Rental assistance applications will be available later this week

More than a month after hundreds of thousands of dollars in Grays Harbor County rental assistance for those facing potential eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic was announced, Grays Harbor Public Health announced Monday that applications will be available in the next few days.

“We are glad to say that applications will open later this week,” said Cassie Lentz of the county’s Public Health and Social Services department.

Limited resources will not cover the full need in the county, said Lentz. The program’s goals are to target those who are most at risk of becoming homeless should they face eviction, and to focus on those people who have not equal access to rent assistance in the past.

“We want to make sure the community knows these funds are intended to prevent evictions during the current economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, by paying up to three months of past due, current, or future rental costs,” said Lentz. “All payments will be made directly to landlords.”

The county was approved in early August for $825,085 in federal CARES Act money specifically for rental assistance. After allowable administrative and operations fees for county and community partners is subtracted, that leaves about $713,835 for rental assistance.

”Our partnership with Coastal Community Action Program (CCAP) will handle the first wave of applications for rental assistance through their website at http://coastalcap.org,” said Lentz. “Applications can also be handled by phone, and Spanish language assistance is available.” CCAP’s main number is 360-533-5100.

If you are a Grays Harbor County resident, are behind on your rent since March 1, 2020, and your household income is at or below 50% of the Area Median Income over the past 60 days, you could qualify for assistance, said Lentz.

Applicants can call or go to CCAP’s website to fill out the preliminary application questions. Once completed, applicants will be given a date and time when they will receive a callback from program staff. The wait for this callback could be up to two or three weeks while applications are processed, said Lentz.

“During your callback appointment, you will be asked a few additional questions and your eligibility for funding will be assessed,” said Lentz. “If you are deemed eligible, you will be notified and program staff will reach out to your landlord, or to the friend or family member you pay rent to. They will be asked to fill out and sign a Payment Agreement Form and have a current W9 on file. All payments will be made directly to landlords.”

Program staff will begin taking calls and applications via their website starting this week and all funds must be distributed by Dec. 31.