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Lewis County receives Eviction Rental Assistance Program funds

"Rental Assistance Program Beginning in Lewis County

Chehalis, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce (DOC) and Lewis County Public Health & Social Services (LCPHSS) will distribute more than $500,000 in rental assistance grant funds to assist community members struggling to pay their rent.

The Salvation Army is receiving more than $500,000 and the Housing Resource Center will receive more than $87,000 from the DOC Eviction Rent Assistance (ERAP) program. The grants will be distributed and managed by LCPHSS.

LCPHSS Social Services Manager Meja Handlen said funds from the ERAP program can pay rent due for a three-month period – arrears, current month, and next month. Payments of up to 80 percent of total or Fair Market Rent rate, whichever is more, will go directly to landlords in order to prevent evictions.

Handlen said, "The ERAP grants are a way for our community members who are struggling to catch up on rent work with their landlords to stay housed. The intent is to be an equitable way to prevent evictions by paying past due rent for those with the greatest need."

Handlen said the Salvation Army and Housing Resource Center are working with the Equity Institute and Hope Alliance to ensure equitable distribution of funds in marginalized communities. "Community agencies have come to the table and are ready to do intense work in the next few months to keep our neighbors housed," Handlen said.

Lt. Ginifer Pack of The Salvation Army said, "We believe ERAP will be a way to engage families and individuals we haven't been able to previously. We are really excited to be working with community partners like Community Action Council, Equity Institute, Gather Church, Hope Alliance, Housing Resource Center and Reliable Enterprises on a project like this. There is a great need in Lewis County but we have even greater hearts"

Households must meet two initial screening criteria:

Current income (over past 60 days) at or below 50 percent of Area Median Income. The Area Median Income per household size can be found at tinyurl.com/PDN-IncomeLimits.

At least one month of rent not paid or partially unpaid since March 1, 2020.

At least one household member also must meet one of six possible housing insecurity criteria:

Rent burdened: 50 percent or more of current monthly income is needed to pay rent.

Previously homeless within past five years.

Eviction history within past seven years.

Housing disrupted due to household member race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or religion.

At risk of severe illness as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Disability

For ERAP assistance contact:

Households over 24 years of age: The Salvation Army at 360-736-4339 or email gin.pack@usw.salvationarmy.org

Households under 24 years of age: Housing Resource Center at 360-736-5140 or email ncarter@hrclewiscounty.com

Spanish speakers: Equity Institute at (855) 283-2241 https://asistenciaconrentalewiscounty.com/"

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