The city of Woodinville is taking another step to aid relief efforts in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. On Tuesday, April 28, council members unanimously approved a proposal to create a new human services grant program for nonprofit organizations serving the basic needs of those affected by the pandemic and its economic fallout.
The council set aside $100,000 from reserve funding, which may be allocated in awards from $1,000 up to $10,000. Agencies can apply for the grant on a rolling basis until the end of the year.
The program is meant to help Woodinville residents in need pay for food, essential personal items, temporary shelter, or other emergency aid. The council will evaluate grant requests and determine approval at regular weekly meetings.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for these services for Woodinville residents and may increase the need even further in the coming weeks and months,” the council resolution creating the program states.
The proposal came from the council’s human services task force, one of three such groups formed in order to brainstorm ways to serve the community in a variety of ways during this uncertain time.
Last month, the council also voted to create a grant program for local food banks. The city established the COVID-19 Emergency Food Security Program, which set aside $100,000 that may be allocated as needed to the Woodinville Storehouse Food Bank and the Northshore Senior Center for its food services.
At the April 28 meeting, council members additionally approved a $10,000 contract with a tech firm to create a “virtual engagement hub” for COVID-19 communication. The city will work with the company EngagementHQ to aid in the distribution of information about the novel coronavirus as well as receive direct community input to aid council decision making, city Management Analyst Maia Knox said at the meeting.
Information may include news updates, project timelines, community forums and helpful links. Another website discussed at the meeting would focus on more fun content, according to task force member Rich McKee. He told council members about the #WoodinvilleStrong initiative, which includes the website www.woodinvillestrong.com, where residents may submit videos, stories, and photos to keep the community connected. T-shirt sales with the #WoodinvilleStrong message will help raise money for businesses in town that sell them.
The website asks for content that’s “funny, exciting, informative or even in support of a person or local business.”