City Encourages Landlords, Tenants to Apply For Emergency Rent Assistance Now

Brian Walker, Communications Manager, 509.655.1387

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 8:56 a.m.

Updated: 12/14/2021 at 3:58 p.m.

The City of Spokane and its partners have deployed $9.3 million in emergency rent assistance to tenants or landlords during the first six months of a federal program that assists those who have faced a financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Spokane was the first Washington jurisdiction to distribute all of its first round of funds - $6.1 million - from the U.S. Treasury. As of Nov. 30, $3.2 million of its total $7.8 million (40 percent) of its first round of funds from the Washington State Department of Commerce had been distributed.

“In the past month, we’ve gotten a couple tenants caught up and others have since applied,” said Bill Varner, a Spokane landlord.

Kelsey Martin, a City employee who assists with the COVID-19 program, said residents in need are encouraged to apply for funding as soon as possible due to the positive ripple effect the program has on the community.

“We need landlords and tenants working together to avoid eviction,” said Martin, adding that either landlords or tenants can start the online application process. “City residents are receiving critical funding to stay in their homes.”

Community partners contracted with LiveStories to assist with its application process and answer questions include: Carl Maxey Center, The Zone/Northeast Community Center, Latinos en Spokane, World Relief, and Northwest Mediation Center. Family Promise of Spokane also offers an application portal for households with minor children. SNAP handles applications for Spokane County residents.

Another $7.6 million from Commerce was recently allocated for distribution, and additional $4.5 million from the U.S. Treasury is expected to be available for disbursal soon.

“Some of the funds that were recently approved are already earmarked with applications in the queue so that’s another reason to apply quickly,” Martin said.

An average of seven months of assistance has been provided to landlords or tenants during the program.

The average payment to landlords has been $5,833. Thirty-six percent of the households served are Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). Eighty-five percent of the households are 50 percent or below the area median income. The zip codes that have had the most households served are 99207, 99208, 99205 and 99223.

Households must meet all four of the initial screening criteria to be eligible for rent and/or utility assistance:

  • Someone in the household has qualified for unemployment or experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • You have current housing instability or risk of housing instability, which may include unpaid rental fees or anticipation of inability to pay future rent.
  • Your household income is at or below 80% of the Area Median Income.
  • Your household resides within the City of Spokane boundaries.

Landlords or tenants can apply for assistance at