OLYMPIA – In a letter sent to Gov. Jay Inslee today, state Rep. Jamila Taylor (D-Federal Way), Chair of the Black Members Caucus, called for extending the eviction moratorium that has kept tens of thousands of families from losing their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor’s eviction moratorium, coupled with the Legislature’s funding of rental assistance to pay off back due rent to landlords across the state, has allowed families to focus on their health and well-being during the pandemic without fear of homelessness. Other legislative efforts to protect renters include Senate Bill 5160 which provides for the right to counsel and the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program. However, the full rollout of these programs and full disbursement of $1 Billion in rental assistance funds is not anticipated before the eviction moratorium ends on June 30.
“The Black Members Caucus is calling on the governor to extend the moratorium until these programs and all funds are available in each county, and allow the moratorium to end in each county based on their ability to provide these programs, so that no families are homeless,” said Taylor. “To borrow the governor’s metaphor, we’re at the two-yard line. Now is not the time for us to leave families without this crucial safety net.”
In the letter, Taylor stressed that it is families of color who would be most impacted by the eviction moratorium ending, exacerbating the economic impacts that have already unduly burdened working-class and low-income Black, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latinx and rural Washingtonians who have had difficulty accessing all of the resources in response to the pandemic.
CORRECTION: The letter stated that ‘There are almost 400,000 renters in Washington who are not current on rent.’ which should read ‘There are almost 400,000 renters in Washington who are barely or not current on rent.