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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


King County launches $145 million Rent Assistance Program to prevent evictions and homelessness

Summary

As announced in King County Executive Dow Constantine’s 2021 State of the County speech last week, the County’s 2021 Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program is now open to help residents behind in rent and utility payments as a result of COVID-19 hardships.

Story

Households throughout King County who have fallen one or more months behind in rent due to unemployment, lost wages and health crises as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for $145 million in rental assistance from King County. To help those residents, King County is partnering with local property owners and managers to implement a new Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program launching today that will offer payments for back rent, utility expenses and even future rent obligations for those struggling to get back on their feet financially.

"The sudden economic upheaval from the pandemic threatened the ability of thousands of our friends and neighbors to keep a roof over their heads last year, and King County was able to help more than 9,000 families," said Executive Constantine. "Expanding rental assistance now will help three times more people who are still in need - working with tenants, landlords, and trusted community partners - and King County is ready to help keep families in their homes."

The program will pay back rent and as many as three months of future rent for a total of up to 12 months of assistance. Assistance with unpaid utilities is also a covered expense. Landlords must agree not to terminate or refuse to renew tenancy until after December 31, 2021, except for special circumstances such as sale of the property or health and safety issues.

Tenants facing financial hardship and housing instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic can now submit applications via the web at https://rent-help.kingcounty.gov. Help with the application process, either remotely or in person, is available in multiple languages through community-based organizations under contract with King County. A number of community agencies will also be funded to work directly with their particular geographic area or population to help residents enroll in the program through a new “hub and spoke” model developed in concert with community leaders.

The opening of tenant applications is phase two of the new program. Over the past three weeks, county and community staff have been reaching out to local landlords and large property owners and managers to explain the program. To date, about 5,000 properties are already signed up in the 2021 program. Tenants whose landlords enrolled through the landlord sign-up period in phase one will not have to apply directly to the Tenant Pool and are protected from no-cause eviction. Individual tenants who apply who live in properties already enrolled will be notified that they are covered.

King County sponsored a similar rental assistance program in 2020, beginning in September. Working with both tenants and property managers, the original program served over 9,000 households and expended over $37 million to pay back rent, keeping people safely housed through 2020.

For information or general questions on the Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program, call 206-263-3481 or email DCHS Rental Assistance.


Relevant links


Quotes

The sudden economic upheaval from the pandemic threatened the ability of thousands of our friends and neighbors to keep a roof over their heads last year, and King County was able to help more than 9,000 families. Expanding rental assistance now will help three times more people who are still in need - working with tenants, landlords, and trusted community partners - and King County is ready to help keep families in their homes.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

For more information on rental assistance:

Rental Assistance Team, 206-263-3481

For media inquiries, contact:

Chase Gallagher, Executive Office, 206-263-8537


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography