Many wonder how to pay rent as end of eviction moratorium looms

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David Poland doesn’t know how he’s going to pay his November rent.

Poland wants to stay in his Willow Creek apartment, where he has lived since it was built in 1989.

Over the past few years, he has gradually withdrawn money from his savings account to pay for college expenses and the growing rent. Poland’s financial situation became increasingly strained after the pandemic, leading it to quit his job under COVID-related circumstances.

He received rent assistance from the Homeless Council which covered his rent for a few months. However, the program only runs until October, leaving Poland to find other ways to pay his rent of $ 1,160 while he finds a job.

“I don’t know if I should take what little I have left (of my savings),” he said. “It’s the only money I have.

Poland’s struggle with rent increases is not uncommon.

Market rates continue to rise due to the scarcity of available housing and the recent development of high rent apartments. In Vancouver, the average rent increase in October was 16 percent, which is predictive for the rest of the year, according to an analysis by the Vancouver Housing Authority.

Across the state and across the country, many tenants are juggling rent increases with other essential living costs. Some are frightened by impending eviction threats as Governor Jay Inslee’s moratorium is due to end at 11:59 p.m. on October 31.

The moratorium, which was previously scheduled to expire on September 30, prevents landlords from evicting tenants for any rent overdue from February 29, 2020 to July 31, 2021. It was extended because counties were not receiving or distributing COVID-19 funds. relief for rent assistance fairly quickly.

Kate Budd, executive director of the Council for the Homeless, said she fears people will be put on the path to homelessness if the moratorium is not extended again. Those evicted can stay with family members or friends until problems cause them to move, she said.

The cycle can continue until people have no one to help them.

“Homelessness happens for a lot of people when their support system can no longer help them stay housed,” Budd said. “Unfortunately, these connections may stop working.”

Judy Russel, president of the Clark County Veterans Assistance Center, said her clients were scared and didn’t know what to do. The organization used all the funds it received from the CARES Act to help veterans who had to pay their rent.

Russel said his organization can tap into the federal aid fund if there is a declared state of emergency, but that ends when the moratorium does. Otherwise, the center will resume providing housing assistance to veterans for only one month every two years, she said.

“We worked so hard to get the veterans off the streets and house them,” Russel said. “Now, for something like that, it makes them back down.”

Federal and state emergency rent assistance funds go directly to local governments who distribute them to local service providers, such as the Council for the Homeless. Assistance is provided to low-income residents who request it and who have been affected by the pandemic.

Michael Torres, director of the council’s community services program, said Clark County distributed more than $ 27 million in rent and utility assistance to 3,593 households between August 1, 2020 and October 8, 2021. Local agencies are operating at full capacity and opening the windows. for applications periodically.

“The need that exists is clearly real and people are in crisis,” Torres said. “Having those short windows (is) not optimal, but everyone is working really hard to get as much rental assistance to those who need it” as possible.

The Council’s last federal help window for the homeless closed less than an hour after all of its 1,200 requests were processed.

The next opening of applications will take place Monday at 9:00 am; it can be accessed online, by calling the Housing Solutions Center or by going in person to the Share Volunteer Center. The next registration dates can be found on the Homeless Council website.

Budd suggested people go to faith communities for extra rent assistance if they can’t get a request during the open window. She said those facing an eviction should communicate their repayment plans to their landlord or property manager and seek advice through mediation and legal assistance.

“(Landlords and tenants) don’t know what the future holds for them,” Budd said.

Leah Halstead, director of property and asset management at VHA, said her association had no plans for evictions. Instead, he predicts an increase in the number of people needing to move into affordable housing.

Agencies providing assistance are Bridgeview Housing, Clark County Veterans Assistance Center, Council for the Homeless, Clark Public Utilities, Impact Northwest, Janus Youth, Lifeline Connections, Partners in Careers, REACH Community Development, Share, Second Step Housing and the Noble. Foundation.


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