COVID-19 Solidarity Funds 2020

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Rapid Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH) are excited to announce companion Solidarity Funds to help protect people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 emergency. The Coalition recently launched a King County Solidarity Fund as a rapid response to the pandemic and the clear and disproportionate threats of this crisis to people experiencing homelessness. That Fund is available to organizations that serve people who are experiencing homelessness in King County and that do not have access to alternate or adequate funds to meet an urgent need.

Thanks to support from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Coalition’s fund will be bolstered by $20,000 and the Housing Alliance will distribute an additional $40,000 for similar purposes statewide, outside of King County. Funds will be distributed as microgrants for tangible goods, supplies, and direct services to up to $5,000 for small organizations or targeted efforts.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Housing Alliance, and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Ending Homelessness are distributing these funds to meet a very small portion of immediate needs quickly. We recognize that this is a tiny drop in the bucket of what is needed but we are excited to have the ability to lift the good work happening across the state to immediately address the significant needs in our communities.

The scope of this crisis demands an unprecedented response from government to house everyone currently experiencing homelessness in a safe environment safe environment; meet the immediate needs of people without shelter and those in congregate shelter settings; and provide significant and sustained rent and mortgage assistance. We urge you to join in these advocacy efforts.

We also invite our local philanthropic community to consider matching these funds. Individuals wishing to help are also invited to contribute.

Donations to provide assistance within King County can be made at homelessinfo.org. Select “COVID19 Emergency Response Fund” on donation page.

Donations to provide assistance in Washington State (outside King County) can be made at wliha.org. Check the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund on donation page.

What can funds be used for?
We will consider requests to fund tangible goods, supplies, and direct services for people experiencing homelessness up to $5,000. Requests over $5,000 will be considered on a case-by-case basis as funding pool allows.

Applicants must:

  1. Be either 501c3 or fiscally sponsored. (We’re sorry that we can’t meet individual requests for help.)
  2. Provide direct services (outreach, shelter, day or hygiene services) or rent-restricted affordable housing to people who are homeless or who were formerly homeless, outside King County, and are living at or below 30% of the area median income. Organizations in King County should request support through the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness.
  3. Have a clear plan and the capacity to spend funds within 90 days.

Priorities include:

  1. Smaller and grassroots organizations with (operating budgets below $1.5 million) with limited access to other resources (we will consider requests from larger organizations but wish to prioritize smaller entities.)
  2. Organizations that serve people who are currently without housing or shelter or people at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 or suffering severe health consequences if they do.
  3. Organizations meeting the needs of people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, formerly incarcerated people, undocumented people, and people with other marginalized identities.
  4. Proposals that help meet needs not addressed adequately by existing public resources.

Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis. To apply, complete this google form or request an electronic or hard copy of the form. Review and turnaround will be within one week (we will be as responsive as possible).

Review criteria will include:

  • Applicant can demonstrate experience working respectfully and effectively with people experiencing homelessness or providing housing services to people who were formerly homeless.
  • Applicant has a clear plan to carry out proposed activity or deploy resource for which funds are requested within 90 days.
  • Applicant serves people who are unable to access mainstream services or advocate effectively for themselves; people who are without shelter; people who are at high risk to contract infectious diseases or suffer serious effects of such diseases.

A report, consisting of a brief narrative account of services provided or resources obtained and relevant receipts, is expected within 90 days of the grant being made. Reports may be made verbally by phone or video call, over email, or on-line. 

Please send questions to rachaelm@wliha.org 

Exclusions:

  1. Organizations that exclusively provide healthcare
  2. Organizations that proselytize or require participation in religious activities or programming to be eligible or prioritized for services.
  3. Organizations that question or deny scientific evidence or best practices related to disease transmission, harm reduction, public health, or civil rights.
  4. Organizations that discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religious belief or lack thereof, immigration status.

Please note: We created this fund quickly when resources to offer immediate help in an unprecedented emergency on top of the crisis of homelessness. This is a new area of work for us, and a work in progress, subject to revision as we learn and get feedback. Our goal is for the Solidarity Fund to be a responsive, streamlined, useful, and equitable source of practical support.