Snohomish County nonprofit to cut off new rental assistance applications

Feb 24, 2022, 12:42 PM | Updated: 12:46 pm

As the last of the eviction moratoriums are coming to an end — in Seattle’s case, next week — a Snohomish County nonprofit giving out federal rental assistance says it is getting tapped out.

Galina Volchkova, senior director of Housing Services with Volunteers of America’s (VOA) Everett location, said the organization has already given out tens of millions of dollars to pay the rent for people in need.

“[From] the beginning of the pandemic, we served over 12,000 households,” Volchkova said. “We distributed around $80 million of rental assistance funds.”

The organization can pay up to 15 months of rent for those who qualify. The average payment per household has been about $9,000.

King County sending out millions in rental assistance, but it may not be enough to help everyone

Volchkova said that VOA is expecting about $35 million more to go out in the spring and early summer, but most of that is already spoken for. There are thousands of people in Snohomish County whose applications have been approved and who are waiting in the pipeline for funds.

“As of March 1, we’ll discontinue new screenings because we have 3,500 households currently enrolled in the program, waiting for assistance,” Volchkova said. “This would take about $32 million. Based on our experience, … we’ll have to make the decision to discontinue new screenings [so as] not to over-enroll in the program, and then we wouldn’t have enough to serve those already qualified and waiting.”

“We’ll still work really hard to continue services for those who enrolled in the program and are waiting on rental assistance, waiting on support to avoid homelessness,” she continued.

But even if a person misses the cutoff for new applications, it still does not mean they will end up on the streets. Volchkova stressed that there are programs to help prevent homelessness. For example, the county’s Dispute Resolution Center helps renters find a compromise with a landlord before eviction proceedings start.

“If someone is eligible for rental assistance, it’s not necessarily that this household will face immediate homelessness,” she said. “There’s risk, of course, but the Early Resolution Program at the Dispute Resolution Center, also with VOA, would start working with the case and finding some other solution. That could be a payment plan, it could be a move-out plan, it could be restructuring of the rental assistance and reaching out for other resources, it could be mediation if there’s disagreement.”

She said those making under 30% of area median income can call 211 and do a screening for the Homelessness Prevention Coordinated Entry System.

VOA also works with people to make a future housing plan, so they can find affordable housing.

“We want to make sure that we’re resolving the housing crisis in a more meaningful way, so we’ll work with a future housing plan as much as possible to ensure, along with rental assistance distribution, that we are decreasing the risk of homelessness in Snohomish County,” Volchkova said.

MyNorthwest News

Listen to the discussion from KIRO Newsradio's John & Shari show....

Bill Kaczaraba

John & Shari video: Training for local firefighters ‘destructive’

Local fire departments have suspended their Diversity Equity Inclusion training.

13 hours ago

Image: Seattle Police Department dashcam video shows officers' pursuit of two juveniles who carjack...

Kate Stone

Boys, ages 12 and 13, who led police on car chase given different outcomes after court appearances

Seattle detectives believe the woman was reporting her two children, but she did not provide their names or indicate she knew them.

14 hours ago

A Seattle Police Department vehicle....

Steve Coogan and Sam Campbell

Seattle police officers given 9 hour suspensions after slow shooting response

A new report has revealed two Seattle Police Department officers took over 20 minutes to get to a shooting scene a mile away in late 2022.

14 hours ago

Food delivery biker...

Heather Bosch

Delivery apps adding a side dish of ‘worry’ for restaurants, customers

This should be a joyous time for entrepreneurs, but Seattle's new delivery driver pay standards - and the app-based companies that use them - have served up a side dish of worry.

15 hours ago

cap rent criminal background checks...

Bill Kaczaraba

Survey: Washingtonians ‘unhappy’ with the lack of affordable housing

Washington residents are more "unhappy" than others in the nation about the price of housing.

16 hours ago

kent trooper shot...

Kate Stone

Man faces multiple charges after WSP trooper shooting in Kent

A man accused of shooting a Washington State Patrol trooper multiple times in Kent last Friday has been charged.

16 hours ago

Snohomish County nonprofit to cut off new rental assistance applications