Communications Director, Office of Recovery & Resilience
Executive Somers Publishes Report Detailing Community Pandemic Recovery Priorities
Report Includes Top Priorities and Outcomes of Four-Month Recovery Engagement Effort
Snohomish County, Wash., August 24, 2022 – Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers today released the Community Pandemic Recovery Priorities Report, which details the outcomes of the four-month pandemic recovery engagement effort the County conducted over the spring and summer. The Priorities Report collects key themes across conversations with community leaders, service providers, mayors, and residents to identify the top countywide pandemic recovery needs. These community needs will then guide remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investments, including the second $80 million spending plan.
“In Snohomish County, we follow the basic principle that the pandemic impacted everyone, which means that our recovery needs to involve everyone as well,” said Executive Somers. “Across the county, community members were ready and willing to provide creative, forward-looking ideas for how we can recover and build post-pandemic resilience. Their feedback will guide how we use our recovery allocation as we work to make significant, lasting positive change for communities most impacted by the pandemic.”
As a result of the hundreds of conversations and engagements undertaken over the last four months, the Office of Recovery & Resilience (ORR) has identified the following overall community pandemic recovery priorities:
- Behavioral & Mental Health Services
- Growth & Affordability
- Shelter & Homelessness
- Child Care & Early Childhood Education
- Workforce Development
- Focus on Youth
These priorities emerged as key themes across all types of outreach, including conversations with community leaders and service providers, meetings with local elected officials, and the five Recovery Roadshows.
“The pandemic has impacted us all differently, but has been disproportionately harmful for the most vulnerable in our community,” said Council Chair Megan Dunn (District 2). “The County has one chance to spend these federal dollars and I’m grateful for the intentional outreach that was done to ensure that this money is most equitably spent so that no one is left behind during recovery efforts.”
“The ORR team has been incredibly inclusive, creative, and intentional in their effort to listen to our communities' needs. Guided by this report, Snohomish County's recovery outlook is bright,” said Vice Chair Jared Mead (District 4).
“The ORR team has conducted very thorough outreach in order to maximize community participation,” said Councilmember Nate Nehring (District 1). “The priorities identified by the community will be critical in helping the County Council determine how to appropriate these funds.”
“We have a number of great opportunities before us, and I believe this process has given us a successful path forward that will lift up everyone as we go,” said Councilmember Stephanie Wright (District 3). “Even as we move forward with projects and initiatives to strengthen our community and economy, it is important that we don’t let anyone fall through the cracks.”
“I am thankful for all the residents who came out to share their experiences and comments with the County. This information is a vital part of the process in allocating these funds,” said Councilmember Sam Low (District 5).
The pandemic recovery engagement effort featured the following outreach:
- Nine facilitated recovery discussions with eight groups
- Meetings with leadership in 17 cities/towns across the county
- Five Recovery Roadshows, with one in each County Council district
- 373 total attendees at the Roadshows, not including elected officials, County and community partners, or kids
- 25 County agencies and community-based organizations participated in resource tables at the Roadshows
Anyone interested can find a full copy of the report here. It includes a summary of overall priorities and potential solutions to key issues, as well as more comprehensive notes on the facilitated recovery discussions, mayor meetings, and Roadshows. Executive Somers and the County will use this community feedback to guide all remaining ARPA investments, including the spending plan for the second $80 million ARPA allocation. The spending plan will be announced as part of the Executive’s 2023 proposed budget.
Executive Somers established the Office of Recovery & Resilience to guide the County’s recovery work by ensuring federal pandemic relief is administered quickly, effectively, and equitably. Information on the County’s recovery work can be found at www.snohomishcountywa.gov/recovery.