COVID-Related Eviction Prevention Available in Thurston County


Those falling behind on paying rent because of COVID-19-related shutdowns and subsequent job loss have an opportunity to work with landlords and the state to resolve matters of back rent and stop evictions.

The state eviction moratorium is set to end Sept. 30, so those interested in assistance have the opportunity to take advantage of help now, thanks to new state funding approved in July through the Emergency Rent Assistance Program (E-RAP) and related initiatives.

“If the renter is unable to pay their back rent and they qualify as low income and were impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns, layoffs or unemployed (status), they can apply to the CAC now and their rent will be paid as long as funds are available,” said Deb Larson, director of local nonprofit Love Abounds Here. “People will be able to get cash to their landlord from the CAC E-RAP funds for current and future months. This will keep the renters in their homes and help landlords to stay solvent.”

According to a Love Abounds Here news release, E-RAP is currently scheduling appointments now for three weeks in advance. Those interested should save any confirmation of their appointment they receive to show their landlord to get the process started.

This will assist folks as they enter the state’s Eviction Resolution Program (ERP) with their landlord through the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County (DRC).

“This Eviction Resolution Program can help you and your landlord to develop a reasonable plan to pay rent going forward and stay in current housing,” the release states.

Folks who receive an eviction letter from their landlord can contact the DRC to get help from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Monday through Friday, regardless of participation in E-RAP. 

“Renters may begin to get eviction notices in early August if they can't afford to pay rent on Aug. 1,” Larson said. “My understanding of the new eviction process is that when they receive a letter from their landlord, the renter can file with the Dispute Resolution Center and both parties will work with a mediator to try to find a solution that works for everyone.”

Larson said this DRC process is completed before the landlord can evict renters who are behind in their rent due to COVID-19-related job loss or layoffs.

Chad Stead, from the DRC, said in an email the eviction resolution process could also start with the landlord serving a formal notice to the tenant asking them to participate in resolving the unpaid rent debt through the DRC’s services.

“The landlord must also submit the notice to the DRC at the same time and we make at least three attempts to contact the tenant during the 14-day period for response,” Stead wrote in the email. “Response by phone is best since it allows us to have a detailed conversation, but we can accommodate tenants with disabilities or limited phone access as well.”

Tenants must contact the DRC during the 14-day notice period to participate, Stead said. According to the DRC, landlords are not allowed to file for eviction without a certificate from the DRC that verifies a submittal of a formal notice to the tenant and landlord participation in the early resolution process.

“Though eviction resolution occurs prior to filing a summons and complaint with the court, this is still a court-mandated formal process necessary for filing,” Stead wrote. “Currently all engagement with the Eviction Resolution Program is considered voluntary. The governor’s recent bridge proclamation allows superior courts, DRCs and rental assistance agencies to attest to program readiness before compliance with ERP becomes mandatory.”

“This is very important to prevent evictions and homelessness,” Larson said. “It's also an equity matter because renters are often from historically underserved BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and people of color).”

DRC program policies and procedures will be published on its website at

Folks can also contact the Northwest Justice Project at 206-707-0992 or Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services at 360-515-5381.

Contact Community Action Council (CAC) to apply for back rent and current rent payments at

Call 360-956-1155 for the assistance of the DRC.