The COVID-19 pandemic has swept throughout the nation, shocking our healthcare system and paralyzing our economy. Mass closures of wide swaths of our communities’ economies, like restaurants, schools, and stores have left many without work. We’ve compiled a list of resources and information to help stay healthy and safe during this crisis. It is by no means an exhaustive resource guide, so for the most up-to-date information, please refer to the state’s official COVID-19 informational website at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/.
- As of March 18, Governor Jay Inslee has instated a statewide eviction moratorium on residential tenants for the next 30 days. This means that for the next month, renters cannot be evicted solely on the basis of non-payment of rent. In Seattle specifically, landlords are also not allowed to charge late fees or charges for late payment of rent due to this crisis.
- The Governor also urged the state’s utility companies to suspend disconnection charges for nonpayment, waive late fees for customers who are out of work, offer payment plans, and expand bill assistance programs for those who are economically impacted by the pandemic. Many, though not all of the state’s utility companies, have so far taken some or all actions as urged by the Governor.
- In Seattle, all three utility companies (Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light, and Puget Sound Energy) will keep utilities on during the outbreak. More information for Seattle-specific utility questions here.
- Effective March 21, King County Metro will suspend all fares for the foreseeable future. Riders are also asked to board via the back door. As of now, this doesn’t include Sound Transit and light rail.
- Families who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) should be advised that the Department of Social & Health Services has temporarily suspended some of the work requirement, sanction, and participation policies. Please visit the DSHS website for more information.
The Washington State health care exchange has opened a special enrollment period for those without insurance. Please visit the health plan finder link here to enroll.
Apple Health enrollment is year round, visit this link to check eligibility and enroll.
Washington State has instituted emergency rules for those who have lost their jobs or lost wages due to COVID-19.
To file for unemployment, please visit this website.
King County has compiled a list of unemployment/financial resources for people working in creative industries, a sector which has been particularly hard hit due to event closures.
Food & Nutrition
Food banks across the state are open and working hard to provide people with the food support they need. Visit Northwest Harvest’s food bank locator to find one near you.
The City of Seattle has gathered a list of food resources in the city as well, including food support for Seattle Public School students. View the list here.
Visit the Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS) website to see what kind of state programs or support you may be eligible for.
Resources for Immigrant Communities
Immigrants and undocumented people can be disproportionately affected by disasters or crises such as pandemics, because often they may work low-wage jobs without benefits, or may not be eligible for some state safety net programs. The City of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs has compiled an FAQ and list of resources specifically for immigrant & refugee communities.