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Seattle group voices concern over ‘tsunami of evictions’ when state moratorium expires

An apartment building in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. (MyNorthwest photo)

Washington’s eviction moratorium is set to expire when the state reopens on June 30, and a local group is now sounding the alarm over what it believes will be a sizable increase in evictions in the Seattle area.

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Data cited from a U.S. Census survey between April 28 and May 10 indicates that roughly 82,500 people in the Greater Seattle area are currently behind on rent. According to Solid Ground — a Seattle-based group that provides resources and services to tenants in need — the conclusion of Washington’s eviction moratorium could have wide-ranging, dire consequences for that already tenuous situation.

“The Greater Seattle area is facing a tsunami of evictions that could send thousands of people into homelessness and strain the region’s social service network to a breaking point,” Solid Ground Supportive Services Manager Celestine Berrysmith said in a written release.

That’s had King County accepting applications for its “Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program” since early last week. In order to be eligible, tenants need to be leasing a residential property within King County, have a household income at or below 50% of the area’s median income, and be able to either prove “they are experiencing financial hardship” due to the pandemic or that they are “at risk of experiencing homelessness.”

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The program will select eligible applicants at random, and distribute funds from the $145 million it received from the federal government to address housing instability.

Meanwhile, Solid Ground will be hosing a webinar on Thursday, June 3, to provide “information about where tenants can seek rental assistance, ways they can access legal services, and how they can prepare for opportunities to enter mediation and repayment plans to resolve unpaid rental debt.”

The webinar is free to attend, but registration is required at this link due to limited space.

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