Office of Family and Adult Homelessness Newsletter – July 2019

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

OFAH Header

July 9, 2019

Please forward to your sub grantees and contact your OFAH grant manager if you have any questions.

Out of Reach Report 2019 released

Out of Reach

A person in Washington state needs to work 75 hours a week at minimum wage to afford a one- bedroom rental at fair market rent, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2019 Out of Reach Report. More county-specific Washington data is here.

The report brings awareness about why many Americans are not able to afford housing, and why people are experiencing homelessness. You can access the full report by clicking here.

Point-in-Time count 2019

Net Decrease in Total Number of Homeless in Washington State

Commerce released the results from the Washington State 2019 Annual Point-In Time (PIT) count last week. County reports show a 3.1% decline in the total number of people experiencing homelessness statewide, while half of counties posted increases. Commerce Director Lisa Brown and Tedd Kelleher, managing director of homeless programs at Commerce, commented on these results and the other ways that the efforts to decrease the number of people experiencing homelessness are measured. To read the full press release click here.

The 2019 detailed PIT Results are also available on the Commerce website here .

Landlord Sampling Reports due in August

OFAH Important Reminder

Our Housing Assistance Unit's Analytics and Visualization Manager Jayme Khoo sent a reminder to communities to wrap up their Landlord Sampling Reports and prepare to turn them in by August. Reports have been trickling in since February, but we still have a ways to go to get them all in on time. Thank you to those who have already submitted!

All completed reports or questions can be emailed to:

OFAH - Uncover the Facts

Did You Know? Prioritization.

Prioritization is a critical step in the coordinated entry (CE) process, helping communities use limited resources strategically. It also ensures people with the greatest need are prioritized for available services. A prioritization policy and tool may seem one in the same, but the differences are important to understand.


Prioritization Policy, Process and Tool

Prioritization policy  A policy outlining the decisions made by the CE governing body on the criteria used to determine whether someone should receive accelerated assistance to available resources. This policy is the foundation of a community’s decisions, and all other components of prioritization should point back to it. For more information, review the CE guidelines sections 2.3 and 2.3.1.

Prioritization process – A step-by-step process determining whether someone meets the criteria for priority status as stated in the prioritization policy. It is captured in a procedure that lists the steps to make this determination and how decisions are documented. For more information, review section 5.1 in the CE guidelines.  

Prioritization Tool  One or more tools used to gather information needed for the prioritization process. A variety of tools and a “score” may be helpful. Section 5.1 of the CE guidelines provides more information about prioritization tools and how to use them. 

If you have questions about the process or the difference between a policy and a tool, please reach out to your grant manager.

Equity Corner

OFAH Equity Corner

Hundreds of thousands of low-income families across the United States are facing a special kind of equity issue: intimidation by use of “serial filing” of evictions. This practice of filing for eviction over and over again with no intention of following through is used to force tenants to pay rent, but it is also used to capitalize on their income instability and fear of losing housing. In a recent study, Serial Filing: How Landlords Use the Threat of Eviction, researchers found that low-income families are especially susceptible to the practice as they are more likely to be late on rent and have a harder time catching up. The truth is, filing for eviction does not cost much as long as they do not follow through. It does benefit them, however.

In last month’s newsletter, we highlighted some of the ways that Washington state lawmakers stood up for tenants this year by: 

  • Extending the Late Rent Notice period to 14 days from three days.
  • Expanding the length of time landlords must give tenants before increasing rents from 30 to 60 days.

It is important to help tenants understand their rights. It is also important to help them understand there is support if they find themselves threatened with eviction. Here are a few ways to help:

  • offers handouts, videos and FAQs for tenants about their rights and responsibilities. Provide this information to tenants and those seeking housing as often as possible! You can access them by clicking here.
  • Take it one step further. In addition to the information above, provide a resource if they are facing the constant threat of eviction. Who could someone reach out to in your local community? Are there any resources already in place? Remember, Washington State Dispute Resolution Centers offer free or low-cost mediation services for low-income families in every county in Washington. You can find contact information for your local center(s) by clicking here.