Washington

  • State Data Overview

    Across Washington, there is a shortage of rental homes affordable and available to extremely low income households (ELI), whose incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (AMI). Many of these households are severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. Severely cost burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions.

    K
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    F
    a
    c
    t
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    221,795
    Or
    21%
    Renter households that are extremely low income
    $26,440
    Maximum income for 4-person extremely low income household (state level)
    -153,260
    Shortage of rental homes affordable and available for extremely low income renters
    $63,352
    Annual household income needed to afford a two-bedroom rental home at HUD's Fair Market Rent.
    72%
    Percent of extremely low income renter households with severe cost burden
  • State Level Partners

    NLIHC Housing Advocacy Organizer

    Joey Lindstrom

    202.662.1530 x222 | [email protected]

    State Partners

    Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

    1411 Fourth Avenue 

    Suite 850

    Seattle, WA 98101

    P 206-442-9455

    F 206-623-4669

    www.wliha.org

    Ms. Rachael Myers, Executive Director

    [email protected]

    Become an NLIHC State Partner

    NLIHC’s affiliation with our state coalition partners is central to our advocacy efforts. Although our partners' involvement varies, they are all housing and homeless advocacy organizations engaged at the state and federal level. Many are traditional coalitions with a range of members; others are local organizations that serve more informally as NLIHC's point of contact.

    Inquire about becoming a state partner by contacting [email protected]

    Become a Member
  • Housing Trust Fund
    HTF Implementation Information

    NLIHC continues working with leaders in each state and the District of Columbia who will mobilize advocates in support of HTF allocation plans that benefit ELI renters to the greatest extent possible. Please contact the point person coordinating with NLIHC in your state (below) to find out about the public participation process and how you can be involved. Email Joseph Lindstrom with any questions.

    NHTF logo
    Current Year HTF Allocation
    NLIHC Point Person for HTF Advocacy

    Rachael Myers

    Executive Director

    Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

    206-442-9455 ext. 202

    [email protected]

    State Designated Entity:

    Diane Klontz

    Assistant Director, Community Services and Housing Division

    Washington State Department of Commerce

    360-725-4142

    [email protected]

    Official Directly Involved with HTF Implementation:

    Shawn Slape

    HOME & NHTF Program Manager

    Housing Finance Unit

    360-725-5005

    [email protected]


    State Entity Webpage

    Washington State Department of Commerce


    NHTF-specific page

    National Housing Trust Fund

  • Resources
    Resources

    Housing Profiles

    State Housing Profile

    State Housing Profile: Washington (PDF)

    Congressional District Housing Profile

    Congressional District Profile: Washington (PDF)

    Research and Data

    National Housing Preservation Database

    The National Housing Preservation Database is an address-level inventory of federally assisted rental housing in the United States.

    Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing

    Out of Reach documents the gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing. In Washington and Nationwide

    The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Rental Homes

    The Gap represents data on the affordable housing supply and housing cost burdens at the national, state, and metropolitan levels. In Washington and Nationwide

  • Take Action
    Tell Congress to Protect and Expand the National Housing Trust Fund
    Urge Congress to Pass a Budget with Strong Support for Affordable Housing Programs
    Tell Congress that Opportunity Zones Must Benefit Low Income People and Long-Term Residents
  • COVID-19 Resources
    COVID-19 Resources

    NLIHC has estimated a need for no less than $100 billion in emergency rental assistance and broke down the need and cost for each state (download Excel spreadsheet). 

    Many cities and states are establishing rental assistance programs to support individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. This tracker links to news reports of various city, state and philanthropic rental assistance programs that are being established during the pandemic. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of rental assistance.


    Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state has distributed nearly $365 million in federal funds to help with COVID-19 response and relief efforts across Washington. This includes $100 million to provide rent assistance to low-income renters at risk of homelessness, using an existing framework to send rent payments directly to landlords. https://tinyurl.com/rencb9u

    Updated on July 24, 2020.


    Washington State’s Department of Commerce last week provided up to $1,000 in rental assistance and up to $500 in energy assistance for households that qualify for the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). https://tinyurl.com/yaxx9wcy

    Updated on July 24, 2020.

    CityDescriptionSource
    BremertonAn additional $268,383 from the CARES Act Federal Stimulus package was added to the Bremerton COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the council approved making the funds available for the rental assistance program last month.https://tinyurl.com/y9m8ohjt
    King CountyUnited Way of King County, the City of Seattle, and King County announced a partnership to expand the United Way’s Home Base program to help provide rental assistance to King County households. An initial investment of $5 million in public and private funds will go to qualifying residents who lost all or part of their income due to the pandemic. The funds, which will go into the United Way’s Community Relief Fund, are estimated to help around 2,000 families stay in their homes.https://tinyurl.com/y78sgkfv
    TacomaThe City of Tacoma has a $1.2 million housing trust fund dedicated to rental assistance. People who live within the City of Tacoma, who make 50% or less of the median household income in Pierce County, and who have been economically impacted by COVID-19 can apply for the funding. People are eligible to receive upward of $1000 which will go toward paying rent. The money will go directly to landlords.https://tinyurl.com/ybxdoheh
    SpokaneThe Spokane Valley City Council will uses its CARES funding to provide roughly $734,000 on rental and mortgage assistance and $260,000 on utility assistance.https://tinyurl.com/y24u8nwd
    Pierce CountyTo help its residents avoid eviction and potentially homelessness, Pierce County is offering up to two months of rental assistance for struggling community members. The money is being offered as part of the county's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, though the county says normal restrictions have been loosened to help as many people as possible qualify for the assistance.https://tinyurl.com/y2f3fjl5
    San Juan CountyIn response to the COVID-19 closures, Orcas Island Community Foundation has created an emergency fund to help people while they are out of work. OPAL is partnering with OICF and San Juan County to distribute emergency housing assistance to help people cover their rent or mortgage during the shutdown.https://tinyurl.com/y4waadzp
    EllensburgAt a meeting Monday night, the Ellensburg City Council approved a contract with HopeSource to manage $75,000 of CARES funding to go toward helping community members who are struggling to pay for housing.https://tinyurl.com/y2roc3dv

    Across the country, homeless service providers are struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to follow public health guidelines and help ensure people’s safety, some shelters are being forced to reduce services, restrict admittance, or close entirely. The loss of these critical resources puts people experiencing homelessness at even higher risk of illness. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of shelter closings.

    Below is a list of shelters that have had to majorly alter services or completely close:


    Freezing Nights, the only overnight shelter program outside of Tacoma (in that county), announced Monday it would suspend shelter services this year.

    The only daytime center in East Pierce County, the New Hope Resource Center, has reduced daily hours to 12 to 3 p.m. 

    In the Seattle area, three homeless shelters operated by Union Gospel Mission closed on March 27, leaving 270 people quarantined inside the shelters for two weeks.

    Seattle is allocating $13 million from the Washington State Department of Commerce COVID-19 Emergency Housing Grant to help people experiencing homelessness amid the pandemic.

    Updated on July 28, 2020.


    Legislators, housing advocates, and tenants are hopeful that Governor Jay Inslee will extend Washington’s moratorium, which is currently set to expire August 1. While the state has earmarked $100 million from the CARES to provide rental assistance, advocates argue that this is not enough to prevent a massive wave of evictions.

    The Seattle Medium highlighted findings from NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report and discussed advocates’ concerns about how the pandemic will impact low-income renters. “COVID-19, job losses, and rent burden are all hitting Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities the hardest. Without bold action from Congress and the state, thousands of people will lose their homes, homelessness will spike, and communities already struggling will be harmed the most,” said Rachael Myers, executive director of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, an NLIHC state partner.

    Updated on July 20, 2020.


    Survey data reveals that nearly one in five Seattle-area renters doubt they can afford their July rent.

    Updated on July 7, 2020.


    Pierce County granted the city of Puyallup and local nonprofits $461,834 in federal CARES Act funding, which will be used to provide sanitation and hygiene supplies for people experiencing homelessness and rental assistance to households on the brink of becoming homeless.

    Updated on June 29, 2020.


    Governor Jay Inslee announced on June 4 that Washington has enough COVID-19 tests to expand testing to new populations, including those living in congregate settings, such as agricultural sites, long-term care facilities, low-income housing, and homeless shelters.

    On June 2, Governor Jay Inslee modified and extended Washington's eviction moratorium through August 1. Read Proclamation 20-19.2.

    The Grays Harbor County Board of Health decided that the temporary encampment behind Aberdeen City Hall does not qualify as a necessary public health response to COVID-19 and, as a result, does not qualify for any of the $390,000 that the state provided the county for housing relief.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.


    The Lewis County Board of Commissioners approved $220,000 in funding to shelter people experiencing homelessness, with $120,000 stemming from COVID-19 relief funds distributed by the state Department of Commerce and $100,000 from federal CARES Act funding.

    Advocacy groups in Washington are urging Governor Jay Inslee to extend the state’s temporary bans on utility cutoffs and evictions, which are set to expire next week. The state moratorium on utilities expires June 4, and Washington’s eviction moratorium expires June 1. Rachael Myers of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, an NLIHC state partner, expressed concerns that without an eviction moratorium and rental assistance, the state will experience significant increases in evictions and homelessness.


    Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler announced that additional federal funds for the Bremerton COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program have been made available. An additional $268,383 from the CARES Act was allocated to the city, and the council approved spending the funds on a rental assistance program.


    A King County press release announced that COVID-19 cases among people experiencing homelessness are rising. Seattle and King County reported 112 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness or working in homeless service sites.

    According to data released by the Department of Human Services, COVID-19 is impacting how Seattle’s Navigation Team is approaching homelessness. The Navigation Team is focused on a public health approach rather than moving people experiencing homelessness into shelters. They are acting under a policy that restricts sweeping encampments during the pandemic.

    President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Washington State unlocking additional resources for Coronavirus response.

    Washington’s Department of Commerce is dispensing emergency housing grants to each county in the state. Each county will receive at least $250,000.

    Kitsap County in Washington will be opening two additional facilities to assist individuals experiencing homelessness that tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting results. One of the centers will be designated for families.

    Approximately, 11,100 people in the Seattle area do not have homes, and, in many cases, access to basic hygiene services. City and county efforts have focused on three areas: opening new overnight shelters to decrease crowding in existing shelters, creating isolation, quarantine and recovery units, and installing additional hygiene services for people living outside.

    In Seattle, twenty-seven people living in the 12 King County homeless shelters have tested positive for COVID-19. While the number of new cases in the general population has dropped, the county public health department believes the outbreak has not yet peaked among the homeless population.

    Washington State Department of Commerce announced $5 million in emergency grants is now available to the 29 federally recognized tribes in the state to bolster their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Seatle

    The Seattle City Council is introducing an emergency budget amendment to more narrowly define when encampments can be removed during the pandemic. This comes after a recent removal of an encampment in Ballard.

    Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on May 11 the allocation of nearly $4 million in federal CARES Act Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV), Emergency Solutions Grants, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS funding to provide rental assistance.

    Olympia

    The Olympia City Council allocated $310,000 of more than $1.1 million of CDBG funds  to shelter, housing and human services programs. Of the total amount, $110,000 will fund the homeless response coordinator position, $100,000 for mitigation site hygiene, and $100,000 for the Downtown Ambassadors program. Olympia received $237,383 in supplemental CDBG funds as part of the CARES Act, as well as carried $580,000 of FY19 funds into this year. The city will gain access to $350,000 of its regular 2020 allocation in September. 

    King County

    King County launched a new modular pilot shelter in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood as part of its efforts to reduce density in congregate shelters. The modular shelter offers safe housing, 24/7 on-site access to health and behavioral health care, showers and laundry facilities, and meals.

    Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center has successfully met the CDC guidelines for social distancing throughout their shelter programs while maintaining the same daily availability of 508 beds. They have shared their preparation and action strategies with the public.  

    Federal, state, and local eviction moratoriums are rapidly expiring and the CARES Act supplemental unemployment benefits will end soon; at that time, millions of low-income renters will be at risk of losing their homes. The NLIHC estimates at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance is needed to keep low-income renters stably housed during and after the pandemic. This tracker links to news reports of the growing evictions crisis in various cities and states. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of eviction updates.


    In the third week of July, 1 in 5 adults in Washington reported they had missed their previous housing payment or had little confidence they would make their next one on time, according to a weekly survey conducted by the Census. In the same survey, over a quarter of a million renters reported they had not paid their previous rental payment.

    Updated: July 29


    According to a weekly survey by the Census, 1 in 5 adults in the state either missed their last housing payment or have little/no confidence of being able to make next month’s housing payment.

    Seattle

    One in 5 renters in Seattle doubt they can make July’s rent.

    June 26

    Updated: July 16

    COVID-19 Resources Other

    National Media

    What to Know About Housing and Rent During the COVID-19 Emergency? https://tinyurl.com/y74ox85d

    Arbor Realty Trust launched an innovative $2 million rental assistance program to help thousands of tenants and families significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Arbor is contributing $1 million to the program and participating borrowers will match Arbor's advances to its tenants in need to help fill the rent gap during the hard-hit months of May and June. Together, the partnership program will provide $2 million in relief. https://tinyurl.com/y9r6x9vb