Thousands of people across King County have lost jobs or seen wages sharply reduced in the devastating wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Unable to pay rent, many are now at high risk of eviction and homelessness.
A new program offered by King County may be able to help.
Eviction prevention and rent assistance
The King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program just launched to help individuals and families throughout King County dealing with COVID-related illness, lost wages and unemployment.
“Many people are facing serious challenges due to COVID-19 and the loss of health or income, leaving them extremely vulnerable to eviction,” said King County Executive Constantine, announcing the program on August 20, 2020. “This emergency program will forestall the loss of housing and prevent homelessness for thousands of residents in need across King County.”
The program is reaching out to individual tenants, large and small property managers and landlords, and mobile home parks. Funding is prioritized for the highest-need areas and residents. Up to three months of rent may be awarded. In many cases, funding recipients will be chosen via a lottery system to ensure more applicants can access the fund, rather than just the first to sign up.
To be eligible for assistance, all tenants must:
- Have an income that is at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income over the past 60 days, and
- Be partially or fully behind at least one month of rent since March 1, 2020.
- Tenants must also meet one of several secondary criteria, such as having high rent burden, a history of homelessness or eviction, or a disability.
To participate in the program, all landlords must:
- Agree to accept 80 percent of the rent or fair market rent, whichever is less, so that public funds can help more households.
- Accept up to three months of rent, but agree to waive any additional rent owed
- Agree not to raise rents, evict the tenant, or refuse to renew a tenancy other than for good cause before March 31, 2021.
Interest Form – large property managers and landlords (9 units or more)
Community-based organizations will be funded to provide outreach and direct services to tenants and landlords to ensure culturally competent, accessible and in-language support through the application process. Other nonprofits will be selected to manage the payment process.
Open Public Comment Period
The County is seeking feedback to ensure the program is as effective, equitable, and efficient as possible. A public comment period is open now through 5 p.m. on August 25, 2020 at KingCounty.gov/COVID/rent. No funds from this program will be awarded until after the comment period closes and County staff have had an opportunity to incorporate any changes that the comments warrant.
Next Steps and timeline
The web portal is open now, gathering public comment and collecting interest forms. Selection of funding partners, contract development and agency training begins the week of August 24, 2020. Client services begin September 1, 2020. The first lottery pull will be September 14 and weekly thereafter until the fund is expended. All funds must be spent by December 30, 2020.
Main phone: 206-263-9600
TTY: Relay: 711