As of October 21 the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) has leased 90%, or 693, out of the 762 Emergency Housing Vouchers they were awarded, with expectations to be fully leased up by the end of the calendar year.
Emergency Housing Vouchers, also known as EHVs, serve individuals and families who are experiencing houselessness; who are at risk of becoming houseless; who are fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking; and those who have recently experience houslessness and are at risk for housing instability.
“These vouchers are providing hundreds of individuals and families experiencing homelessness with stability through permanent housing and embedded services, helping us to effectively address the humanitarian crisis of homelessness in King County,” said Robin Walls, KCHA Executive Director.
In 2021, KCHA was awarded the EHVs and approximately $18.4 million in funding through the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and is allocated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
To streamline the process of getting the vouchers to community members, KCHA created strong partnerships with nonprofit organizations, such as YWCA of Seattle/King County; Catholic Community Services; and InterIm CDA to provide housing navigation services and one-on-one housing search support. Universal forms were also created between KCHA and Seattle Housing Authority to minimize the paperwork burden for applicants.
Other efforts include the provision of flexible funding to alleviate financial leasing barriers that low-income individuals face when looking for rental units. According to KCHA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development provided special funding with these vouchers to assist with costs such as rental unit application fees, deposits and other fees charged by landlords for tenancy.
“Within a waiting list of more than 19,000 families for public housing, KCHA strives to deploy every single housing resource it has available as quickly as possible to address the affordable housing crisis in King County,” said Walls.