City of Seattle Has Directed Nearly $26 Million to Support Grocery Emergency Benefits as Part of COVID-19 Response
By Chelsea Kellogg
SEATTLE (September 22, 2020) – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has committed an additional $9 million from the City’s rainy day fund to expand the number of households receiving emergency grocery vouchers. Launched in March, Seattle’s emergency grocery voucher program provides immediate food support for families in danger of going hungry as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City has continued to add to the number of households being served as funding has become available.
“Seattle continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. It is clear our residents are still struggling to put food on the table, especially as additional Federal assistance has evaporated,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “It’s critical we make sure programs to keep our residents fed and housed continue and are expanded as we manage the lingering consequences of this pandemic.”
In October, the City will begin providing emergency grocery vouchers to these additional 3500 households, bringing the total number of households served to 13,580. All enrolled households receive $400 a month for the first three months and then $180 for the next four months. Each household receives $1920 total in emergency grocery benefits.
Subsequently the City worked with community-based organizations to ensure that displaced workers unable to access other forms of government aid due to language or institutional barriers as well as BIPOC communities were enrolled. The last cohort of households to be enrolled in October will be households that are new, fall enrollees in city-subsidized childcare, food assistance, and youth employment programs and who are not already receiving vouchers.
The City maintains a resource page for all people who are significantly impacted by COVID-19. In addition to food assistance resources, the page includes a wide range of resources including healthcare, small business assistance, and immigrant support. The page is updated often and is translated into multiple languages. Enrolled households can expect letter explaining the terms of the benefits and the timeline they will receive them.