by Ashley Archibald
A small clutch of people with signs at the corner of Broadway and Pike caught Danielle Rogers’ eye the evening of Aug. 27. The mother of five stopped and accepted a half sheet of paper offered by one of the demonstrators from Cancel the Rent, part of a nationwide movement to relieve millions of households from the crushing burden of rent debt and threat of eviction as the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge.
Fewer than 24 hours before, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an eight-page, unsigned opinion ending the federal moratorium on evictions imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In so doing, the court opened the door to millions of evictions across the country.
Rogers had heard about the decision already, and it struck close to home. She knows the fear of homelessness. She and three of her children were evicted and had to live in their vehicle after falling behind on rent herself in 2020 after losing her job due to the coronavirus pandemic. She secured an apartment in Seattle but had to sell her car to keep up with rent payments. Now she’s two months behind and fearful of what could come next.
“I had just started to get beyond that,” Rogers said. “I know how easy it is to go to nothing.”
Continue reading Eviction Moratorium Limbo Worries Seattle Renters
by Fran Yeatts
“It felt like doing crisis counseling for hundreds of people each month.”
Samantha “Sam” Thompson manages our emergency financial assistance program at the West Seattle Food Bank, and she spends most of her time connecting with West Seattle tenants who need support with overdue rent or utilities. During the pandemic, the number of people needing support went through the roof, and while the lockdowns have ended, the economic impacts for people in West Seattle are ongoing. Our clients include people who lost their jobs during the pandemic, had their hours reduced, or are going to soon lose their unemployment benefits.
Since the West Seattle Food Bank merged with the West Seattle Helpline in 2020, our services now include both our shopping-style model of food distribution as well as emergency grants for individuals struggling to pay rent or utilities. The merger was well-timed, as need in our community exploded during the pandemic the following year.
Compared to 2019, in 2020 applications for Helpline services — the arm of our organization that provides help with rent and utilities — nearly doubled. Helpline staff and volunteers worked overtime, and to meet the growing need we increased the average amount of our financial assistance grants by 35%.
Continue reading OPINION: Despite Governor’s Actions, Eviction Crisis Still Looms Large
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Thursday, June 24, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that new funds and protections will be available for renters to bridge the gap between when the state’s eviction moratorium ends and when the state Legislature’s housing stability programs begin.
“As we all know, COVID has had a significant economic impact on our state and a lot of Washingtonians are still experiencing financial hardships,” Inslee said during the press conference Thursday. “These are all reasonable steps and will help ensure that renters and landlords have the opportunity to receive support and resources that are available to them.”
Continue reading Inslee Announces New Resources as Eviction Moratorium ‘Bridge’ Extended to Sept. 30