Strong community effort disburses $74M in rent assistance in November and December to bring 2021 total payments over $148M

Thanks to dedicated work on the part of local community-based agencies and King County staff, Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program (EPRAP) payments for rent assistance accelerated in November and December, preventing eviction and possible homelessness for thousands of individuals and families at risk due to COVID-related health and financial challenges.  

Total expended from January-December 2021 was $148.8 million. Including EPRAP support provided in 2020 ($37.6M) brings the EPRAP total expended by year end to $186.4 million.  

November expenditures totaled $30 million and the month of December achieved a total of $44 million, by far the most processed in any month. King County and our network of outstanding community partners expect to continue disbursing between $30M and $40M per month in 2022 until we exhaust rental assistance funds. 

This critical support to the community would not be possible without the partnership with state and federal agencies in providing much-needed funding – and the extraordinary commitment of community agencies throughout King County working every day to help landlords and tenants complete the application process. 

Number of households served:  

By year end, EPRAP had actively engaged with 26,982 households (either paid in full, advanced funding to landlords to preserve housing until processing is completed, or were determined to be ineligible).  

EPRAP offered advance payments – up to 50 percent of the estimated amount owed in back rent – to all landlords enrolled in the Large Landlord Program. As of November 10, 2021, 410 landlords representing 14,919 tenants in arrears had requested and received advances. Roughly 7,459 households were protected from eviction through these landlord advances. Not all landlords have received final payment and EPRAP is continuing to process applications to remit the final amounts due.   

King County’s remaining funds will be expended within the first quarter of 2022 and are likely to cover rental assistance for most of the 15,444 households currently in the review process. Based on the historical approval rate of 67%, that means that an additional 10,347 households will be eligible for the rental assistance benefit and paid by mid-April. 

In addition to direct payments to tenants and landlords, King County allocated funding to the Housing Justice Project in 2021 specifically for eviction prevention. The HJP will work to stop eligible households that may not be served by rent assistance before they are called for eviction. To date over a hundred households have been supported through HJP. More information about support with legal aid to stop evictions based on unpaid rent can be found here.  

More need exists than money available to meet that need  

The need for rent assistance for King County households in arrears for rent payments exceeds the money currently available. This shortfall does not account for the impact of the December-January surge in COVID cases and the resulting impacts to health, employment, child care access and more.  

More funding requested 

King County has applied to both the state and federal governments to request more funding. While the County has not closed applications, it has made clear that additional applications can only be processed if additional funding is allocated. The County is hopeful that particularly in the face of the current explosion of COVID cases, more funding to support families will become available.  King County EPRAP has limited funds remaining and assistance cannot be guaranteed. We still encourage eligible tenants to continue with the application process.