Skagit County received $526,000 in emergency grant funding Thursday from the state Department of Commerce to provide housing for vulnerable populations during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Sarah Hinman, Housing and Community Services division manager with county Public Health, said the grant money will be focused toward providing more quarantine beds and expanding capacity in area homeless shelters.
”We’re thinking the funding will get us through the next two to three months,” she said.
On Friday, the number of coronavirus cases in Skagit County reached 26, with three either hospitalized or having been hospitalized.
There have been no coronavirus-related deaths in Skagit County.
Hinman said the county’s first priority is to find a place to safely quarantine people who are most at risk and don’t have a place to isolate themselves.
She said the county plans to use this funding to lease a local motel, hopefully by April 1, for this purpose.
The grant funding also allows the county to fund 47 more motel vouchers for seniors or other high-risk populations. These vouchers are managed through Community Action of Skagit County.
Thanks to an executive order from Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau, the county’s winter homeless shelter at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Mount Vernon has been authorized to stay open through April 25.
Hinman said the county will be funding the extension of the Seventh-Day Adventist shelter, and won’t be using the state Department of Commerce grant.
Statewide, Commerce is distributing $30 million in emergency funding, with each county receiving at least $250,000, according to a news release from the department.
On Friday, the town of Hamilton joined Skagit County and the cities of Mount Vernon, Burlington and Anacortes and Sedro-Woolley in declaring an emergency.