Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers has 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. According to a county news release, the 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,” Somers said. “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, Snohomish County’s Office of Recovery & Resilience (ORR) has identified the following overall community pandemic recovery priorities:
- Behavioral and mental health services
- Growth and affordability
- Shelter and homelessness
- Child care and 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 county-sponsored Recovery Roadshows.
“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 County Councilmember Stephanie Wright, who represents Edmonds, Lynnwood and Woodway in 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.”
“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 County Council Vice Chair Jared Mead, who represents Brier and Mountlake Terrace in District 4.
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 douncil 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. 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 county executive’s 2023 proposed budget.
Information on the county’s recovery work can be found at www.snohomishcountywa.gov/recovery.