Joe Burris

More Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Resources Needed to Address Increase in Homelessness

(SEATTLE) — United Way of King County President and CEO Gordon McHenry, Jr., is calling on local private, public, and philanthropic sectors to allocate more resources to eviction protection and rental assistance in the wake of the recent 2024 federal Point-In-Time Count, which reports more than 16,000 experiencing homelessness in any given night—the largest number on record.

“This Point-in-Time Count shows why it’s so critical that people understand the impact of housing instability and the potency of prevention strategies,” said McHenry. “We need to ensure that people never go through the physical, emotional, and economic cost of becoming homelessness. Instead, we need to help people stay where they are.”

McHenry also stressed the need for lawmakers to return to allocating the types of housing support funding distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May 2022, King County officials placed United Way in charge of the county’s federally supported emergency rental assistance program. In partnership with local governments and other nonprofit organizations, United Way processed more than $200 million in federal funding for rental assistance and eviction protection. During one period, United Way distributed nearly $1 million a week in rental assistance.

Now that much of that federal funding has been discontinued, the waiting list for people needing rental assistance has grown from a few hundred to more than 11,000—with as many as 1,600 applicants added each month.

“Even as folks reflect upon the Point-in-Time Count and the continuing challenge of homelessness,” McHenry added, “United Way stresses that people look at the entire spectrum of homelessness and understand the importance of prevention as a priority in addressing the continuing crisis of housing instability.”