Thousands of Washingtonians miss June rent payment, housing advocates warn of looming homeless crisis

Rent

SEATTLE – Rent for the month of July is due in less than one week and an article in Friday’s Seattle Times reveals as many as 1 in 5 renters across the Seattle region might not be able to afford the payment.

While an eviction moratorium is likely preventing thousands of families from becoming homeless that relief is only temporary.

Other programs meant to help keep families afloat are also becoming overwhelmed.

That times article says its data comes from the U.S. Census.

The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance dug even deeper and says that means more than 170,000 renters missed June’s rent payment and most of those renters have kids.

“I don’t have a plan for the future,” said Ifra Khan.

Q13 News first talked to Khan all the way back in March. She struggled to pay April’s rent and she says she will again struggle paying for July.

“It’s been rough and hard to explain to a kid,” said the single mother of a 10-year-old.

Like thousands in our state, Khan applied for rental assistance but she says her request for help in April has still not processed. She has taken loans to keep up but she’s running out of options.

“I’m relying on my self-employment,” said Khan.

“Now we’re seeing in this pandemic a huge increase,” said Kirsten York from the Community Action Council.

The CAC focuses on some of the South Sound counties in our region.

Hundreds of families there seeking assistance are vying for a slice of a shrinking resource and many are asking for help for the first time.

“What we’re finding is over 95% of those payments are going to rent or mortgage,” said York.

“We have a crisis brewing,” said Michele Thomas from the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

The organization says lawmakers need to act before the eviction moratorium lifts and families are pushed into homelessness.

The agency praised ‘Jumpstart Seattle,’ a city tax introduced by Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. Taxing high wages could earn $200 which could be used to invest in affordable housing. But some Seattle business associations opposed the plan saying it can only make the current economic crisis worse.

County, state and federal lawmakers would also need to do more to prevent a homelessness crisis, according to the Housing Alliance.

All Khan can do is keep plugging away at her business and keep a strong face for her child.

“Being a single mom a long has given better insight into situations like this,” she said.

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