Skagit County announces funds, partners to help Skagitonians pay rent and utilities during COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, Skagit County announced another round of assistance funds with the availability of $8.9 million in rent and utility assistance for Skagitonians impacted by COVID-19. This grant was provided by the Washington State Department of Commerce and funded by Treasury Rent Assistance Program (T-RAP). The program is intended to prevent evictions during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis by paying past due and current/future rent and utilities for people needing relief.
The county previously received $2.2 million in funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce, and funded by federal Coronavirus Aide, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act dollars. Those funds are expected to be exhausted by the end of April. “COVID-19 has created difficult situations for all of us, but especially so for renters and landlords,” said Chair of the Board of County Commissioners Lisa Janicki. “We’re thankful for the opportunity to provide Skagitionians who are housing insecure with a little help to keep the roof over their heads.”
Funding is available for either renters or landlords who have lost income due to COVID-19 and are struggling to pay or collect rent. An application for rental assistance may be submitted by either an eligible household or by a landlord on behalf of an eligible household.
"With so little affordable housing in Skagit County, helping people stay stably housed is a priority," said Kathleen Morton, Housing Manager at Community Action. "Landlords are some of our strongest allies in homelessness prevention, and we're happy to help these important businesses stay afloat."
Mary Escobar Wahl, T-RAP Manager with Catholic Community Services Farmworker center said, "The Farmworker Center is honored to partner with Skagit County in providing TRAP funding to the local Indigenous / Latinx farmworker community members of Skagit Valley. We encourage people who have found themselves unemployed, or dealing with a reduction in paid hours, and who are struggling to pay rent or utilities to call in so we can determine whether you are eligible for TRAP assistance.”
Basic eligibility requirements are that a household is behind on or unable to pay current rent. Additionally, the household must also be low income, defined as 80 percent or below of AMI. For a household of two, AMI is $2,617 per month, for a family of four AMI is $3,267 per month. Households with an income at or below 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and households with one or more individual who have been unemployed for at least 90 days will be prioritized.
You can find additional information on how to apply and eligibility requirements here.
There is not enough funding to provide assistance to all Skagitonians who are likely to be eligible for the T-RAP program. It is estimated that T-RAP providers will be able to assist approximately 2000 households with these funds. The program will operate until September 30, 2022 or until funds are exhausted. Any questions regarding the application should be directed to the servicing agency.
If you are a member of the public, and have questions about the program in general, call Skagit County Public Health at 360-416-1500.
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