In August 2020, King County created the Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program (EPRAP) to assist households economically impacted by the coronavirus. EPRAP offered up to six months of rental assistance on behalf of tenants. Landlords also had to forgive any rent owed beyond six months, agree to freeze rent until April 1st 2021, and agree to just-cause eviction protections until April 1st 2021. EPRAP aimed to:
- Prevent evictions,
- Target limited resources to people most likely to become homeless after eviction,
- Target limited resources to people most likely to suffer severe health consequences because of eviction, and
- Promote equity in who is served, with a focus on equity for groups of people who historically have not been provided equitable access to rental assistance and those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
EPRAP was administered by the Department of Community and Human Services’ (DCHS) Housing, Homelessness, and Community Development Division in partnership with 35 local community-based organizations and through three programs – a Tenant Program, a Small Landlord Program, and a Large Landlord Program.
EPRAP 2020 Highlights
EPRAP provided rental assistance to just over 9,000 households across the three different programs. EPRAP provided $37.6 million in rental assistance, with the average household receiving just over $4,100 in rental assistance and an average of 3 months of rental assistance.
EPRAP intentionally focused on serving groups who historically have not been provided equitable access to rental assistance and were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through prioritizing zip codes highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, offering applications in 28 languages, and partnering with 35 community-based organizations, EPRAP met these goals. BIPOC households made up 76% of all households that received rental assistance, a higher rate than the proportion of 0-50% Area Median Income BIPOC households in King County and cities in South King County had the greatest number of households served per capita, which reflects households in that area being most heavily impacted by the pandemic.
Providers worked with tenants and landlords to complete applications and process payments. DCHS considered a household’s individual characteristics (e.g., veteran status, disability, race, and ethnicity) and language preferences to assign them to a provider with a focus on their community or needs. 77% of all households referred to providers received rental assistance. On average, it took four weeks from when households were referred to a provider to when they received rental assistance.
To learn more about the performance of the 2020 Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program (EPRAP), read our EPRAP 2020 Data Review.
Expanding EPRAP in 2021
There is still a great need for additional rental assistance in King County. The second iteration of EPRAP, which will begin in Spring 2021, will build on lessons learned from the first round in addition to preparing to operate without an eviction moratorium in place, with several enhancements to EPRAP, including:
- Allowing payment of future rent, which is now permissible under new federal guidelines.
- Adding a program that will allow community-based organizations to serve the clients in their community, with an emphasis on the American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Asian-American, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities.
- Investing in an improved, streamlined data system for tenant and landlord applications, invoicing, and reporting
- Contracting with a service to write and distribute rental assistance checks and electronic payments quickly.
- Combining programs for small and large landlords with five or more tenants in arrears on rental payments.
- Adding a new requirement that landlords participating in the landlord-based program must agree not to seek to evict tenants for nonpayment or no-cause until after their properties are served.
- Directly contracting with youth-serving agencies to ensure 10% of tenants served are ages 18-25 years old.