Washington state just approved CARES Act that will help residents with rent
SEATTLE, WA — The city council on Monday approved a proposal to accept millions in federal CARES Act funds, $4 million of which will be allocated to assist renters who are behind on their payments due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a news release, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan said that the allocation of funds is the latest measure being taken by the city to keep residents from losing their homes.
The federal funds are provided through the Community Development Block Grant, Emergency Solutions Grant, and the Housing Opportunities For Persons With AIDS. In the news release, Durkan said the city will continue to provide equitable access to rent assistance resources through community organizations with strong connections to diverse communities.
The council approved $12.7 million in funding, including the $4 million for rent assistance. The resources will be distributed in four ways, including $426,000 for people living with AIDS, $700,000 through the United Way Homebase Program, $1.45 million through the City’s Homelessness Prevention programs, and $1.4 million through affordable housing providers funded by the Seattle Office of Housing.
“Over the last 10 weeks, the city has acted with urgency to deliver resources to communities most at risk to the impacts of COVID-19. Housing assistance and rental relief will help keep people in their homes at this critical moment,” Durkan said in the release.
“We know that in order to meet the full scope of needs in our city and region, we need critical investments from the federal government, and I will continue to advocate for the resources we need to combat this virus and to rebuild.
During this pandemic, it has also been critical to supporting programs who can quickly deliver with proven results. United Way is at the heart of our community to ensure that those who are the most vulnerable have the support they need.”
The United Way has received nearly 7,000 applications from King County residents seeking rent assistance within the first 48 hours after the Homebase program was announced in April. More than 70 percent of those requests came from people of color and 700,000 in funding is in addition to the $1 million the city invested.
However, the first round of funding only served 2,000 households, which has led local officials to move ahead with the second round of rent assistance.
Before Monday’s announcement, Durkan had already extended the eviction moratorium through June 4, which impacts residents, small business owners, and not-for-profits to provide relief for working people.
“Helping people maintain their housing through rental assistance is a key component of our pandemic response,” Gordon McHenry, Jr., president and CEO of United Way of King County said in the release “We need to continue to raise funds for this effort to prevent people from becoming homeless.”