OLYMPIA, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday announced an extension to a statewide eviction moratorium and $15 million in new grants to help support small businesses. The governor's order, which forbids evictions over unpaid rent, was set to expire on Oct. 15. Inslee intends to sign the extended moratorium in the coming days, and it will remain in place through Dec. 31.
"We certainly don't need more housing insecurity in the moment of uncertainty during this pandemic," Inslee said.
Under the existing moratorium, those who can pay rent are still required to do so. In cases where a tenant cannot afford rent, landlords are required to offer a re-payment plan based on the renter's financial situation.
"As part of this, we've required people to be reasonable in the negotiations of this thing," Inslee said. "There is an incentive for landlords to keep their leasees in their residence, even after the moratorium is lifted. We hope that will be the case."
When asked if monetary assistance could become available, both for renters and property owners, Inslee said it was possible if more federal funds become available.
"Our ability to do so is somewhat dependent on if Congress acts," Inslee said. "They have not acted yet; it's very disappointing. I was stunned when the President announced he was cutting off negotiations the other day."
New federal grant supports small business efforts
A $15 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration will help fund statewide initiatives aimed at strengthening small businesses, helping them reopen safely and ensuring their long-term sustainability.
That money will be used to fund several projects overseen by the state Department of Commerce. Among the latest is a partnership with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation to develop a tool that identifies potential outbreaks early and helps businesses act quickly to limit spread and stay open safely.
"The only way we can truly help businesses get back on their feet and regain momentum in our economy is by bringing an extraordinary new level of collaboration with our business and philanthropic partners," said Lisa Brown, Commerce Director. "We have the talent, we have the expertise, we have the funding. These projects are all about connecting those pieces so we can reopen safely today and keep building the equitable, sustainable and innovative economy of the future."