The Federal Way City Council unanimously approved items to ease hardships caused by the COVID-19 outbreak at Tuesday’s virtual meeting, including emergency funding and a moratorium on renters late fees.
Mayor Jim Ferrell’s comprehensive resolution for $88,500 in emergency social services funding was approved by the council at the April 7 meeting.
The resolution also sets up an allocation of up to $300,000 to ensure the City is doing what it can to address basic needs of residents during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I’m grateful for the partnership and collaboration with my policy partners on the City Council in passing this humanitarian package and ensuring these resources get to the people who need it in our community,” Mayor Ferrell said.
The funds focus on services to address basic needs to help residents during social distancing measures and include food, housing, homeless services, and mental health.
The package includes immediate funding totaling $88,500 to three local organizations: the Multi-Service Center, the Federal Way Senior Center, and Catholic Community Services (CCS). The funding for MSC and the Senior Center is earmarked for each organization’s food bank, while CCS will use its funds for operations at Reach Out and the Day Center.
Just last week, Mayor Ferrell authorized $15,000 to MSC, $12,000 to Catholic Community Services (CCS) so the Day Center could extend its hours, and $13,500 to Reach Out so CCS could continue providing shelter to Federal Way residents through April. MSC will now receive an additional $30,000, while CCS will receive $13,500 more for Reach Out and $12,000 more to support the Day Center beyond April. The Senior Center will receive $18,000 for its food bank.
The funds, which are not currently budgeted, will come from the 2019 Excess Fund Balance.
“It’s the City’s intent to try to be reimbursed for as much of the funding as possible using Community Development Block Grant (federal) funds, provided that the CDBG funds become available and the services are determined to be eligible for reimbursement,” said Sarah Bridgeford, Community Services Manager.
At Tuesday night’s virtual meeting, the council also approved a pair of measures to aid both renters and business owners as they deal with various negative effects brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.
On March 27, Mayor Jim Ferrell issued Proclamation of Emergency No. 20-02 establishing a moratorium on residential tenant late fees related to delinquent payments and supporting Gov. Jay Inslee’s March 18 order providing additional protections for residential tenants.
Federal Way Resolution 09-546 adopts the Greater Federal Way Community Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, delegating the Mayor the duty to make emergency rules and proclamations that have the force of law during a proclaimed emergency period when necessary to protect the life and welfare of the residents of Federal Way.
The Council unanimously ratified the proclamation.
“Layoffs or impacted hours during this crisis will directly affect our residents’ ability to pay for basic household expenses, including rent,” Mayor Ferrell said. “We want our residents to stay safe and healthy in their homes or apartments during this time and not worry about late fees piling or being evicted.”
The moratorium on residential late fees will be in effect for the duration of Governor Inslee’s proclamation establishing a moratorium on residential evictions.
The Council also approved a resolution to temporarily allow “A-board” advertising signs in front of businesses that are deemed essential during the COVID-19 crisis to inform the public that the business is open and its hours of operation.
With the approval, the City will now allow businesses to place two portable “A-board” signs on private property as long as they are within the size restrictions, do not impede visibility for traffic or pedestrians, or impede access to other businesses located on the site.