Supporting Our Community In this Next Season
As a difficult summer turns into fall, I want to thank all of the members of the community who have helped neighbors in need get through the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. I am proud of our community for coming together…whether you made masks, checked on elderly neighbors, supported local restaurants, or just did your part to follow public health guidelines.
I have been working hard in these serious times to stay connected to community and use my experience to help manage a strong public health response and take care of seniors and other vulnerable community members.
Looking forward, I hope we all see this as an opportunity to build back our economy in a more inclusive, sustainable and compassionate way.
Below, you will find a brief COVID-19 update and other news and updates from my office.
COVID-19 & South King County
We are fortunate to have world class public health professionals in our region. I am supporting them and giving them the resources to do their jobs. One thing is clear: we need to follow the science. This past week, I met personally with the Director of King County Public Health to request additional support for COVID-19 response in South King County. A few updates:
- District 5 has a new testing site in Renton. Watch this short clip to see how this new site is delivering safe efficient testing:
- For a complete list of testing sites, please visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/covid/sites.
- Even though schools have started the year remotely, school-based health centers remain open at 34 schools in King County including Evergreen High School, Renton High School and Tyee Campus.
- We all need to continue to stick to the basics to help control the spread. You should wash your hands frequently, wear a mask and avoid group gatherings. If you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case, get tested as soon as possible.
As always, visit King County’s COVID-19 resource page for updates and resources to help keep you and your family safe.
Supporting Families Abroad
Several months ago, I was approached by local immigrant and refugee families who were having problems sending money home to their families in Africa. They wanted to send home some of their earnings to help care for their children or aging parents. Complicated federal bank laws designed to prevent money laundering sometimes were preventing them from providing this legitimate family support. Working with the community, I introduced a measure that passed the King County Council directing the King County government relations office to work with authorities to help fix the problem so people who work hard and save money can use their earnings to support their families– even when their families are in Africa.
Check out my full speech during the 9/8 Council Meeting ( 1:21:52-1:24:17).
Digital Equity Grants
To apply for government benefits during COVID, to look up public health information, or even to simply attend school, access to technology has become a requirement.
COVID-19 has highlighted what those of us in South King County already knew: access to technology is not evenly shared among all County residents. A “digital divide” separates those who have high quality technology and internet access and those who don’t.
To try to help those with limited access, the King County Council allocated $695,000 to support a digital equity program for seniors, limited-English proficient residents, unemployed residents, and those experiencing homelessness. The County is now seeking applications from organizations who will be able to provide digital access through technology, internet connectivity, and/or digital literacy support to one or more of the target groups.
Applications must be received by 5 pm, September 22, 2020. Applicants may request awards between $25,000 and $500,000, and awards will be determined based on the criteria defined in the full Request for Applications.
Application materials include:
All applications and inquiries must be sent directly to: [email protected].
King County Metro Service Updates
King County Metro is changing routes in South King County on 9/19 to make it easier to get to where you need to go. To see details on the changes and the latest safety guidelines for essential trips. visit the King County Metro site.
Community members can get a free $25 ORCA card and try out their new route when you complete this short survey: www.justonetrip.org/GetReady
While my staff and I are all working remotely, we are still available to serve you during the pandemic. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.
King County Councilmember