Lewis County Courthouse

The southwest corner of the Historic Lewis County Courthouse is seen on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, in Chehalis.

Lewis County will receive almost $1 million in new CARES funding aimed at keeping residents housed during the pandemic. Another $432,000 is coming from the Developmental Disabilities Administration to provide employment support for residents with developmental disabilities. Drafts of the nine new grants were announced at a Sept. 9 meeting by Meja Handlen, housing coordinator for Lewis County Public Health and Social Services, and are expected to receive final approval from county commissioners next week. 

Lewis County originally received $4.3 million on CARES act money. County Commissioner Bobby Jackson praised Handlen for working to secure the funding, calling it “quite a bit of money.”

“And I think it’s important to realize the distinctions between each (grant),” Commissioner Edna Fund said. “I’m sure we have folks in the community who need these kinds of services and they need to know ‘where do I go?’”

Some grants for rental assistance and homelessness prevention are restricted to residents making less than 30 percent of the average median income, but others are available to households making less than 50 percent. Residents who think they qualify for Lewis County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, funded by CARES money, can call The Salvation Army at 360-736-4339 or the Equity Institute at 855-283-2241. 

CARES funding grants to assist residents with housing are as follows: The Salvation Army Eviction Rental Assistance Program includes $546,330 and runs until Dec. 31. The money will be used to pay landlords directly on behalf of residents struggling with rent.

The Equity Institute Eviction Rental Assistance Program includes $96,025, runs until Dec. 31 and will be used specifically for marginalized and Spanish-speaking populations.

The Housing Resource Center Eviction Rental Assistance Program includes $87,893, runs until Dec. 31 and will go to residents aged 18-24 who are parents, pregnant, have been in the foster system, have been assisted by behavioral health, or have been involved in the justice system. Individuals can call the Housing Resource Center at 360-736-5140 to inquire about this funding.

Hope Alliance Emergency Solutions grant provides $79,573 through June 30, 2022, and will be used to help residents who are experiencing or may experience homelessness. Recipients must be below 30 percent of the average median income.

The Salvation Army Emergency Solutions grant provides $48,471 to prevent homelessness and runs until June 30 2022. Recipients must be at or below 30 percent of the average median income. 

The Reliable Enterprises Emergency Solutions Grant provides $56,112 through June 30 ,2022 and will be used to prevent and mitigate homelessness.

The three grants funded by the Developmental Disabilities Administration will run through June 30, 2021 and include funding for one-on-one employment support as well as child development services, family support services, nutrition and recreation activities. 

The funds will also go to help a new Job Foundations program for students aged 19-22. The goal of the program is to help students with developmental disabilities gain stable employment by age 22.

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