As we enter the fall still feeling the effects of the pandemic, state and local governments are stepping up assistance for people in need. If you need emergency help with food, housing, or other services, contact King County Crisis Connections (call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 877-211-9274). If you are in need of rental or mortgage assistance or child care, or you know someone who is, you can find information below about programs to help. In my next newsletter, I will provide information about assistance for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
For families facing new child care needs during the pandemic, Child Care Aware of Washington operates a free statewide referral line to connect families with vacant child care slots. Call 1-800-446-1114 or contact them here. The Working Connection Child Care program helps lower-income families and working parents pay for child care. When a family qualifies for benefits and selects an eligible child care provider, the state pays a portion of the cost. The City of Seattle also operates a local child care subsidy program for city residents.
Additionally, many of our local school districts are partnering with community organizations to provide low-cost child care while students are doing distance learning:
- Federal Way Public Schools is partnering with Right At School to offer families who qualify for Free & Reduced Meals a 25% discount for high-quality, flexible 2020-21 school year child care.
- Highline Public Schools is partnering with community organizations to provide fee-based child care at several sites. Fees will be charged on a sliding scale.
- Kent School District is partnering with the YMCA and Champions to offer child care at select schools on weekdays, open to all KSD families for a weekly cost.
- Renton School District is partnering with Right At School to provide fee-based child care for elementary school students at three sites across the district: Hazelwood, Maplewood Heights, and Sartori.
- Seattle Public Schools is partnering with the City of Seattle and community organizations to provide full-day child care in nearly 50 elementary and K8 schools while buildings are closed for COVID-19.
- Auburn School District and Tukwila School District provide information for local families, as well.
For people having trouble paying rent or facing eviction due to the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic, there are several sources of assistance. King County provides a wealth of information here, but several particular programs are worth highlighting.
The United Way of King County has expanded its rental assistance program to meet the increased need during the pandemic. One month of rental assistance is being offered to people in King County struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus.
Another source of rental assistance for residents of Auburn, Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, SeaTac, or Tukwila is the Multi-Service Center’s Covid program. They accept a limited number of applications each week from households affected by the pandemic. Applications open on Sundays for the following week.
Finally, for people facing eviction, King County is participating in our state’s Eviction Rent Assistance program, which is funded by federal CARES Act dollars. If you are in need of assistance to forestall eviction, you can fill in a form online to be entered in the lottery pool. Drawings are held weekly, starting this week, to select tenants who may apply.
Homeowners who cannot pay their mortgage may have the right to temporary forbearance. The federal CARES Act provides protections for homeowners with federally or Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) backed mortgages (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac). If you don’t have a federally or GSE-backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage loan servicer.
You can get assistance by contacting your mortgage servicer, or by calling the state Department of Financial Institutions at their toll-free number 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334) to learn how best to contact your mortgage servicer, and to learn more about your options.
In addition, if you would like to talk to a housing counselor, you can call the Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1.877.894.HOME.
Stay in Touch
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Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.
Senator Karen Keiser
Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore