Tribal communities across the state will have access to funding to help address increased demand and costs associated with COVID-19 response

OLYMPIA, WA – April 9, 2020 – The Washington State Department of Commerce announced $5 million in emergency grants is now available to the 29 federally recognized tribes in the state to bolster their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These funds are immediately accessible to tribal governments coping with severe impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “From food distribution and isolation housing to medical equipment and services for vulnerable members, the grants will strengthen tribal communities all across the state.”

Each tribal government will receive an immediate grant of $100,000, with the remaining $2.1 million distributed based on a formula currently under development between Commerce and tribal leaders.

Eligible expenses and activities covered under the grant include but are not limited to:

  • Costs to address public health needs in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impacts
  • The creation and operation of isolation and quarantine housing
  • Costs associated with the increased demand for social programs, such as elder care services, food distribution or behavioral health services
  • Costs associated with assisting people experiencing homelessness or housing instability and needing physical distancing and other preventative measures
  • Procurement of health care equipment, including telehealth equipment and licenses
  • Unemployment match required under the federal CARES Act
  • Purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning and sanitation supplies
  • Costs related to COVID -19 testing
  • Other expenses in agreement with the Department of Commerce

“COVID-19 knows no political, geographic or cultural boundaries,” said Commerce Tribal Liaison Ernie Rasmussen. “This government-to-government effort to combat the impacts of COVID-19 is a testament to the human partnership necessary to succeed in our attempts to return every community to normalcy as quickly as possible.”

“The COVID-19 crisis is having disastrous impacts on tribes throughout the state,” said W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Chair and CEO. “While other states are leaving tribes to fend for themselves, Washington is partnering to distribute state coronavirus relief funds to help mitigate the pandemic’s impact to our tribal governments and communities. We are deeply appreciative of this assistance.”

More information about the grants is posted here on Commerce’s website, under the “COVID-19 Emergency Response Grant for Tribal Governments” section.