(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), announced more than $400 million in rental assistance for Washington state, in addition to millions more in homeowner assistance that she secured in the American Rescue Plan. The relief comes as hundreds of thousands of people across Washington state are behind on rent and facing eviction.“As so many across Washington state are struggling to keep a roof over their head during this pandemic, I’m glad we’ve been able to make this critical investment in keeping people housed,” Senator Murray said. “From people worried about making rents or mortgage payments to people experiencing homelessness, this bill includes vital assistance to ensure people have the shelter, safety, and the security they need to make it through this pandemic. But I know this alone will not solve the housing crisis that our state was facing long before the pandemic began, and I am going to keep working to get people and families across Washington state the access to affordable housing they need not just to survive, but to thrive.”
The American Rescue Plan includes $404 million in emergency rental and utility assistance for Washington state, as part of $21.55 billion nationally, as well as a percentage of $9.96 billion nationally in assistance for homeowners struggling to afford their mortgage payments and other housing costs, $5 billion nationally for new emergency Housing Choice Vouchers (administered by Public Housing Authorities), and $5 billion nationally for supportive services and non-congregate housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness. The rental assistance is distributed through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program created in the December COVID relief package, and the homeowner assistance will be distributed through a new Housing Assistance Fund administered by the Department of Treasury. Additionally, the bill includes $7.1 billion for Washington state and local governments, some of which can go towards local housing aid.
The American Rescue Plan comes after a year of Senator Murray advocating for increased housing assistance to combat the effects of the pandemic on renters, homeowners, and people experiencing homelessness. In the December COVID relief package, Senator Murray helped to secure $507 million for Washington state and $25 billion nationally for states, Tribes, and territories to provide rental and utility assistance, and last year, Senator Murray helped secure over $100 million in Emergency Solutions Grants for Washington state through the CARES Act, which provided a critical lifeline for people and families experiencing or facing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Senator Murray has already announced more than $100 million in federal awards to combat housing insecurity and invest in public housing infrastructure across Washington state.