Response & Recovery

Counties are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response & recovery

Signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act includes $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid to every county in America. The National Association of Counties (NACo) estimates that counties in Washington state will receive nearly $1.5 billion.

These funds will be available through December 31, 2024, and can be used for:

  • Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Covering costs incurred from the public health emergency
  • Replacing lost, related, or decreased revenues due to COVID-19
  • Addressing the negative economic impacts on local businesses and nonprofits
  • Making necessary investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure

The U.S. Department of the Treasury will oversee and administer these payments to state and local governments, and every county will be eligible to receive a direct allocation from Treasury. Counties will receive funds in two tranches – with 50 percent this year and the remaining 50 percent no earlier than 12 months from the first payment. The U.S. Treasury is required to pay the first tranche to counties no later than 60-days after enactment, and the second payment no earlier than 12 months after the first payment.

Counties run public health departments and so many other crucial on-the-scene services and programs. They are responsible for emergency operations centers, human services, jails, 911 services, veterans’ services, and more. All while continuing essential county functions like elections, land use and planning, road maintenance, transportation, and many more services we tend to take for granted.

2021 ARPA Spending Trends

Washington State Counties have had at least one year to plan for and distribute State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Sixteen Counties in Washington State got an early start on investing ARPA funds in 2021. As a whole, Counties invested $97.6 million of ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds in Washington’s communities:

(Click ARPA Funds above to see additional data)

This is just a small portion of the nearly $1.5 billion in fiscal recovery funding allocated to Washington Counties. This funding will continue to make its way into our state’s communities over the coming years.

The sheer variety of ways Counties have chosen to invest these funds has been impressive, with over 350 different projects and programs receiving funding in 2021. Below are a few examples of how Counties are getting creative with their ARPA funding to address their communities’ specific needs.

Skagit Mental Health Investments

Skagit County has invested $2.1 million in ARPA funding to expand behavioral health and crisis response services. These programs target a wide variety of vulnerable populations and are designed to address the behavioral health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by expanding behavioral health resources and programming:

  • $476,778 for behavioral health outreach services embedded with law enforcement officers
  • $1,000,000 for the provision of social work and clinical behavioral health services to K-12 students
  • $400,000 for a mobile mental health clinician for underserved populations
  • $100,519 for a community health worker staffing to provide outreach services to the Latinx population
  • $148,062 for a behavioral health service hub at Skagit County Public Health
Clallam Economic Development Council community-driven allocation strategy

Clallam County was allocated ARPA funds totaling approximately $15.02 million to aid the COVID-19 pandemic response and economic recovery. Rather than allocating these funds directly to County priorities, the Clallam County Board of Commissioners decided to take a community-driven approach. They authorized County staff to open a request for proposals for programs in the following areas:

  • Local Business and Non-Profit Support
  • Childcare Support for Local Childcare Providers
  • Affordable Housing/Homelessness Support
  • Residential and Commercial Utility Relief
  • Local Water Systems Infrastructure
  • Food Security Support to Local Food Banks

Small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and childcare organizations that sustained a negative financial impact during the COVID-19 public health emergency can apply for ARPA funding through the Clallam County Economic Development Council’s website. For more information, visit

Walla Walla Courthouse Renovation

Walla Walla County allocated $7.9 Million of its ARPA funding toward upgrades to its courthouse buildings that will address safety issues and better prepare County staff for the next emergency. The County developed plans to update the aging electrical systems that power the courthouse. These additions will allow the County to install an emergency generator capable of powering the courthouse in the event of a power outage and is integral to Walla Walla’s strategy to allow remote work for courthouse personnel during a large-scale health crisis. This also paves the way toward creating secured access to the courthouse with a single entrance to monitor people accessing courthouse services for symptoms before interacting with courthouse staff.

The upgrades also include renovating the old jail space to serve as the district court courtroom, which will provide room for social distancing while accessing the district court services. The space will be updated with a new HVAC system to increase fresh air supply and provide increased filtration of any recycled air inside the building. The County will also attach the building via a walkway to the main Courthouse to allow for increased health screening of anyone accessing the courts.

American Rescue Plan: Allocation Estimates by State and County

(Select a County or State for Allocation Amount)