Spokane Bar Assoc. announces project to help tenants struggling with eviction

SPOKANE, Wash. — Being kicked out from a home is not allowed right now, at least, under many circumstances. However, people are still facing evictions during the pandemic.

Governor Inslee put out an eviction moratorium early on in the pandemic and has extended it several times, now ending in mid October.

The Spokane Bar Association says it’s trying to help as many people as it can right now. The association announced the Eviction Defense Project, under its Volunteer Lawyers program.

It’s helping people in and around Spokane County with legal services when facing an eviction. The goal is to resolve the eviction before going to court.

Spokane Bar Association executive director Julie Griffith said this service would be free.

It’s actually helping one woman in Deer Park right now, as she says she’s being threatened with an eviction. She says she reached out to the Northwest Justice Project which connected her to the Spokane volunteer lawyers program.

Since the pandemic, people have been out of work unable to pay their rent. Because the ban eviction has gone on for months, Griffith says they’re going to see an influx of people needing help.

“We’re anticipating about a 300 percent increase in evictions once the moratorium is lifted, so we want to deal with as many cases as early on as possible, because capacity is going to be an issue for us come October,” Griffith said.

In a year, Griffith says the county processes about 1,400 evictions. Because of the pandemic, they believe they’ll have a backlog to get through.

“People are still getting their notices of eviction in different ways, maybe it was a verbal notice, that’s still a notice of eviction so they can contact the project,” Griffith said.

If you’re in need of help, you can apply for services through spokanevlp.org or call 509-477-2674.