TPCAHC is proud to add its name alongside a host of other Pierce County organizations calling for the extension of the current WA state eviction moratorium that is set to expire December 31, 2020.
TPCAHC has been one of the many organizations participating in discussions on how to stave off the mass evictions that are expected to happen once the moratorium ends. Discussions have been led by the Metropolitan Development Council and have culminated in a variety of cross-sector leaders offering their support and suggestions for ways to combat evictions and homelessness. Our hope is that this letter will serve as our community's voice of concern as nearly 33 percent of our community members are likely to be evicted or foreclose on their homes.
An extension of the moratorium, coupled with rent and mortgage relief, will allow thousands of households to remain housed during the current pandemic and beyond.
For more information on the current moratorium, guidance on negotiations with landlords, and rent/mortgage repayment, please review this guide. The guide is authored by the following nonprofits: Tacoma Pro Bono/Housing Justice Project, Fair Housing Center of WA, and the Center for Dispute Resolution.
December 11, 2020
Honorable Governor Jay Inslee,
As the deadline for the current eviction moratorium in Washington state approaches, organizations, advocates, local governments, and community members in Tacoma and Pierce County are gathering to devise the best way to limit the impact of the tsunami of evictions that is likely to begin on January 1, 2021.
As representatives in our community, including housing providers, tenants, tenant advocates, nonprofit organizations, and other community advocates, we have gathered and brainstormed ways to address what is needed today to help keep people housed. We appreciate the spirit and intent of the moratorium, however, there are several ongoing concerns we would like addressed:
- Clear guidance for when property managers can and should reach out to tenants to discuss payment plans moving forward.
This guidance is needed to encourage an open conversation between tenants and housing providers. Right now, the main mechanism for conversation is triggered by the pay-or-vacate notices, and such a mechanism now only serves to add to the stress and to shut down channels of conversation.
- Information on how and when financial supports will be provided for both tenants and housing providers.
We need to support tenants staying in their homes, as well as meet the needs of housing providers who are liable for their own obligations.
Prior to COVD-19, communities across our state were already experiencing a housing crisis. We seek to offset that crisis and to take steps that will ensure that evictions will not contribute to a further decline in the economy. We are also compelled to elevate the disparate impacts of homelessness and COVID-19 on communities of color—the individual impacts of which are severe enough. Furthermore, the intersectionality has shown to cause health and safety crises throughout our communities.
A recent study by public health researchers at institutions including Johns Hopkins and UCLA looked at the impacts of lifting state-mandated eviction moratoriums and whether there were correlations with COVID-19 and mortality. The study concluded that “evictions result in crowding, as families consolidate homes to make ends meet, or homelessness, forcing families to live in shelters or other congregate settings. This increases the chances of contracting COVID. Further, the impact of COVID on this population may be more severe because "poor health and costs associated with healthcare may drive eviction risk."
The study recommends that "looking to 2021, policymakers should consider extending federal, state and local moratoriums alongside rent relief, and other legal and supportive protections to prevent future evictions, COVID-19 transmission, and associated harms."
We urge you to extend the current eviction moratorium into 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic is currently getting worse in our state, and federal income supports for those who have lost their jobs due to the virus have evaporated. Without support, tens of thousands of households are facing eviction.
We in Tacoma and Pierce County look forward to your guidance on the concerns above, and we await news that you have decided to extend the eviction moratorium while communities across our state try to avoid exacerbating the housing crisis. We are also sincere in our commitment to work alongside you to find solutions that address all the concerns in this unprecedented situation.