WENATCHEE — Renters in Chelan and Douglas counties may qualify for a new assistance program for those facing eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council began accepting applications for the program this week. It runs through Dec. 31.

The two counties expect to receive $1.2 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding for the program. The Wenatchee City Council on July 23 approved entering into an agreement with the state Department of Commerce, which will administer the funding.

Wenatchee applied for the funding on behalf of the two counties.

“Commerce is very much about targeting this rent assistance toward those households that are most likely to become homeless if they are evicted,” Housing Programs Coordinator Oliver Crain told the council July 23.

Recipients must make 50% or less of the area median income and be at least one month behind on rent.

In addition, they must meet one of these criteria: having a pending eviction, having been homeless in the last five years, spending over 50% of their income on rent, being at risk of a severe illness, having a disability, or being in a group that has historically faced inequities in rent assistance or been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These include ethnic and racial minorities, immigrants and refugees, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The program pays up to three months of past due, current or future rent to landlords.

“It reimburses landlords up to a specific amount of 80% of the owed rent, or it’ll compensate landlords for the full amount that’s due at the fair market rent, which is usually lower than the market rent,” Crain told the council.

Community Action Council Executive Director Alan Walker said he estimates 3,000 people may be in need of assistance. The organization should be able to help 10%, he said, assuming they all require three months of support.

Tenants must request assistance through the Community Action Council at 662-6156. Spanish-speaking staff are available.

For more information, visit cdcac.org.

Bridget Mire: 665-1179

mire@wenatcheeworld.com or

on Twitter @bridget_mire