Federal Way City Hall. File photo

Federal Way City Hall. File photo

City council approves funds for renters, childcare providers in Federal Way

Renters assistance grant offered through El Centro de la Raza

Additional CARES Act funds are now available for residents and businesses in Federal Way.

The Federal Way City Council unanimously approved two separate grants on Oct. 6 proposed by Mayor Jim Ferrell and aimed at delivering CARES Act funds to those negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The first grant, administered through community partner El Centro de la Raza, will provide $500,000 in rental assistance to low- and moderate-income households in Federal Way. The second grant is aimed at providing support to childcare providers in Federal Way.

“Housing stability continues to be a significant concern in response to COVID-19,” Ferrell said. “It is estimated that between 5 to 10 percent of renters are unable to pay rent each month during the stay-at-home order, and we want to help as many of our residents as we can as they work to catch up on back rent.”

As a reimbursement grant, the city will pay the costs of the program to El Centro de la Raza after the services are delivered. The city will then seek reimbursement for its costs from the Department of Commerce, according to a news release.

El Centro de la Raza will collect documentation to verify eligibility and make payments directly to landlords. Residents will need to certify how they were impacted by COVID-19 such as a loss of employment or reduction in hours, or needing to leave work due to childcare or health reasons.

The second grant program addresses childcare, which is cited as an important element in reopening the economy and maintaining what is often a precarious financial stability of lower income families, according to the city.

Deployment of the grant program for childcare providers, which will be executed by city staff, will not exceed $200,000. Awards will be up to $15,000 per business, based on the actual reimbursable expenses incurred by the businesses. Receipts and documentation will be required.

“COVID-19 resulted in many childcare centers closing with a portion remaining closed even now,” Ferrell said. “The costs of operating a childcare center using COVID-19 safe practices are significant while renters are operating at lower capacity. Staffing continues to be a concern with added staff costs due to necessary quarantining with potential exposure to COVID-19 and other COVID-19 disruptions.”

In order to qualify for the childcare provider grant, the applicant must:

  • Be domiciled in Federal Way
  • Possess a Federal Way business license
  • Must have been in business 1 year prior to 2020
  • Must be current on all taxes and government fees
  • Must be a licensed childcare provider
  • Must currently be open

Priority will be given to childcare providers who accept the Working Connections Childcare subsidy.

Businesses that previously received grants through the city’s Small Business Assistance Grant program are still eligible to receive this grant. Grant reimbursement will be for the amount of documented COVID-19-related expenses less the amount of the prior grant.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are allocated or until Oct. 23, whichever comes first.

To receive an application for rental assistance, Federal Way residents can call El Centro de la Raza at 206-957-4634.

Childcare providers can visit https://www.cityoffederalway.com/page/child-care-provider-assistance-grants to apply for funds.

In April, Gov. Jay lnslee announced the award of nearly $300 million to local governments across Washington from the state’s allocation of the CARES Act federal funding. The amount the City of Federal Way received was determined by population. The city was awarded approximately $2.96 million in federal funding to help with reimbursable costs it has already incurred in response to COVID-19 public health impacts. Mayor Jim Ferrell decided to allocate up to $2.5 million in funding to be available to Federal Way businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

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