Clark County announces $5.5 million in rental assistance funding


People who qualify can have up to three months in past, present, or future rent covered through the program

CLARK COUNTY — Clark County residents who are behind on their rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be able to have up to three months paid through a new program.

The Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) is a $5.5 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Treasury and administered through the Local Government Coronavirus Relief Fund through the Washington State Department of Commerce.

The funding is part of $100 million in rental assistance being distributed statewide.

Apartments in North Clark County. Photo by Mike Schultz
Apartments in North Clark County. Photo by Mike Schultz

Eligible households can receive up to three months of rental assistance through the program.

In order to qualify, residents must have an income equal to or less than 50 percent of the area’s median income, or $46,050 for a family of four. It is expected between 2,500 and 3,500 Clark County households could qualify for the assistance.

A release by Clark County Community Services notes that other qualifications may need to be met, though documentation of citizenship will not be required.

The funding will also be available for those living with friends or family, as well as renting space at an RV park. 

“We hope that this will be able to facilitate many households to be able to stay in their home and not have to face eviction when this eviction moratorium is lifted,” said Kate Budd, executive director at Council for the Homeless, which is helping to facilitate distributions of the funds. “We know that even that enormous amount of money is not necessarily going to meet the full need in the community.”

A statewide moratorium on evictions is in place through Oct. 15, so few people can be kicked out simply for not paying rent during the pandemic. However, 17 percent of renters in Washington said they had missed payment of rent in July, according to the U.S. Census’ Pulse Survey

The county will use the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to prevent abuse by tracking who has already received services. Applicants will be required to provide proof of income level, as well as a notice of late payment.

Landlords will also need to verify late payment, and will be paid directly through the program.

Duplexes under construction in Clark County. Photo by Mike Schultz
Duplexes under construction in Clark County. Photo by Mike Schultz

People needing to access the program are encouraged to call the Council for the Homeless Housing Hotline at (360) 695-9677, for all languages from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays or Share at (360) 952-8317 ext. 387 in English or (360) 952-8318 ext. 386 in Spanish, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional information can be found at CouncilForTheHomeless.org/ERAP.

Community Services says the funding will cover up to three months of past, present and future rent for qualifying families. Distribution of the funding will be based first on the level of need, the department said, and will be available until funding runs out.

Council for the Homeless is bringing in additional staff to field the expected call volume for the rental assistance, though the agency warns there could be significant delays in responding to calls. Ongoing issues with the United States Postal Service could also cause some slowdown in checks being sent to landlords, the county cautioned.

Advertisement

About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

Related posts