curated by Emerald Staff
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
✨Gleaming This Week✨
- CDC Approves Lower-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5–11
- City Announces $2 Million for Small Businesses and Organizations Most Impacted by Vaccine Verification Requirements
- King County’s Eviction Protection and Rent Assistance
- Seattle Public Middle Schools Students Now Eligible for a Free Unlimited ORCA Card
CDC Approves Lower-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5–11
On Nov. 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved emergency authorization for children ages 5–11 to receive a Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 in a two-shot series.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) estimates there are 680,000 children in Washington eligible in that age group, and about 183,000 of them live in King County. State officials have said they expect about 30% of parents to seek the vaccines immediately and others to wait longer.
The University of Washington (UW) expected to begin vaccinations for children over the next few days and invited the public to phone 844-520-8700 to get on a call-back list to make an appointment. Harborview Medical Center is among the locations that will vaccinate children this week.
Pharmacies and pediatrician’s offices and other clinics in the community were expected to begin administering the shots to children soon.
In a media statement, the CDC wrote that while children are not as likely to get severe disease as adults, though there have been severe cases among children.
“COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalizations, deaths, MIS-C (inflammatory syndromes) and long-term complications, such as ‘long COVID,’ in which symptoms can linger for months. The spread of the delta variant resulted in a surge of COVID-19 cases in children throughout the summer.”
Seattle Public Schools has arranged for regional clinics for all students and also individual school clinics that will be vaccinating only students from one school.
City Announces $2 Million for Small Businesses and Organizations Most Impacted by Vaccine Verification Requirements
From the Seattle Office of the Mayor: “On Monday, Nov. 1, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Councilmember Lisa Herbold, and Councilmember Tammy J. Morales announced that the City will be adding $2 million to the Office of Economic Development (OED) Small Business Stabilization Fund (SBSF) to support small businesses and organizations impacted by the new vaccination verification requirement in King County. Up to 2,000 eligible small businesses and organizations that are required to enforce this policy will receive additional funding of up to $1,000 to help offset the economic impacts of this requirement.
“Eligible sectors for this additional funding include restaurants, performing arts and cultural institutions, nightlife spaces, and extracurricular/recreational indoor activity spaces (such as bowling alleys, gyms, gaming facilities, etc.). Eligible applicants will not be required to submit a separate application to access this additional funding. The more than 500 businesses in these sectors that have already applied for this round of SBSF will be eligible automatically and do not need to reapply.
“To be eligible for a Small Business Stabilization Fund grant, businesses and nonprofits must be currently open and operating, have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, be located within Seattle city limits, have no more than two locations, have an annual net revenue at or below $2 million, and have an annual net loss totaling or exceeding the SBSF grant amount applied for according to City Business and Occupation (B&O) data. To apply for the Small Business Stabilization Fund or learn more about eligibility requirements and the application process, visit seattle.gov/SmallBusinessStabilizationFund.”
More Than 12,000 Households Saved From Eviction Through King County Rental Assistance
More than 12,000 households were saved from eviction through King County rental assistance programs, Executive Dow Constantine’s office reported.
This week, the Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program (EPRAP) provided $10.3 million in payments for a total expenditure of $73.2 million spent this year to keep King County residents in their homes. More than $110 million has been spent since the start of the pandemic.
In addition, the County has spent $46 million in “eviction prevention contracts, increased application processing capacity, community based outreach to ensure equitable access to the programs, and administrative costs. Based on current rates of expenditure and expected additional funding awards, King County estimates it has sufficient funds to support the program into early 2022,” Constantine’s office said in a press release last Thursday, Oct. 28.
Forty community-based agencies are participating in the program, including a handful located in and serving residents in South Seattle from El Centro de la Raza to Mama Africa, Dare 2 Be Project (in Skyway) and Horn of Africa.
Some of the most significant need for rent assistance is in South King County, according to Leo Flor, director of the Department of Community and Human Services. The program is processing at top speed while ensuring rent assistance is distributed in an equitable manner to reach communities where the need is greatest. Around 72% of the recipients of rental assistance are BIPOC families or households. This is a priority because BIPOC people have historically had the highest rate for risk of eviction, he said.
Enrollment in the program is open and for more information, including eligibility requirements, and how to apply visit rent-help.kingcounty.gov.
Seattle Public Middle School Students Now Eligible for a Free Unlimited ORCA Card as Part of the City’s ORCA Opportunity Program
From the Seattle Department of Transportation: “Seattle Public Schools and the City of Seattle are partnering to provide an additional 8,000 free, unlimited ORCA Cards to Seattle Public Schools middle school students. ORCA cards are valid through August 31, 2022, and work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The ORCA card provides no-cost, unlimited transit rides on King County Metro, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit, and Seattle Center Monorail, creating a passport to the city and beyond.
“Announced in 2018 after a student-led organizing campaign, ORCA Opportunity will now be available to 24,000 students including 8,000 additional middle school students, 15,000 high school students, and more than 1,000 Seattle Promise students.
“Get your ORCA Card:
- Middle school students: NEW! All Seattle Public middle school students are now eligible for a free, unlimited use ORCA card. Middle school students must apply for an ORCA card on the application website. Cards are delivered to schools every Tuesday and Wednesday, starting November 9, 2021. If you previously applied for an ORCA card for your Middle School student and were denied, please reapply using the same link.
- High school students: All Seattle Public High School students are eligible for a free, unlimited use ORCA card. Before picking up an ORCA card, all High School students must complete the 2021-2022 Conditions of Use Form. School administrators have the most up-to-date information on when students can pick up a card.
- Seattle Promise Scholars: ORCA cards are available for all first-year Promise Scholars who complete a registration form and remain active through your second year in the program.”
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