SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners have pledged $3 million for a new effort to prevent low-income renters facing eviction from falling into homelessness.

"In a community as vibrant and successful as ours, it's heartbreaking that so many people don't have the most basic necessity of a warm, dry, safe place to live," Mariners Chairman John Stanton said in a statement.

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The team's contribution to the Home Base partnership with United Way of King County and the King County Bar Association will create an eviction intervention fund to help people get or stay in housing by covering back rent, paying outstanding debts, or taking care of a pending eviction notice. United Way will administer the fund.

The coalition is focusing on evictions, because member groups want to go upstream and stop the problem of homelessness before it can even get started, according to United Way of King County President Jon Fine. A 2018 study from the King County Bar Association found 87 percent of eviction filings stemmed from rent nonpayment, and about three-quarters involved about $1,237 or less owed to the landlord.

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Funds will also beef up staffing at the Housing Justice Project, a legal clinic sponsored by the King County Bar Association that provides legal advice and counsel to area renters.

About $2 million of the Mariners' contribution will go into the fund for renters who are in arrears. The rest will go toward hiring additional case managers and lawyers to staff clinics in Seattle and Kent.

The partners estimate they could help as many as 4,000 people.