A press release from Pierce County Council.
The Pierce County Council allocated its remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds Tuesday to support area schools and youth programs and increase shelter opportunities for area homeless.
Included in the allocation was $4 million to help Pierce County schools respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will go to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to fund testing and case and contact investigation support for public and private schools.
Recently shared information from the health department indicates school leaders are concerned about meeting state Department of Health program requirements aimed at keeping students in school.
Increasing the number of contact tracers and case investigators available to schools will allow for faster identification of potential exposure, which will hopefully reduce the spread of COVID in schools and the community, according to health department officials.
“Since the start of the pandemic Pierce County has prioritized federal and local funds to support emergent public health needs,” Council Chair Derek Young said. “This latest allocation reinforces that support, but we can’t afford for this to continue. We need everyone to do their part to limit the spread of COVID by wearing masks and getting vaccinated if you can.”
Council previously allocated the majority of its first round of ARPA funding – roughly $88 million – to support ongoing pandemic needs in the community, including business support and regional public health response. The remaining balance was allocated Tuesday and includes:
- $5 million for hotel acquisition to offer temporary shelter space.
- $1.4 million for Economic Development’s community navigator program.
- $1.2 million for increased shelter facility space in the form of tents and tiny houses.
- $350,000 to support foreclosure prevention housing counseling services.
- $100,000 to support the First Five FUNdamentals Diaper Bank.
- $50,000 to Child Care Resources for its homeless childcare program.
- $11,000 for the Children’s Home Society youth program.
The unanimously approved legislation now heads to the Pierce County Executive for signature.