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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Washington

Yakima County returns more than $2 million in homeless grant funding

Feb. 1, 2023 Updated Wed., Feb. 1, 2023 at 8:40 p.m.

By Phil Ferolito Yakima Herald-Republic

Yakima County is returning more than $2 million in emergency funds for homeless services to the state Department of Commerce because it didn’t receive enough projects to exhaust the funds.

“That’s just because we didn’t get enough projects from our community for propagation,” said Human Services Director Esther Magasis.

Last year, the county received more than $4.3 million in federal Emergency Solutions Grant funds passed through the state. It was only able to spend slightly more than $1.9 million of it.

Magasis said a request for proposals was devised to seek funding requests.

“We tried to make the RFP pretty simple,” she said. “We wanted to get the funds out; we wanted people to use it.”

The funds could be spent on homeless outreach services, rental assistance and some shelter costs.

Magasis said all requests that met grant requirements were funded.

“We did get a lot of applications and we funded every single application 100%,” she said.

The funding requests were awarded last year but the county held on to the remaining $2 million in hopes of getting more requests.

On Tuesday, the county decided to return the money so the state could reallocate it elsewhere for good use, Magasis said.

This isn’t the first time the county returned grant funding to the state.

Last year it had to return $1.1 million in rental assistance and the grant was subsequently cut by $900,000 this year.

The reason for losing those funds were different, Magasis said.

The rental assistance funds were part of $43 million the county received in COVID-relief funds and was more than the county had ever administered over a two-year grant cycle, she said.

The county typically receives and distributes about $3.7 million a year in rental assistance.

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