King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn wants to expedite the backlog of rental assistance funds

Less than 5% of the $165 million allocated for the county is believed to have been given out.

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision striking down the federal moratorium, and the real legal risk to state and local eviction moratoriums, today King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn introduced legislation that seeks to expedite the distribution of rental assistance to those that are unable to pay their housing bill.

“Thousands of renters and landlords in King County are depending on this financial assistance to pay their housing costs,” said Dunn. “Especially as the end of Washington’s eviction moratorium approaches, it’s good government to get this money out the door for people who desperately need it.”

King County has received $145 million in rent assistance to distribute to renters and landlords who are struggling due to the economic impact of COVID-19. However, on August 18, the Seattle Times reported that King County had distributed only $6.5 million of its funding, which amounts to just 4.5%. This is notably lower than neighboring Pierce County, which has distributed 59%, and Snohomish County, which has distributed 47%.

As of mid-August 2021, King County has provided rental assistance for approximately 900 tenants. Almost 11,000 renters and landlords have applied for assistance. Washington state’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on September 30, 2021.

The motion requests a report on the delays in distributing the rental assistance funds, as well as recommendations for options to expedite the distribution to those who need it. The report would be due to the Council by November 2, 2021.