The city of Kent will award 19 grants totaling $721,381 from federal CARES Act funds to help nonprofits and other groups assist people in need of housing, food, medical and other services due to the impact of COVID-19.
The CARES Act bill allocated $670,541 in supplemental Community Development Block Grant funding to the city, which added $184,998 in unallocated previous block grant funds to the total. The city deducted $134,108 from the total amount for planning and administration activities.
“We did surveys about pressing needs of groups to develop a list of activities to fund,” said Dinah Wilson, city senior Human Services coordinator, during a July 28 report to the City Council’s Committee of the Whole virtual meeting.
The groups surveyed included nonprofits, the Cultural Communities Board, Kent Cultural Diversity Initiative Group, residents and stakeholders and asked them to identify pressing COVID-related community needs. Human Services staff developed a list of activities to fund, including food, rental/utility assistance, homeless Services, health care services, micro-enterprise, trauma counseling and COVID-related supplies.
A Review Panel comprised of Kent residents and city staff reviewed the applications and submitted 21 funding recommendations to the Human Services Commission, which approved recommendations to submit to Mayor Dana Ralph for final approval.
Thirty groups requested more than $2.4 million in funds. Groups could apply for up to two services, so there were a total of more than 70 applicants.
Councilmember Bill Boyce asked Wilson if the groups will need to report how they actually spent the funds.
“Absolutely, HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees block grant funds) requires lots of paperwork.” Wilson said. “We track outcomes, number served …. the scopes of work are very specific. We also want to report back to you on outcomes.”
Councilmember Satwinder Kaur asked if there are restrictions to how the funds are used and whether they can be used for administrative fees.
“We want funds to go to residents as much as possible, but they can ask for administrative fees and personnel costs because you cannot deliver services without staff,” said Wilson, who added when the city negotiates contracts with the groups, if the fee seems high, it can be negotiated down.
Community Development Block Grant awards:
■ Degh Tegh Community Kitchen: Groceries to seniors and hot meals for low income families in need. $25,000
■ Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN): Respond to increased need for domestic violence services. $12,000
■ East African Community Services (and Appian Way/Mercy Housing): Housing assistance to East African immigrant and refugee youth and families. $50,000
■ East African Community Services (and Appian Way/Mercy Housing: Culturally specific requests for Halal food. $20,000
■ Highline College: Assist disadvantaged women and minority business owners and entrepreneurs with workshops and technical assistance. $50,000
■ Kent City Football Club: Provide safe access to recreation for low income, primarily immigrant youth by connecting families with essential supplies. $25,000
■ Kent Youth and Family Services: Increased need for homeless services connected to COVID-19 for programs serving unhoused clients. $20,000
■ Khmer Community of Seattle King County: Grocery deliveries and vouchers. $25,000
■ King County Bar Association: Assist low income individuals who are threatened with eviction. $40,000
■ Multi-Service Center: Provide rent assistance to low-income renter households. $40,000
■ Neighborhood House: Provide assistance to low-income households. $30,000
■ Open Doors for Multicultural Families : Rental assistance. $50,000
■ Open Doors for Multicultural Families: Food Assistance. $30,000
■ Project Feast: Food assistance to low-income immigrants and refugee families and seniors. $20,000
■ Sea Mar Community Health Centers: Health care services. $25,000
■ Sea Mar Community Health Centers: Trauma counseling. $40,000
■ Team Redeemed Life Center: Food, clothing assistance. $10,000
■ World Relief Seattle: Rent/utility assistance to refugee and immigrant families. $75,000
■ YWCA of Seattle | King | Snohomish: Rent/utility assistance for homeless households. $134,381
Source: City of Kent Human Services Department