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  • Commerce distributing state CARES Act funding to community agencies that will operate assistance program to pay past due rent and prevent future evictions

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    From the Washington State Department of Commerce:

    OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce is distributing approximately $100 million in state Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding through its existing network of homeless services grantees and organizations serving homeless youth to operate a new rent assistance program launched Aug. 1. The program will focus on preventing evictions by paying up to three months of past due, current and future rent to landlords for eligible participants.

    “Funds addressing Washington’s homelessness crisis were limited before the pandemic, and the need is deepening as this pandemic continues to push more people toward the brink while we work to carefully reopen our economy,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “We are targeting limited resources as quickly and equitably as possible, to those with the greatest needs.”

    This rent assistance program will address some of the need resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, and hopes to reduce some of the stress both renters and landlords are facing now and in the future. Rent assistance is limited to three months and the program ends Dec. 31, 2020.

    A survey recently showed 17% of renters in Washington state missed their July rent payment. Since February, state’s employment has declined 12% – over twice that of the worst point in the Great Recession – and use of basic food assistance programs has increased by 15%.

    Commerce provided guidance and formula-based grant amounts to its Consolidated Homeless Grant program lead grantees and organizations serving the Office of Homeless Youth in every county of the state. These organizations will use grant funds to provide up to three months of rent assistance that will be paid to landlords on an eligible client’s behalf. Complete program information is on the Commerce web page.

    Equity is a primary program goal, with a focus on groups of people who historically have not been provided equitable access to rent assistance and those who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. These communities include ethnic and racial minorities, immigrants and refugees, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, individuals with disabilities or who are deaf and Native Americans.

    Funding is expected to begin making its way into communities late this week.

  • City of Seattle Launches #SupportPugetSoundSmallBiz Map with Sammamish and Partner Cities Across the Region

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    Currently, There Are 2,581 Small Businesses in the #SupportPugetSoundSmallBiz Map

    16 Partner Cities and Counties Participating in Relaunched Map

    “Sammamish is excited to be included in this project, as we have some fantastic independently owned restaurants. This tool gives residents another way to support neighbors and businesses during these changing times.” -- Mayor of Sammamish, Karen Moran

    Seattle (April 28, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced the City of Seattle’s new #SupportPugetSoundSmallBiz map, which helps residents find small businesses providing takeout or delivery in their neighborhood. The map allows users to search for open small businesses in their neighborhood and navigate directly to a business’ website or third-party delivery service page. After launching the Seattle-specific map in late March, municipalities from across the region reached out to the Seattle Department of Information Technology (ITD) and asked to participate. To date, 16 cities and counties are participating in the #SupportPugetSoundSmallBiz map, and each municipality is working with its local economic development organizations to ensure restaurants are added to the map.

    The #SupportPugetSoundSmallBiz map has received over 230,000 views, and averages nearly 2,200 visits per day. There are currently 2,600 small businesses in the map spread across King County, Pierce County and Snohomish County. The map began as part of the City’s #SupportSeattleSmallBiz campaign, which asks residents to post pictures and videos from their favorite Seattle restaurants, bars, cafes, and breweries that are doing delivery, to-go, and drive-through with #SupportSeattleSmallBiz and tag @SeattleEconomy.

    “At the City, we’re doing everything we can locally to support our small businesses during this unprecedented moment in history,” said Mayor Durkan. “We’ve invested millions of dollars directly in our most vulnerable small businesses and are working with our partners across government and in the private sector help many who are struggling. We have also capped third-party commission fees at 15 percent to ensure takeout and delivery remain viable financial options for our restaurants. With many of our neighborhood restaurants still open, communities across our region can support small businesses by ordering pickup or delivery during this time. I’m grateful to our community partners who helped shape our map and make it a reality.”

    “I am excited to partner and collaborate with other cities across the region in this innovative way in support of our local restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside work to address our shared public health and safety priorities, actions like these help us preserve the character that businesses bring to our communities during this crisis,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards.

    To use the map, residents can enter their location or drop a pin and find all the available restaurants near them. Once they select their restaurant, they can place a takeout or delivery order directly through the app or can receive directions to the restaurant. The map also connects users directly to third-party delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Caviar to easily patronize a restaurant. Seattle Information Technology (ITD) built the map, and staff from municipalities across the Puget Sound partnered with community leaders and small business owners to populate the map with businesses. Users can access the map here: Maps.seattle.gov/PugetSound/SupportSmallBiz.

    Restaurant, bar, café, and brewery owners can enter their information into a brief survey to see their business appear on the public-facing map within minutes. To help ensure quality and consistent data, ITD has created an internal map and survey that business owners can use to enter their information. If you are a business owner and want to add yourself to the map, please email at supportsmallbiz@seattle.gov for instructions.

    The necessary statewide ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order has caused restaurants to rely solely on delivery and takeout services for revenue, and many of these restaurants rely on third-party platforms to conduct takeout and delivery for them. Each service agreement between restaurants and third-party companies varies, but some include commissions that are 30 percent or more of the purchase price. To help support restaurants, Mayor Durkan recently announced a 15 percent commission cap on third-party delivery services. This will help ensure that delivery and takeout remain viable options and don’t cause increased financial hardship.

    Mayor Durkan and the City of Seattle have worked to implement a series of actions that support artists, nonprofits, small businesses, and workers, including:

    The City of Seattle has also created a comprehensive resource page for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

    Sammamish residents can also find resources on the City's Connect Sammamish COVID-19 Updates site.

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  • Need help making rent? A new program from United Way of King County may help.

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    If you’re a King County resident who has been impacted financially by COVID-19 and are behind on your rent, you may qualify for assistance. Visit https://www.uwkc.org/renthelp/ to learn more and to apply.

  • Sammamish Emergency Manager's 4/7 Report to City Council on COVID-19

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    This report was provided live to our City Council at their regular meeting on April 7, 2020.

    Report to Sammamish City Council on COVID-19

    Andrew Stevens, CEM – Emergency Manager - Eastside Fire & Rescue

    Good evening, Mayor and Council members. Two weeks ago, the global number of confirmed Coronavirus cases was just over 400,000. Today, that number has risen by over one million. At just under 390,000, the United States leads the world in positive cases, a number nearly three times larger than the next highest county. As of today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in King County is 3,462, however recent studies have shown that Stay Home, Stay Healthy order has begun to slow the spread of the virus in the State. Looking at the metrics across King County, it appears Sammamish residents have been doing their part in fighting this outbreak. Out of 39 cities in King County, only 3 have fewer number of cases per 100,000 residents. While this number may not be entirely accurate, it is still a notable accomplishment. [Resource: King County COVID-19 Data Dashboard.]

    However, this outbreak is far from over. While we should all be encouraged by some of the statistics coming out of WA State and King County, this fight will continue for many more months and we may very well see multiple spikes in cases. This is not a virus than can be contained locally, as evident by the global numbers, but must be fought with a concentrated, unified effort. While Washington has been limiting gatherings for over a month and issued a Stay at Home order more than two weeks ago, there are still nine states with no such mitigation measures in place. I urge all Sammamish residents not to be lulled into a false sense of complacency, as everyone needs to remain vigilant in this effort.

    Understanding the massive economic, psychological, and emotional toll this response is having on our community, the city has been progressively leaning forward to assess and identify ways in which we may be able to support the various non-profit, human-services, and faith-based organizations, which are all essential to the long-term recovery of our community. The City has distributed a survey to all these community stakeholders to gather information on their current capabilities, their needs, and their ability to scale up services to greater number of residents if needed. Furthermore, the City’s Human Services Coordinator is in constant contact with these organizations, is providing weekly situational reports to the EOC, and participating in semi-weekly meetings with colleagues from other Eastside Cities. The City is also continually updating the Connect Sammamish COVID-19 resource hub with new information on programs established in the County, which may support residents in need of assistance.

    On the economic front, the city is continuing to promote and share small business resources, such as the low-interest loans available through the Small Business Administration, resources from the WA Employment Security Department, and unemployment resources for individuals. We are also looking at ways which we can support local businesses, such as collaborating with the Chamber of Commerce to aid small businesses throughout the city.

    City government is continuing to function with only a slight reduction in organizational capability. Due to the early implementation of robust COVID-19 mitigations and social distancing policies, and ingenuity of City staff, we can proudly say that the City has been able to ensure the continuity of all mission essential functions without a single instance of workplace contraction of COVID-19.

    Lastly, in times of stress, and what may seem like an unending cycle of bad news, it is important to share stories of hope and resiliency. Sammamish residents have continually stepped up in support of one another throughout this crisis. Whether working on the front lines in a hospital, sewing or 3D printing masks and respirators, or picking up groceries for a vulnerable neighbor, the community is standing together. Therefore, I am asking residents to share these stories of community resiliency on our Connect.Sammamish COVID-19 web page. We do not want the hardships we are facing to define this moment, but instead, how our community has come together to support each other when it was most needed.

    Thank you.

  • King County Publishes New Emergency Food Access Resource

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    Public Health - Seattle & King County has created a new page containing information about food access programs and services to help support King County residents during this difficult time. Categories include General food resources; Food delivery resources; Food pick-up resources; Older adults and people with disabilities; Pregnant people, new moms and children under age 5; Children; People without shelter or who have low incomes (including teens); For U.S. citizens and legal immigrants; and State and federal resources.