Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced the launch of her proposed Seattle Rental Housing Assistance Pilot Program, which focuses on preventing households from falling into homelessness while on the waitlist for longer-term assistance. Beginning in April, the City will begin serving approximately 1,000 low-income households to provide a range of critical resources, including rental assistance and utility discounts as applicable.
In February, Mayor Durkan signed her “Building to Bridge to Housing for All” legislation, which fully funded the pilot. This two-year $2 million pilot will focus on the most vulnerable households on the Seattle Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher waitlist who earn 0-50% of the Area Median Income, live in Seattle, and are currently housed or doubled up. Seattle Housing Authority is compiling a list of contacts from its waitlist, and will connect with them directly.
Led by the work of Muslim Housing Services, Neighborhood House, Solid Ground, and YWCA, the pilot is modeled after the Human Services Department’s existing Homelessness Prevention model, which partners with local service provider agencies to prevent homelessness among households prioritized through a vulnerability assessment. The pilot will use a combination of case management and financial assistance, including rental assistance, to stabilize households in need. The Human Services Department will focus on expedited enrollment of eligible households not initially served by the pilot, including enrollment in the Utility Discount Program and other City benefits for which they are eligible to reduce housing and other living costs.
Nearly half of the 1,027 households issued a Seattle Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher in the 2015 lottery experienced homelessness at some point during their time on the waitlist. Fifteen percent of households were housed when placed on the waitlist and became homeless prior to receiving a voucher.