Extended: Foster Care Eviction and Rent Assistance, Eviction Moratorium, and Protections for Energy Customers affected by COVID-19

13 Oct 2020

The eviction moratorium and resources for foster care eviction and rent assistance as well as protections for energy customers have been extended.

Foster Care Eviction and Rent Assistance

Washington's Office of Homeless Youth allocated $1 million in CARES Act funding to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) to provide stipends to young adults who will age out or have aged out of Extended Foster Care at age 21, between March 1 - December 31, 2020.

The purpose of the funding is to support housing stability for youth who exited the Extended Foster Care Program at age 21.

Eligible youth will receive $800 per month for each month that they were eligible. Example: youth who turned 21 years old in March 2020 could be eligible for up to $8,000 over the 10-month period. Youth who turned 21 years old in April will have nine months of eligibility and will receive a total of $7,200.

Youth who receive Social Security Income (SSI) will receive $100-$800 per month based on their current benefits. This range allows these youth to receive additional funds without jeopardizing their SSI and putting them over in resources per social security rules. These youth will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The youth who turned 21 years old between March 2020 and September 2020 will receive one check for every month they have been out of foster care through October. They will then receive one check per month, including the month of December 2020. There is a possibility that all eligible youth will receive an additional check at the end of this period to ensure that all funds have been allocated.

If you currently work or have worked with a young adult that meets these qualifications, please reach out to them directly and assist them in applying.

How to Apply

Send an email to dcyf.adolescentprograms@dcyf.wa.gov with the youth’s name, address and contact information before Nov. 13, 2020. If you do not have access to email, please call Sherrie Flores at 360-489-5280.

Moratorium on Evictions

On October 14, the Governor extended the Moratorium on Evictions. This extension makes modifications to the prior moratorium, including:

  • Clarifying that tenant behavior which is imminently hazardous to the physical safety of other persons on the premises is included among the existing permissible reasons for seeking to evict a tenant.
  • Authorizing landlords and property owners to send advance notices of future rent increases in limited circumstances, as long as the notice clearly provides that the rent increase will not go into effect until after the moratorium expires.
  • Establishing clearer guidance on permissible communications between landlords and tenants.
  • Requiring that any 60-day notice to vacate if an owner intends to occupy or sell the premises must be in the form of an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury.

The moratorium also directs the governor’s staff to continue working with stakeholders over the next 30 days to consider additional amendments to the moratorium to ensure that the moratorium’s protections for non-payment of rent apply narrowly to those persons whose ability to pay has been directly or indirectly materially impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

Read the full proclamation here.

Protections for Energy Customers affected by COVID-19

On October 6, state regulators approved protections for electric and natural gas utility customers who are struggling to pay their bills due to financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commission ordered investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington to continue a moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment until April 30, 2021. Also, utilities will continue to waive deposits for new customers and all late fees through Oct. 27, 2021.

Utilities must also work with customers to establish long-term payment arrangements for up to 18 months for residential customers, and 12 months for small commercial customers.

In addition to payment arrangements, all utilities must also create a COVID-19 bill payment assistance program funded at 1% of their Washington state retail revenues, in addition to any existing local and federal assistance programs. For more information click here.

On October 14, the Governor also extended the Ratepayer Assistance proclamation which prohibits energy, water and landline telephone companies from:

  • Disconnecting any residential customers from energy, landline telephone or water service due to nonpayment on an active account, except at the request of the customer.
  • Refusing to reconnect any residential customer who has been disconnected due to nonpayment.
  • Charging fees for late payment or reconnection of energy, landline telephone or water service.
  • Disconnecting service to any residential customer who has contacted the utility to request assistance from the utility’s COVID-19 Customer Support Program.

This proclamation does not relieve customers from the obligation to pay for utility services. Customers and utilities are expected to continue to communicate in good faith with one another, and to work together, on the timing and terms of payment and repayment solutions.

Read the full proclamation here.

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