City of Seattle to Launch New Effort to Provide Homeowner Counseling and Homeowner Stabilization Funds
Thousands of families expected to receive direct financial support
Seattle (September 14, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced the allocation of more than $19 million in COVID-19 Relief funding to provide housing assistance for low-income households economically impacted by COVID-19. As the City continues to distribute rental assistance in 2020, the City will launch a new effort to provide mortgage counseling and direct assistance to homeowners at risk of foreclosure. These investments build upon established community-based programs aimed at keeping Seattle’s most racially diverse residents in their homes.
With the launch of the $41 million King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program and the Mayor’s eviction moratorium that currently lasts through the end of 2020, the City is preparing to provide $12 million in rental assistance through United Way of King County’s Home Base Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program, $4 million in 2020 and $8 million in 2021. Additionally in 2020, the City is expected to distribute $4 million through affordable housing providers funded by the Seattle Office of Housing, and nearly $3 million through the Human Service Department’s Homelessness Prevention programs.
“There is no doubt that our residents and businesses are feeling the deep impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis. This pandemic has put people out of work, caused families to struggle to put food on the table and pay rent, and forced some of our most beloved small businesses to shutter for good,” said Mayor Durkan. “Since the onset of COVID-19, the City has worked tirelessly to provide critical resources to our most impacted residents and communities of color that have been most disproportionately impacted by this crisis. In addition to our first in the nation eviction moratorium for our residents, small businesses and non-profits, the need for continued rental and mortgage assistance to keep people in their homes has never been more critical. With our strong partners in philanthropy and proven service providers, we will continue to deliver resources quickly and efficiently to the hardest-hit communities throughout Seattle.”
“With an ongoing pandemic requiring us all to stay home to stay healthy, a deep economic recession disproportionately impacting BIPOC communities and low-wage workers and their families, and now-yearly episodes of toxic air pollution caused by climate wildfires making it unsafe to go outdoors in Seattle—it is more important than ever to help people stay in their homes,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide). This infusion of funding for rent and mortgage assistance, made available through COVID relief legislation, will help thousands of households stave off eviction and foreclosure. These investments in immediate housing stability, paired with unprecedented long-term investments in deeply affordable, green housing through JumpStart progressive revenue, will shore up our community’s resilience to weather these crises and ensure a just and equitable recovery.”
In partnership with the City of Seattle, King County, and the Seattle Foundation, United Way’s Home Base Rental Assistance Program launched in April. As of the end of July, the program had served over 2,800 households across King County, including 1,180 households in Seattle. Over 75 percent of the total households served were households headed by a person of color. To ensure equitable access to these funds, United Way partners with a number of agencies including the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Wellspring Family Services, Neighborhood House, and Solid Ground. Building off these successes, the City is expanding its investment in this program and will work with United Way to continue equitably supporting low-income renters in Seattle.
“The pandemic’s economic effects are still disproportionately impacting communities of color, and thousands of our neighbors are still unemployed and can’t pay their rent,” said Gordon McHenry, Jr., president and CEO of United Way of King County. “We are grateful for Seattle’s efforts to secure these additional funds, which will help families stay in their homes and avoid accumulating more debt.”
To support homeowners at risk of foreclosure, the City is scaling up its ongoing support of proven programs, including mortgage counseling offered through the Washington Homeownership Resource Center’s hotline and homeowner stabilization loans administered by HomeSight. Funding to support homeowners will include $350,000 to fund mortgage counseling and homebuyer education, and $350,000 to fund foreclosure prevention through homeowner stabilization loans. Funds will be administered throughout the remainder of 2020, and into 2021.
“We’re so grateful for the City’s leadership in securing these funds to support homeowners, especially as calls to the state’s hotline from Seattle have increased exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Denise Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Washington Homeownership Resource Center. “We look forward to connecting distressed homeowners with counseling and other relief programs to help them stay in their homes.”
“COVID-19 has had a devastating effect in Seattle, in particular on the Black and Brown communities that HomeSight is privileged to serve,” said Darryl Smith, Executive Director of HomeSight. “We are genuinely grateful to the City of Seattle for the continued support to homeowners dealing with double heartache caused by the pandemic and risk to their homes. We are thrilled to be able to provide foreclosure prevention to Seattle homeowners made possible by the City’s Homeowner Stabilization Loans.”
The City of Seattle has implemented a series of initiatives to help support and protect artists, nonprofits, small businesses, workers, and our most vulnerable throughout the pandemic, including:
Leading the nation’s mayors in demanding the Trump Administration make full use of the Defense Production Act to produce the testing supply needed to protect communities;
Launching free Citywide testing sites at locations in north and south Seattle;
Establishing an outreach, education and enforcement effort to help businesses maintain compliance with public health mandates;
Creating and deploying Mobile Assessment Teams to test our most vulnerable in senior and long-term care establishments at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis;
Initiating the first-in-the-nation testing site for first responders conducted by first responders;
Creating a PPE collection program that accumulated more than one million items that were distributed to first responders and frontline essential workers throughout the region;
Launching the “Seattle Protects” marketplace to connect local manufacturers and businesses with those in need of cloth face coverings;