Office of Family and Adult Homelessness Newsletter - August 2020

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Aug. 10, 2020

The high cost of housing

Submitted by Kim Murillo, Grant Coordinator


The National Low Income Housing Coalition issued its yearly Out of Reach report to document the significant gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing across the United States. The report’s central statistic, the Housing Wage, is an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home at U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) fair market rent (FMR) without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs, the accepted standard of affordability.

In Washington state, the Housing Wage averaged across the state is $30.46, which equates to a 90-hour work week at $13.50 per hour to afford rent of a two-bedroom home. This means that 2.3 full-time jobs are required to afford a two-bedroom home. For a one-bedroom, a 73 hour work week is required, or 1.8 full-time jobs.

The coronavirus pandemic shines a spotlight on the systemic racial and ethnic inequities still gripping our country. Millions of renters were one financial shock away from housing instability, and for many the pandemic and economic fallout is that shock. The massive wave of unemployment in 2020 underscores that access to decent, stable housing should not be conditioned on one’s wages or work status.

Governor Inslee extends Eviction Moratorium

Governor Inslee  announced the extension of the eviction moratorium as COVID-19 continues to impact the finances of Washingtonians statewide. 

The extension makes modifications to the prior moratorium, including: 

  • Makes minor clarifications to existing restrictions, such as clarifying that law enforcement may serve eviction orders that include findings required by the proclamation; and
  • Creates a workgroup to help inform potential changes to the moratorium in the short-term and the long-term, if needed. The workgroup is specifically asked to consider how future extensions could address options to increase rent. 

The moratorium is extended through Oct. 15. 

If a landlord is trying or threatening to evict between now and Oct. 15, that is illegal in most cases, and the Washington State Attorney General's (AG) office is enforcing this.

You can file a legal complaint with the AG.

Read about an eviction rent assistance program coming soon.


HUD webinar series for local governments serving small communities responding to COVID-19

This webinar series presented by HUD provides digestible information on how small units of general local government may access public funding, data, and other resources made available due to the pandemic.

Go to the HUD website’s Distressed Cities Technical Assistance for more information.

A growing population: Houseless seniors

The U.S. Census Bureau in 2010 reported that approximately 12% of Washington state residents were over the age of 65.  By 2018, that number rose to approximately 15%.  With fixed incomes pacing with the exponential cost of living, and with rising rents the number of houseless seniors is on the rise.

Read more

Equity corner

Equity corner

HUD publishes new tools to help build equity

National data show vast racial disparities in who experiences homelessness and, in some instances, the outcomes within homelessness services systems. COVID-19 has amplified the historic and current racial biases and discrimination embedded in our systems, processes, and practices. To address those disparities, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency (HUD) has published a host of recent resources: 

Commerce furlough closing for August/September

In keeping with Governor Inslee’s furlough directive to help the state reduce costs and weather the economic fallout of the pandemic, Commerce will be closed Friday, Aug. 21, and Tuesday, Sept. 8

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Online Trainings available at your convenience

Self-directed trainings and certificates are accessible at any time on our training webpage.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to Housing First
  • Introduction to Rapid Rehousing
  • Progressive Engagements for Programs and Systems
  • Working with Survivors of Domestic Violence
  • Introduction to Diversion/Problem Solving
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Virtual trainings pilots now launching

LGBTQ+ Competency, Mental Health Training, Racial Equity, and Trauma Informed Services trainings are launching their first pilot programs in August and September with limited seating available. Virtual training sessions will be offered to counties on a small scale to help the trainers fine-tune their offerings.  Stay tuned.

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Washington State Health Care Authority mental health resources

Questions? Contact us

Grant Managers

Jessica Simon

Julie Montgomery

Kathryn Dodge

Megan Kendig

Sarah Harrison

Grant Coordinator

Kim Murillo

Training & Benefits Verification System Coordinator

Linda Terry

OFAH Program Director

Kathy Kinard