Rental and utility assistance available for Pierce County tenants behind on payments

Originally published by The Suburban Times on March 14, 2021

Pierce County and the City of Tacoma have partnered to bring an eviction prevention program to thousands of residents impacted by COVID-19. Pierce County renters with overdue rent and/or utility bills can apply for financial assistance. Eligible utilities include electric, water, sewer, gas, garbage pickup, fuel oil and internet.

“These additional funds will go towards the continued support of Pierce County and City of Tacoma residents most in need,” said John Barbee, Community Services manager. “We received almost 5,000 applications in the first 24-hours of starting the program and expect thousands more in the upcoming weeks.”

The $58 million program is funded with $20 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury and $38 million from two Washington State Department of Commerce funds.

Renters can apply online and may be eligible for up to 12-months of rental assistance based on need. Residents without internet access are encouraged to call 2-1-1 to apply over the phone. Pop-up, in-person application events will be announced later this spring for residents who need additional support. Landlords can pre-registration for tenants, expediting the application process.

Eligible rental assistance participants must meet the following requirements:

  • Fall under 80% Area Median Income (AMI)
  • Have been impacted by COVID-19
  • Have overdue rent and/or utilities
  • Live in Pierce County, including the City of Tacoma

Once submitted, applicants can check the status of their application using our online system. Additional information may be required by providers to determine eligibility, but gathering the following documentation ahead of time will help advance the process for renters:

  • Vital information, including birthdays, for all household members
  • Income verification for all household members for each source of income
  • COVID impact documentation
  • Landlord name, email and phone number
  • Copy of lease or rental agreement
  • Statement from landlord with past due balance
  • Copy of past due utility bills if applicant is requesting utility assistance

“The partnership between the City of Tacoma and Pierce County will strengthen our ability to provide rental assistance to all of our community members who have had impacts during COVID-19,” said Allyson Griffith, assistant director of Neighborhood and Community Services Department. “We want to make sure that people who are already feeling stress from the pandemic can access resources to help stabilize their housing as we continue to respond to the pandemic.”

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