Edmonds offers up to $1,000 in COVID aid for bills or food

Those earning less than 60% of the median income are eligible for rent and grocery money and more.

EDMONDS — The city of Edmonds is going to spend up to $1,000 per household on rent, utilities, phone bills or groceries for some qualifying residents.

The council voted 5-1 Tuesday to approve an ordinance that shifts $100,000 from the city’s homelessness response fund, in three monthly installments, to a new coronavirus relief program. Local nonprofits will use that money to pay bills and provide gift cards for some residents, up to $1,000 per household.

To be eligible, residents must be effected by the coronavirus pandemic and make less than 60% of the median household income. For a household of two, that’s about $47,000. In Edmonds, that’s about 4,000 people, according to a city report. Relief could come as soon as late May or early June.

“I think it’s a really positive development for the people who need that assistance,” said City Councilman Luke Distelhorst, who proposed the ordinance. “(With unemployment), based on what they’ve released federally, we know there continue to be really staggering numbers.”

Now, the city is working on requesting proposals from nonprofits like the YWCA and Washington Kids in Transition. If they’re selected, they’ll have access to $33,000 in city dollars for the first month and the city will announce how residents can get relief.

Previously, there were considerations of cash payments to some qualifying residents. Now, money intended for rent and other bills will go to directly to landlords and service providers. Other options include gift cards to grocery stores.

“The ordinance leaves the options open because each agency has a different way of providing that assistance,” Distelhorst said.

At the end of each month, service providers will give the city a report on how the money was spent. Then, the council will discuss whether to continue funding the program.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, some members were concerned about committing the entire $100,000 to an un-piloted program. Councilwoman Laura Johnson added an amendment to dole out the cash in three monthly installments, which gives the council the option to halt payments after each month.

Initially, council members were concerned the ordinance would use money that would otherwise pay for a new social services coordinator. In reality, other city dollars have been set aside for that position, which the city is close to filling.

Councilwoman Kristiana Johnson was the only member to vote against the ordinance. She said there isn’t enough data to show the need for the program.

Other council members worried that the elderly or veterans, two groups not primarily served by the YWCA or Washington Kids in Transition, could have a harder time receiving relief.

“We know that there are different communities that may be harder to reach whether that is language or a digital divide,” Distelhorst said. “I think we are going to have to be creative and reach out to our partners.”

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

Most Read