Pierce County advocates call for extension of eviction moratorium


The city of Seattle has extended its moratorium on evictions. Advocates are calling on Pierce County to do the same.

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. – Renters in Pierce County have just over a week before the moratorium on evictions ends, which would allow landlords to evict tenants who are late in paying their rent and have failed not asked for help.

It’s a frightening situation for thousands of households in the county, where the average debt is around $ 4,200.

More Pierce County residents owe their homeowners money than anywhere else in the state. According to the US Census Bureau, about 23,000 Pierce County households owe a total of $ 93 million in late rent payments.

Seattle has extended its city-wide moratorium to allow more time to get aid funds to those in need. Would extending the moratorium be the best way to settle debt in Pierce County?

Homeless advocates like Maureen Howard, senior policy analyst for the Tacoma Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness, say it’s the right thing to do because people continue to suffer.

“We have absolutely no capacity in our homeless system to have one more person experiencing homelessness. We want to keep everyone housed as long as they’re safe, and we can do that, we just need more time. “

Sean Martin, CEO of the Tacoma Pierce County Association of Realtors, doesn’t think the situation in Pierce County requires an extension like in King County.

“Right now in Pierce County we have seen that the distribution of aid dollars has gone pretty well,” said Martin. “We’re doing pretty well, I think about 70% of the aid dollars have been given out at this point. It’s a totally different situation in King County, where they are a little behind.

After a year and a half of waiting for debt payments, Martin says many small owners are pulling out of their properties and extending the moratorium would not help.

“The market is ready to sell,” Martin said. “There’s not a lot of incentive from a small owner to step into the game at this point. If you’re not going to collect that rent, or if the tenant doesn’t get their application, they’re likely just going to leave the market.

Meanwhile, homeless advocacy groups say the county needs to show up, and so does the governor, because this is a statewide emergency.

“We can only deal with one human crisis at a time, and we have a way to address the risk of homelessness by extending the moratorium on evictions,” Howard said. “It shouldn’t be city by city or county by county, the governor should just do it.”

Tenants who need help can always apply. Those in need can complete an application on the Pierce County Social Services website here.


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