By Leo Flor
Director, King County Department of Community & Human Services
The Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program (EPRAP) continues to accelerate rent payments for individuals and families through King County, thanks to extraordinary efforts by community partners and county staff. Their work, in collaboration with local landlords, made the last week in October our largest week in rent payments so far – $10.3 million, including a $3 million day!
Total rent assistance distributed so far this year is now $73.2 million. This is in addition to more than $37 million paid to support households throughout King County in 2020. EPRAP payments since the program began now total over $110 million. Even as payments continue to accelerate, thousands more members of our community still need assistance.
Households in EPRAP
Number of Households in the Program (Jan. 1, 2021-Oct. 31, 2021):
- Households that have applied for rental assistance: 35,206
- Households that are currently working with or have worked with a community-based organization to receive rental assistance: 25,239
- Households that have been paid: 6,956
- Landlords who have received advance funds: 95 large landlord accounts (379 owners)
Helping households impacted by COVID-19 is about so much more than numbers. The EPRAP program is helping people – seniors, adults, families with children – stay safe and healthy in their homes. We are providing funds to stabilize landlords and their properties. And EPRAP’s ability to pay rent up to three months forward–in addition to paying up to nine months of past due rent—gives both landlords and tenants security and stability during this ongoing crisis.
Outreach efforts reaching thousands
Thank you to our outreach teams and Hub and Spoke partners! Their efforts over the past month have helped to find and enroll households that did not know about the rental assistance program or were unsure how to apply. We are registering about 1,200 new households every week.
Both in-person and virtual events hosted by our community partners have brought in hundreds of people seeking information and many have been enrolled on the spot! Community provider’s have been knocking on doors to help both landlords and tenants complete their applications. EPRAP Case Workers are working till late at night and weekends to process and approve pending applications for payment.
As the EPRAP program now provides the same amount of funding in a single week as was previously possible in an entire month or more, we remain clear eyed about the need to keep doing even more for King County residents. Thousands of residents still need help. Efforts to streamline the EPRAP process and procedures over the past six weeks have worked, and we are seeing the difference. We will continue to look for more ways to improve and strengthen our program and serve more King County residents.
Our goal is to stabilize tenants and landlords alike, and to prevent thousands of individuals and families from falling into homelessness. As we continue to move closer to putting COVID behind us, we must do our best to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to recover from the physical and financial costs of the pandemic.
In addition to paying rent for eligible households before an eviction can happen, King County is also partnering with the Housing Justice Project to assist households who receive an eviction notice. King County residents who have received a notice of eviction or who seek legal advice related to evictions should call the Housing Justice Project at (206) 267-7069 or visit them online at https://www.kcba.org/For-the-Public/Free-Legal-Assistance/Housing-Justice-Project/Get-Help#41896-how-to-get-help.