Packed In: How tenants, landlords can receive help through Eviction Resolution Program

SPOKANE, Wash. — Renters have been hanging in the balance for months under an eviction moratorium in Washington.

Right now, renters can’t be evicted for at least another month, but rent will need to be paid again in less than a week.

That is, unless you’re able to start negotiating a plan with your landlord.

At the start of July, Governor Inslee put a ‘bridge’ moratorium in place to keep renters from being evicted until Sept. 30.

It’s for the state to transition to new housing stability programs that address the impact COVID-19 has had on tenants and landlords.

And Aug. 1 is when rent payments are due again.

During this time, renters are encouraged to seek rental assistance as landlords can can take lawful action against tenants if they’re not paying and not taking the steps to come up with a plan for repayment.

Luckily though, the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program is available in Spokane. One is the Fulcrum Institute and another is the Northwest Mediation Center.

To inform people about this program, the Northwest Mediation Center is also hosting weekly virtual sessions to help tenants and landlords figure out a plan to move forward with rent payments.

“It’s really important for them to contact the dispute resolution center if they are behind in rent, even if they don’t have a notice yet from their landlord,” said Executive Director of the Northwest Mediation Center Leslie Grove. “We just want to help people get started on this process.”

If you’re a tenant and get a notice from your landlord, don’t panic. Use this as an opportunity to get in touch with a dispute resolution center.

That way, you can work on negotiating a repayment plan or getting rental assistance.

The Northwest Mediation Center has Early Resolution Specialists working in this program to help tenants and landlords come to an agreement on paying rent before any legal action needs to be taken.

“We’re really nice, we really want to help and we can help,” said one Early Resolution Specialist Olivia Brownlee. “We can help you stay in your home, we can help you resolve the back rent issue with your landlord. And we’re extremely eager to do that.”

Whether it’s sitting down and figuring out a plan or connecting you to rental assistance in the community, that’s what eviction resolution is all about.

Here are some organizations in Spokane that offer rental assistance programs:

  • Family Promise of Spokane
  • Carl Maxey Center
  • SNAP
  • LiveStories

Assistance through Family Promise of Spokane, the Carl Maxey Center and LiveStories is available to those in Spokane.

SNAP assistance is available to those outside city limits as well.

The Northwest Mediation Center says a lot of people in need do often qualify for this assistance.

But even if you don’t, you’re encouraged to reach out to a dispute resolution center so they can help you stay in your home.

Weekly info sessions for tenants and landlords are separate. Each one is every other week.

The next virtual tenant info session is Tuesday, Aug. 10.

The next one specifically for landlords is sooner, on Wednesday, Aug. 4.

An explainer video on the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program in Washington can be viewed here.

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