Jeff Humphrey

Spokane Shares $9.3 Million in Rent Relief

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 9:59 a.m.

Latinos en Spokane is one of several non-profits helping the city distribute millions of dollars in emergency rent assistance because of the COVID pandemic.

Both tenants or landlords can start the application process and,available funding can help satisfy an average seven months rent.

“The City of Spokane is providing rental assistance through various local partners.Tenants who have lost their jobs, income, or incurred expenses due to COVID,can stay housed by accessing these funds while, at the same time,helping landlords recoup some of their losses,” explained Kelsey Martin from the City of Spokane’s Community,Housing and Human Services Department.

As of November 30,the city has dispersed $9.3 million in rent assistance with an average payment to landlords of $5,833.

The U.S.Treasury Department reports Spokane was the first city in the state to distribute all of one of the first-rounds of emergency rent assistance funds, which is good news for landlords like Bill Varner.

“Well, we can get our bills paid, we still have to pay our insurance, our property taxes,” Varner said of receiving some rent relief payments.

Varner owns a half dozen rental properties, including a South Hill four-unit home.

After one of his tenants there qualified for assistance, Varner was contacted by an organization called LiveStories.

When Varner agreed to conditions regarding rent increases and evictions, Varner started getting checks from LiveStories in the mail.

“In the last month, we’ve gotten a couple of tenants caught up and we’ve got four or five who have since applied and so, hopefully the money holds up and they can also get taken care of,” Varner added.

Tom Hadley is one of Varner’s tenants in West Central Spokane. When COVID cut into Hadley’s hours at work, rent assistance from the city helped Hadley keep up with his bills.

“I tell you what, I was able to give more to, like Avista, to everything that’s still for our livelihood as well, keep things running,” Hadley recalled thankfully.

That’s the goal of the city’s Emergency Rent Assistance Program; helping people and their pocketbooks recover from the pandemic.

“We still have more funding available. We need tenants and landlords to continue to work together to avoid evictions and to preserve the existing housing options in the Spokane area,” Martin emphasized.

For more information about if you or your tenant qualifies for rent assistance, visit our website.

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