Washington Dept. of Commerce to provide $9 million in rental, energy assistance

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Department of Commerce is providing $1,500 in rental and energy bill assistance for an estimated 5,000 low-income households across the state.

This assistance comes through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), allowing the state to distribute $9 million through community action agencies.

“Imagine not having enough funds to pay rent, the heat bill, and put food on the table. Thousands of families in Washington face this predicament, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this crisis in our state,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “We are working with our partners to disperse this funding as quickly as possible.”

According to the Department of Commerce, the money will be distributed by agencies on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order remains in place. Of the $9 million available, the Department says 15 percent is available for rental assistance.

Tenants behind on their rent or energy bills must apply through community action agencies like SNAP, and once approved, their payment is made directly to their landlord or utility provider.

There are several qualifications needed to apply for LIHEAP, which can be found here. Additionally, an interactive map to find your nearest community agency can be found here.