FINANCIAL RESOURCES

We have compiled resources to help people with financial needs during this unprecedented time. You can find all of the resources on the King County Council website, including options to download each page as a PDF if you would like to share it with others or keep it handy. (https://www.kingcounty.gov/council/gethelp.aspx)

SPECIAL GROCERY HOURS FOR SENIORS, AT-RISK SHOPPERS

Many grocery stores across King County—including Safeway, Whole Foods, Target, and Uwajimaya—have announced special times of day where only seniors and at-risk people can shop. My staff has compiled a partial list of participating stores and hours on our website. https://kingcounty.gov/council/gethelp/GroceryHours.aspx

OUTREACH GRANTS NOW AVAILABLE

Locally, the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice released criteria for community-based organizations to apply for grants up to $25,000 to fund outreach, education, and community engagement in these critical areas: language access, health literacy, cultural sensitivity, community and ethnic media outreach, and anti-bias and stigma resources. The grants are funded by $1 million that I voted to approve as part of emergency funding for the county’s COVID-19 response. You can read more information on the program here https://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/equity-social-justice.aspx

CULTURAL RELIEF FUND

At King County, our cultural funding agency 4Culture will be offering a Cultural Relief Fund of $1 million for artists and creatives. Full details and timeline are not yet finalized, but I encourage visiting their COVID-19 site (https://www.4culture.org/covid-19-response/) for details. They have also compiled a resource list for cultural organizations and practitioners which will be updated daily.

FREE INTERNET ACCESS AND HOTSPOTS

Comcast Xfinity WiFi hotspots across King County will be available to anyone who needs them for free. A map of free hotspot locations and info on how to connect is here (https://wifi.xfinity.com/). There are thousands of these hotspot locations across King County. The company is also offering 60 days of free internet access for low-income families. To sign up, applicants can visit their website. https://www.internetessentials.com/

ACTION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

To help businesses impacted by the crisis, Governor Inslee said that up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Funds will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The state will also be able to waive penalties and late fees for certain late business tax payments, and a number of tax fees will be waived for both business owners and residents. Seattle’s Office of Economic Development has also pitched in to help with small business grants: http://www.seattle.gov/office-of-economic-development/small-business/small-business-programs-/stabilization-fund-

UNEMPLOYMENT WAITING PERIOD WAIVED

Inslee also announced that the state is waiving the one-week waiting period for out-of-work employees to collect unemployment benefits, retroactive to March 8.

RESIDENTIAL EVICTION MORATORIUM

The Governor announced Thursday afternoon that he has instituted a statewide moratorium on residential evictions for 30 days. You can read more details on the moratorium at on Inslee’s Medium page (https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-relief-for-businesses-workers-renters-and-more-in-response-to-covid-19-outbreak-c09c13a02690) but know that the City of Seattle has already instituted a ban on evictions, and the King County Sheriff’s Office has said it won’t enforce evictions during the continuing outbreak.

METRO FARES DISCONTINUED AND REDUCED SERVICE

Metro will end fare collections until further notice effective today, Saturday, March 21st. Riders will not be required to pay fares when riding King County Metro services, including buses, water taxi and Access paratransit, until further notice. Riders also will be directed to board and exit at the rear doors of buses, reserving front-door access for customers using mobility devices or who require use of the boarding ramp. King County Metro will temporarily move to a reduced schedule starting Monday, March 23rd. This shift comes two days after Metro’s pre-scheduled spring service change goes into effect on Saturday, March 21st. The reduced schedule is in response to reduced ridership since the emergence of COVID-19. The bulk of this information can also be found at the Metro Matters blog. https://kingcountymetro.blog/2020/03/19/reducedschedule/

NEW STATE CORONAVIRUS WEBSITE

We just received word of a brand new website launched by the state that can be considered the definitive, comprehensive source for information on coronavirus. You can find links to official information from a wide range of trusted sources, including government and community services. Visit the site here (https://coronavirus.wa.gov/).

REMINDER: STILL FILL OUT YOUR CENSUS FORMS

The 2020 Census is ongoing during the pandemic. The decennial count of all people residing in the United States is used to allocate public resources over the next decade along with representation in state and federal government. People are encouraged to respond to the census by mail, phone or online. The more people respond via these options, the fewer workers will be sent out into the field later this year to conduct in-person counts. More information here: https://2020census.gov/

TAX DEADLINE MOVED TO JULY 15th

Individual and business taxpayers will have an additional three months to file their taxes this year, as the federal government took more steps to help workers and business owners during the continuing coronavirus crisis. President Donald Trump on Friday directed the U.S. Treasury to move the filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. Filers will have the additional time to file and make payments without any penalties or fees.

March 17, 2020

Dear Neighbors and Friends: I am committed to doing my best to help you and your family get through this crisis. This includes also providing information on how to get through this financially. My staff and I have compiled information on how to file for unemployment or workers’ comp; help with paying utilities, rent, and mortgages; issues with insurance; food assistance; and much more. All of this information is below.