Everyday we hear about many of the other impacts of the coronavirus on our society from drug overdoses, mental health issues, educational loss, financial ruin and more.  We also see the struggle our government seems to have to provide relief to those who need it most.

Efforts to help renters have come in the form of some vouchers by way of non-profits and with the added protection of an eviction moratorium that has extended for months and is now set to expire -or not- on March 31st.  Unfortunately the other have of the tenant/landlord equation hasn't received the same level of consideration.

Rick Glenn is a landlord who reminds us that full 1/3 of all Washington residents are renters.  All those rental checks amount to a billion and a half dollars per month.  Glenn says with a 20 to 30 percent delinquency rate, the landlords are being forced to hold the bag on 4 to 5 hundred million dollar shortfall each month.  Landlords have bills, they have expenses too and they have to pay for the investments in creating all those rental apartments and houses..

Rick Glenn appeared on KIT's Morning News program to talk about the problem and to share the frustration of having to sue the government to get fair treatment with tenants.

The Yakima County website has a page of information on the county's Rental Assistance program

Emergency Rental Assistance Eligibility and Prioritization Criteria

In order to be eligible for rental assistance, households must meet the following requirements:

  • Both of the initial screening criteria:
    • Current income (over the last 60 days) at or below 80% of Area Median Income
    • At least one month of rent not paid or partially unpaid since March 1, 2020
  • At least one of the following additional screening criteria:
    • Rent burdened: 50% or more of current monthly income is needed to pay rent
    • Previously homeless within the last five years; this includes experiences of couch surfing/doubling up
    • Eviction history within the last seven years
    • Housing disrupted due to a household member’s race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion
    • At risk of severe illness per CDC guidelines (62 or older, underlying condition)
    • Disability of any household member; includes a physical, developmental, or emotional impairment, including impairment caused by substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, or brain injury
  • For young adults age 24 or younger, these additional criteria can be used to determine eligibility:
    • Person 24 years old or younger that is pregnant or parenting
    • Person 24 years old or younger that is a recipient (current or past) from any one of the following: foster care; adoption; mental health; drug, alcohol treatment; court systems

Prioritization for rental assistance will go to:

  • People most likely to become homeless after eviction
  • People most likely to suffer severe health consequences as a result of eviction
  • People living in zip codes ranked as high priority by the Urban Institute’s Emergency Rental Assistance Priority Index
  • People who historically have not been provided equitable access to rent assistance and those who have disproportionately been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak: Hispanic or Latinx, young adults, Black or African American, Native American and Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and farm workers or other essential workers