considering whether to fund up to $1,000 in cash payments to residents and families earning less than $52,000.

The city has $225,000 in its budget to fight homelessness.

With unemployment rising and other financial hardships stemming from the coronavirus, some city officials are thinking of shifting $100,000 to local nonprofits and social service providers, to help prevent people from losing housing.

“It just seems like an absolutely obvious choice to deploy some of those funds to keep vulnerable individuals and families in their homes,” said Councilmember Luke Distelhorst, who proposed the ordinance along with the city’s development services director, Shane Hope. “A crisis like this is a time when I really think we need to act, especially on behalf our citizens who need that assistance so they can stay in their homes and put food on the table.”

Under the proposal, eligible residents could not make more than 60% of the county’s median household income. About a quarter of the city’s households may qualify for some assistance. In theory, many of the payments would be under $1,000.

If approved, local nonprofits like the YWCA, Washington Kids in Transition and the Verdant Health Commission would request money from the city to give to Edmonds families that qualify. That could be in the form of a cash payment or a service, such as renting people hotel rooms. Afterward, the nonprofit would file a report to the city explaining who they helped and how.

The benefit of using the nonprofits is that they already have the infrastructure for working with people who would qualify for the program, Distelhorst said. Edmonds would join the cities of Shoreline and Tacoma, which have enacted similar programs.

In Shoreline, the city council set aside a $100,000 emergency fund for local service organizations and nonprofits. That money will go toward food, emergency shelter and other goods. One area it doesn’t cover is rent assistance.

Tacoma’s plan is a lottery system where residents who earn less than 50% of the median household income can get up t0 $1,000 in rent relief paid directly to their landlord. The city set aside $1.2 million for the program.

When the Edmonds ordinance was discussed earlier this month, council members generally approved of the idea, but several had concerns. The homelessness fund is also supposed to pay for a part-time social services coordinator, a position the city has been trying to fill for months. Some of Distelhorst’s colleagues worried the ordinance could make it more difficult to do so.

Additionally, Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas said the city ought to know how COVID-19 was affecting its budget before committing the $100,000.

“I want us to be cautious because once this money’s gone, it’s gone,” she said during the April 14 council meeting.

The council is set to vote on the ordinance Tuesday.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Michael Jensen, left, and Nathan Jensen, right, pick up trash in their encampment that they being forced to clear out of by Parks Department the near Silver Lake on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Annual homeless count could shed light on pandemic’s impact

Snohomish County canceled its 2021 point-in-time count. Officials hope this year’s will bring clarity.

Section of a tsunami high ground map. (Island County)
Tsunami warning fizzled, but future threat to Whidbey is real

State and county officials have long warned about the possibility of a tsunami striking the island.

Judge: Sex abuse of former Marysville student violated law

A woman sued the district last year, accusing a longtime art teacher of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

Darrell Cain, Pierce College Puyallup president and incoming Everett Community College interim president
Pierce College Puyallup president picked to lead EvCC for now

Everett Community College’s board chose Darrell Cain as its interim president.

Christian Sayre (Washington County Sheriff's Office)
$1 million bail for Everett bar owner charged with rapes

Christian Sayre, 35, owner of The Anchor Pub, was charged last week with 10 counts of felony sex crimes.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Democrats ready to ditch the other ‘grand bargain’ of 2021

Here’s what’s happening on Day 10 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Jonathan Kline said a museum would be coming in to take most of the pews from the former Jehovah's Witness church on Morris Road outside Coupeville. The Whidbey Homeless Coalition wants to turn the building into an overnight shelter.
Appeal filed against homeless shelter project near Coupeville

More than 300 neighbors signed a letter saying the location isn’t an appropriate place for the shelter.

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
As omicron surges, frustrations and challenges mount in correction facilities

More than 10% of those in state prisons are infected. “We’re kind of in this Twilight Zone cycle,” one prisoner said.

The entrance to the new free COVID vaccination site at the Everett Mall on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free mass-vaccination site opens Tuesday at Everett Mall

Hundreds of appointments are up for grabs at the state-run site, which will offer initial doses, boosters and pediatric shots.

Most Read