Are you a renter who wants to make sure other renters don't get screwed over? Did you fall behind on rent during the pandemic and receive rental assistance, or know of someone who did? Did you try to get rental assistance but gave up for some reason? How'd it go? How do you think it should have gone?
If those questions raised your blood pressure a little, then you should strongly consider applying for King County's Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program Advisory Committee. (Find the application form here.)
Nine people will end up serving on the committee, which will meet biweekly to learn how the County pushes money out the door and provide input on that process. They're looking for King County renters, especially those who have faced eviction before or who have had experience trying to navigate the government's rental assistance system.
Essentially, your role would be to tell the King County Council how you think the government should run to help people like you. If they disregard your input, then you can tell people like me and we can yell at them together for not listening. Important note, you may or may not get paid for your time: "The County is currently exploring the possibility of providing stipends for this work, but this has not yet been finalized."
When the pandemic hit and people started falling behind on rent, the county worked quickly to stand up a rental assistance program to keep tenants housed and to make sure landlords stayed right with the bank. They called the program the Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program, and it funnels federal money to landlords, tenants, and nonprofits who work closely with communities that the government often fails to serve.
King County still needs to allocate nearly $150 million in federal rental assistance to keep people housed, plus maybe some amount of money from the state, and they need you to make sure they're not fucking it up. Are they getting the money out quick enough? Is the money going to the people who need it most? Are they holding accountable the nonprofits they contract with? If not, then you'll get to raise hell and recommend fixes.
The application process for the committee closes at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, so get on it if you can.