Eviction Rental Assistance Program closes to referrals, new calls in Clark County

Clark County has expended its initial Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) funds, providing more than $3.4 million dollars in rental assistance to 1,042 households, for a total of 2,875 months of assistance. With a waitlist of more than 1,800 households still awaiting assistance, the program is closing to new referrals and calls. 

The success of the ERAP program in Clark County prompted the Washington Department of Commerce to award the county an additional $3.3 million dollars, which will be dedicated to provide assistance to the more than 1,800 households that have not received ERAP support to this point and are on the waitlist.

Rental assistance was provided through four organizations: Council For The Homeless, Share, Lifeline Connections and Impact Northwest.

Outreach and referral services for historically underserved communities was done by 10 organizations and advocacy groups that are within and specifically target and serve marginalized communities, which are often black, indigenous, and other people of color. The outreach and referral organizations include: Chris Bennett Enterprises Charities, Cascade AIDS Project, White Center Community Development Center working through COFA Alliance National Network Washington, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Odyssey World International Education Services in partnership with National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Vancouver chapter, Parents Empowered and Communities Enhanced (PEACE), The Noble Foundation, Washington Advocates of Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The close cooperation between the county, rental assistance providers, and the culturally specific organizations providing outreach and referral resulted in an impressive 74.1% of households receiving assistance having a woman as the head of household; and just over 54.2% of all households receiving assistance identified as black, indigenous, or other community of color. 

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.