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Opinion >  Letters

No help from the county

Shame on Spokane County Board of Commissioners Al French, Mary Kuney and Josh Kearns for ignoring the most glaring unmet need during the COVID-19 public health crisis: rental assistance. A simple Google search on rental assistance will show the numerous local, state and national stories on evictions and housing insecurity renters face while they have been laid off work, had work hours drastically reduced or are sick and dying.

Renters hold the jobs that are either at the highest risk of contracting the deadly virus or are laid off work because they are less likely to hold jobs where they can work from home. Tenants are disproportionately BIPOC who also disproportionately test positive for COVID-19. Landlords and tenants who are normally adversaries joined forces to worked together to get rental assistance provided so people can stay home and keep everyone safe. But County Commissioners clearly do not care about the thousands of county renters who will lose their homes very soon.

The only thing that is stopping thousands of families and individuals from becoming homeless and living in the streets is the moratorium on evictions that includes late fees, rent increases and notices to vacate and terminate because those actions also cause displacement. Public health studies show that evictions in states without protections (the CDC moratorium only prohibits evictions for failure to pay rent) spread the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Nobody should be forced to choose between paying rent or dying.

Terri Anderson


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