by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Renters across Washington state have existed in a kind of financial and legal limbo since mid-March, when Governor Jay Inslee issued the first statewide eviction moratorium, declaring that the temporary measure would “help reduce economic hardship and related life, health, and safety risks to those members of our workforce impacted by layoffs and substantially reduced work hours or who are otherwise unable to pay rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
At the time, no one knew how long the pandemic would continue or the impact it would have on the state and national economy. Since then, Inslee has extended the moratorium four more times, most recently in October, when he set a new expiration date of December 31.
But despite the moratorium, commonly referred to as an “eviction ban,” renters are still being evicted. Last month, nearly 40 people were evicted through the court system in King County, up from just eight in April. (We know the numbers for King County because they’re tracked by the King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project, but a similar trend is almost certainly happening across the state). Added to that are an unknown number of people who are informally evicted through methods that, while not technically evictions, still have the same effect, their numbers never counted in the total of people forced to move — or made homeless — during a worldwide pandemic.
Continue reading Despite Eviction Moratorium, Renters Are Still Being Evicted
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State has reached a new milestone in the ongoing saga of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As of today, there have been 50,000 people who have tested positive for the virus, since the start of the pandemic.
This is not a good number.
Continue reading As State Hits 50,000-Case Milestone, South King County Appears to Be Next Potential Outbreak Hotspot
by Gordon Mchenry, Jr.
The results of the 2020 Point-in-Time Count demonstrate what we already know — that we must accelerate our approach to how we fight homelessness. The latest data reflect what we sense and see: despite all of our efforts, the number of people who are experiencing homelessness has remained too high, with only slight variations from year to year. Far too many of our neighbors are suffering from the trauma of homelessness, housing instability, the pandemic, and inequities rooted in race and ethnicity.
This latest count found an increase of about 5% more people experiencing homelessness over 2019 — and the survey took place before the coronavirus pandemic caused the economic disruption that led to widespread loss of income. We are especially concerned about the growth in family and chronic homelessness. And we recognize that we have yet to see the result the recession has had on our most vulnerable community members.
Continue reading OPINION: Point in Time Count, 2020 Version: More of the Same. We Need Change
by Carolyn Bick
Though the rate of novel coronavirus infections has slowed, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said that Washingtonians still aren’t staying home enough.
At a televised press conference on March 30, Inslee said that the data that has come in over the weekend has been “alarming.” The number of positive tests that have been coming in from counties surrounding King County, such as Skagit County, Adams County, and Island County have been two to three times higher than the week or so before.
Inslee attributes this to people going out too often on non-essential trips, thereby not following his stay-home order as well they should.
Continue reading Inslee considers extending stay-home order, addresses violation reporting, equipment shortages