During the COVID-19 pandemic many of our neighbors and friends unexpectedly lost employment and were unable to pay rent, all while trying to stay safe and healthy. Our community was in crisis. The Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program (EPRAP) program was launched to help thousands of our community members at risk of homelessness.
Since 2020, the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) and a broad coalition of community organizations have distributed just under $400 million in payments to nearly 40,000 households across King County as part of EPRAP. Providing an average of approximately 8 months of rent for each household. Often including 3 months of future rent to ensure community members had ongoing housing stability.
$20 million of the distributed payments were part of an eviction prevention program targeted at tenants who were at severe risk of losing their homes due to an existing eviction notice. Through intentional programming around outreach assistance, language access, and community partnerships, EPRAP successfully reached communities who historically have not been provided equitable access to rental assistance, and those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 75% of households receiving rent assistance identified as Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
- 20% of households receiving rent assistance identified as Hispanic or Latina/o/x.
The size and growth of this emergency response was unprecedented within DCHS. The EPRAP program did not exist before the pandemic and grew to work with 70 agencies and more than 500 users and processed more than 65,000 applications. This impact would not have been possible without the dedication, innovation, and creativity of DCHS’ community partners and King County staff.
Stories of impact from EPRAP partners
“By partnering with EPRAP we were able to hire 3 temporary employees to support EPRAP’s efforts to aid our community with rental assistance. We are pleased to share that those three hires are now full-time employees and continue to aid and empower our community in a different capacity,” shared Daniela Lizarraga, Navigator Supervisor at El Centro De La Raza
“We connected with a tenant who had applied for rental assistance. He was a man in his 30’s who had been renting a small home from a widower. She was in an assisted living facility and relied on the money from the rental to pay for her living situation. The tenant had lost his job in the restaurant industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic and had been unable to pay for rent for 6 months. He didn’t know what he was going to do and was distraught that he was putting his landlord in the position that she may not be able to stay in her living situation. They were both so happy that the EPRAP program was able to assist. It was a win/win for both sides,” shared Fran Nowak with the King County Veterans Program.
“Getting to work with tenants to provide assistance was a great experience, we were that consoling voice that got to tell people they were receiving rent assistance. To know we were making a difference when the world seemed upside down, and there was so much uncertainty, this work was literally helping people – I’m grateful to get to be a participant in the program.”
“We helped people that were on their way to the street with children, and people with disabilities, people would cry when their rent was paid, and it would make the caseworkers cry – to help people on their way to being homeless was profound.”
“A caseworker helped set up a tenant with an email that enabled them to serve the tenant successfully. The tenant was thrilled and reached out to their family to celebrate this.
“We saw communities come together, getting to see everyone rally around each other and be solutions oriented. We were the connection and the hands and feet on the ground.”
King County staff and community providers who supported the EPRAP program gathered to celebrate the impact of the EPRAP program, share stories, and build new connections.
King County’s Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program has transitioned to the new state rent assistance program, Keep King County Housed. DCHS is partnering with United Way of King County to offer support for renters who need help covering past-due rent and/or have an active eviction notice. United Way is contacting previously eligible households on the waitlist and directing them to complete the new client intake form. For more information about the program visit: www.uwkc.org/renthelp
King County Executive Dow Constantine thanks EPRAP’s community partners for their efforts helping King County residents stay housed through the EPRAP program.
King County Department of Community and Human Services Director Leo Flor expresses his gratitude to EPRAP’s community partners for their work helping tens of thousands of renters avoid eviction and stay safely housed in their homes.