SKYWAY, Wash. — After a slow start, King County's Eviction Protection Rental Assistance Program (EPRAP) is fully operational and processing payments at its top speed, but the county still has thousands of open applications after the eviction moratorium bridge expired on Sunday, Oct. 31.
Leaders say South King County has the largest need for additional rental assistance and expect more people to still sign up.
"We know that there are communities that still need to get help and that we have an obligation to go out and find them because those are often the communities that are the highest risk of eviction," said Leo Flor, director of the King County Department of Community and Human Services.
The county says it's working to reach more people in South King County. Flor said the county is also working with media in other languages, like Spanish radio, and partnering with 40 community organizations to reach people who haven't signed up.
People can also get information on signing up for EPRAP at the Skyway Resource Center, which is happening Nov. 5 and every other Friday until Dec. 17 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the King County Fire District 20 in Skyway. The bi-weekly event is coordinated by the Renton Innovation Zone Partnership. The Dare 2 Be Project will provide information on how people can sign-up for resources through EPRAP. The Skyway Resource Center will also host organizations assisting with services ranging from behavioral health to school supplies.
King County met its target of distributing assistance to 12,000 landlords and tenants before the expiration of Gov. Jay Inslee's eviction moratorium bridge. The county has distributed $63 million in rental assistance so far this year. The average payment is $11,300.
Flor said, in the last five weeks, the program has seen 10,000 new applications. He estimates there will be roughly 12,000 applications eligible for assistance after the bridge expires, which doesn't include new applicants.
"So we expect $177 million of additional assistance to be arriving very shortly and we're going to be continuing to provide assistance into 2022," said Flor.
Flor said if you signed up for assistance but haven't received it you still have protections.
"At every step of the process...King County has funded civil legal aid attorneys who are able to step in, pay the unpaid rent at that stage and end the eviction process" said Flor about the county's $24 million contract with the King County Housing Justice Project, which is contracted to help provide legal aid to people faced with an eviction notice.
The county has two resource numbers for tenets and landlords. People looking to enroll in EPRAP should call (206) 477-1331 and people who are facing eviction should call the King County Housing Justice Project at (206) 267-7069.
"We really want to keep getting information out and make sure that folks understand that they can reach out and get legal assistance, legal advice on these matters," said Flor.
The Washington Multi-Family Housing Association posted a timeline of what an eviction process might look like after Oct. 31:
- Oct. 31 – “Bridge” Proclamation ends
- Nov. 1 – Rent is due and considered late thereafter
- Nov. 6 – Serve offer of repayment plan; serve Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) Notice & 14-day notice (may be served concurrently with the offer of repayment plan.)
- Nov. 21 – Offer for repayment plan EXPIRES; 14-day notice EXPIRES; ERPP notice EXPIRES
- Nov. 30 – Serve unlawful detainer action
- Dec. 13 – Tenant’s response to unlawful detainer action DUE
- Dec. 15 – Obtain Order to show Cause
- Jan. 4 – Show Cause Hearing (1st Appearance/Right to Counsel)
- Jan. 11 – Possible 2nd Show Cause Hearing/judgement and/or tenant receives access to Tenancy Preservation Program