Washington receives $500 million in rental assistance

Posted By: Brett Waller Advocacy News, COVID-19 Resource Center,
Governor Inslee Extends Eviction Moratorium. 

Last week, Governor Inslee announced he would be extending the State eviction moratorium through March 31, 2021. Though he did not sign it then, we expect the moratorium to be extended in largely the same form as it reads today.

We will summarize any changes made after it is passed and we have had an opportunity to review the changes made.

Congress Passes $25 billion in Rental Assistance

Also last week, the United States Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which creates $25 billion in rental assistance to be distributed throughout the United States and her territories by the Department of Treasury.

We expect Washington state to receive roughly $507 million in rental assistance. This Act was signed by the President on Sunday.

Here is how we anticipate the rental assistance to be distributed, broadly speaking.

  • Rental assistance eligibility includes current or unpaid rent and utility payments (up to 9 months of rent arrears, and/or 3 months going forward) and other directly or indirectly incurred housing expenses because of the pandemic.
    • With a household income below 80 percent of area median income (AMI);
      • States should prioritize families with incomes below 50% of area median income (but no set percentage of funds distributed is required), as well as renter households who are currently unemployed and have been unemployed for 90 days.
    • With a demonstrable risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
    • Have one or more household members who qualify for unemployment benefits or experienced financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the pandemic.
    • Income eligibility is based on time of application and must be recertified every three months.
    • Eligible households are those:
  • Administrative programs distributing rental assistance may use up to 10 percent of allocated funding for housing stability services, including case management and other services intended to keep households stably housed.
  • In Washington, the rental assistance is likely to be distributed in a similar manner to the $100 million in state rental assistance distributed earlier in 2020. 
  • The application process requires renters to apply for assistance from their administrative agency managing the program. Housing providers can also apply for rental assistance on behalf of the resident but must inform them and secure their consent.
  • Payments are sent directly to the housing provider.

As we learn more about how the state of Washington will administer the program we will update our members.

Please note, WMFHA does not administer or manage any rental assistance program in the state of Washington. Rental assistance funds are administered by the state and counties. You can find more information about local rental assistance programs on our website at: http://www.wmfha.org/rental-assistance.