Some renters will be receiving some much-needed economic relief in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a rent assistance program that will prevent evictions by paying up to three months of past due, current, and future rent to landlords for eligible participants, the Washington State Department of Commerce announced.

The Washington State Department of Commerce is distributing approximately $100 million in state Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding through its existing network of homeless services grantees and organizations serving homeless youth to operate the new rent assistance program launched Aug. 1.

“Funds addressing Washington’s homelessness crisis were limited before the pandemic, and the need is deepening as this pandemic continues to push more people toward the brink while we work to carefully reopen our economy,” Commerce Director Lisa Brown said in a statement. “We are targeting limited resources as quickly and equitably as possible, to those with the greatest needs.”

The rent assistance program is designed to address some of the need resulting from the pandemic and hopes to reduce some of the stress both renters and landlords are facing now and in the future. Rent assistance is limited to three months and the program ends Dec. 31.

Commerce provided guidance and formula-based grant amounts to its Consolidated Homeless Grant program lead grantees and organizations serving the Office of Homeless Youth in every county of the state. These organizations will use grant funds to provide up to three months of rent assistance that will be paid to landlords on an eligible client’s behalf.