Snohomish County uses ARPA funds to partner with Edmonds, Lynnwood for shelter, behavioral health projects

The cities of Edmonds and Lynnwood will be among the beneficiaries of a new Snohomish County program that will invest $9.6 million in the shelter and behavioral health initiatives.

According to a county news release, the Shelter & Behavioral Health Partnership Program seeks to leverage federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars through collaborations with cities. In total, Snohomish County partnered with nine cities on 11 projects that expand access — using pandemic relief funding —  to shelter, social services and behavioral health services across the county.

Collaborative investments will result it:

  • Shelter units that will house an estimated 36 individuals;
  • Rent and rapid rehousing assistance to help at least 130 individuals and families either stay in their homes or find new housing; and
  • Increased behavioral health services, including social workers embedded with emergency response, navigation services for those interacting with the criminal legal system, case managers for unhoused residents, wraparound services for disadvantaged students, and in-school mental health clinicians and social workers.

“We have heard the community loud and clear. We must make significant progress to provide safe shelter for unhoused residents and address the growing mental health crisis made worse by the traumatizing impacts of the pandemic,” said County Executive Dave Somers. “By working in partnership with cities and community organizations, we can stretch our dollars and provide more needed services to more vulnerable people, making our communities safer for all. I appreciate our city partners putting forward innovative, compassionate solutions to some of our toughest challenges.”

“This is an important opportunity to house and support some of our most vulnerable people here in Snohomish County,” said County Councilmember Stephanie Wright, which represents Edmonds and Lynnwood in District 3. “Disruptions caused by the pandemic had a disproportionate effect on many of these families, and working with our cities and other organizations will allow us to provide support to more people than would be otherwise reached.”

The program is structured as an ARPA matching program. Snohomish County matched funding for city-led, ARPA-eligible projects up to $250,000 per project, and cities could receive funding for up to two projects. In total, the county invested $2.3 million of its ARPA allocation into these shelter and behavioral health efforts, with jurisdiction matches resulting in $7.3 million in total investments.

“I’m proud of our ARPA-funded Housing Support Grant Program, one of the first such programs in the region, which is making a real difference for households and individuals who have faced particular financial hardship since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson. “The county’s contribution is much appreciated and will allow us to serve even more impacted Edmonds residents.”

The county will provide $250,000 for the City of Edmonds Household Support Grant Program, with Edmonds contributing $3 million from its own federal ARPA funds.

The City of Edmonds’ Household Support Grant Program addresses financial hardship caused by the pandemic by providing direct financial assistance to Edmonds households earning up to 60% of the area median income. Grants can provide assistance for housing expenses including, but not limited to, delinquent rent or mortgage payments in an effort to prevent eviction and keep Edmonds residents sheltered. The grant program establishes a maximum annual reimbursement of $2,500 per household. Edmonds residents can learn more about this program and apply here.

The county will also contribute $250,000 to a partnership between the City of Lynnwood and Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOAWW) for a rapid rehousing program. Lynnwood will provide $250,000 from its federal ARPA allocation to the effort.

This project – administered by VOAWW – will rehouse 30 unsheltered families in Lynnwood for one year. In addition to rapid rehousing services, the families will also receive wraparound services provided by two full-time case managers.

“We are grateful to partner with Snohomish County to enhance and amplify relief efforts for our community members in need,” stated Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell. “This thoughtful and thorough approach to distributing federal relief funds will help to ensure a broad approach to supporting our community.”

Lynnwood will also receive $150,000 in county funds — matched by $150,000 in city ARPA money — for a partnership with Kids in Transition. The funding provide wraparound services to Lynnwood students in the Edmonds School District classified as McKinney-Vento, meaning they do not have a fixed, permanent nighttime residence. There are 139 such classified students in Lynnwood, and these students have a 50% graduation rate. Wraparound services will include counseling, system navigation, access to Kids in Transition’s diaper bank, food, hygiene, clothing, career services and mentorship.

County Executive Somers established the Office of Recovery & Resilience to guide the county’s recovery work by ensuring federal pandemic relief is administered quickly, effectively, and equitably. Information on the county’s recovery work can be found at www.snohomishcountywa.gov/recovery.

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