Packed In: Community organizations create eviction guide to keep locals housed

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Inland Northwest is growing faster than our housing supply can keep up with and it is squeezing locals out of our community.

The pandemic flipped our housing crunch into a full-blown housing crisis and community organizations like “The ZoNE” are working to guide people facing the possibility of eviction.

The ZoNE conducts phone surveys, goes door-to-door and hosts workshops to help families with the rental application process.

Stacy Lenz, a Community Engagement Coordinator with The ZoNE, says a very different version of homelessness comes through their doors.

“They are multi-generational families or they’re parents with children or grandparents raising children,” said Lenz.

Lenz says many families who live in Northeast Spokane work in the service sector industry, which was hit hard in the pandemic. In The ZoNe’s latest survey conducted in February 2021, 74% of respondents say staying housed is their biggest concern.

“I talk to a lot of people who are beyond stressed, beyond worried about their future,” said Lenz.

Residents are not beyond hope. The ZoNE connects families with the resources they need in English, Marshallese, Russian, Arabic and Spanish.

They have created a step-by-step guide on what residents should do if they’re in danger of losing their homes, as well as links to community partners who can help tackle a number of housing related issues.

Facing Eviction

Facing Eviction Final Guide

“It’s going to tell you what to do if you’re called to court. What to do if you think you’re treated unfairly by your landlord. What to do if you get an eviction notice,” said Jene Ray, Associate Director of The ZoNE.

Ray says this guide can help families through the end of the year, but she also says the money that has been put into rental assistance so far is not enough.

“We already have families that are staying in campers behind someone’s house or they’re double or tripled up,” said Ray.

Ray encourages all households, whether facing housing insecurity or not, to fill out the City of Spokane’s survey on where to allocate $80 million in American Rescue Plan funding.

RELATED: Spokane City Council seeks public input on American Rescue Plan funds

The Spokane City Council is inviting members of the community to give input on what the city should do with American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to help the city’s economic recovery plan.

“The trauma that will happen to families who have to leave their homes, leave their schools, leave their neighborhoods, leave the connections, they will last for generations,” said Ray.

The ZoNe is located in the Northeast Community Center at 4001 N. Cook St. Spokane WA 99207.

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