News about COVID-19 changes often. We want to make sure you have the most up-to-date information so you can make the best choices for yourself and your family.
Here are your updates from Skagit County:
- As of 3:30 p.m. today Skagit County has 172 of laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 5 deaths and 37 recoveries. Daily updates are available at http://www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus. Case Counts are updated at 4:00 p.m.
- In the next week, the Washington State National Guard will be deployed in Sedro-Woolley to assist Helping Hands Food Bank with sorting, packaging and delivering food. Residents can expect to see the Guardsmen in uniform, working in a friendly and supportive capacity to assist the community. Community members can expect to see the Guardsman through the end of the month.
- Skagit County Health Connection has a blog post on housing support during COVID-19. You can read about resources available to you here: https://skagitcounty.blog/2020/04/03/worried-about-housing-for-you-or-others-during-covid-19/
- The latest episode of Conversations on COVID-19 can be viewed here. Learn about ways we can support our senior population during the stay home order.
- Remember: Staying home is the best way to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Only leave home for essential trips.
- Skagit County Health Officer Dr. Leibrand recommends that everyone wear face masks in public and while at work.
Tenant and Homeowner Resources Available
Stable housing is critical to staying home and staying healthy. If you’re facing an eviction notice or foreclosure on your home, there may be resources available to help.
Are you, a friend or family member facing an eviction notice? On March 18, Governor Inslee issued a moratorium to stop all residential rent-based evictions through April 24, 2020. If you, a friend, or family member have been served an eviction notice, you should reach out to the following groups:
- COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium Complaint form: The Washington State Attorney General’s Office created an online form for complaints about evictions in violation of the Governor’s moratorium on certain residential evictions during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Solid Ground is a non-profit dedicated to ensuring housing stability for tenants and homeowners. Solid Ground is available to answer questions via their Tenant Services Message Line at 206-694-6767. Leave a message and someone will return your call.
- The Housing Resource Center operated by Community Action of Skagit County can help those currently homeless or facing eviction find new housing opportunities. You can find out more information and about how to apply by calling 360-416-7585.
- Landlord/tenant disputes are inherently a legal issue. The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) can help connect you with legal resources to protect your rights. They provide legal assistance to qualifying individuals on non-criminal matters. You can reach NJP through the CLEAR hotline at 1-888-201-1014 weekdays between 9:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
- Tenants Union of Washington State is a non-profit dedicated to protecting the rights of Washingtonian renters. The Tenants Union gives neighborly advice on how to deal with your landlord, approach disputes and your options when facing eviction. They are not legal experts and cannot provide direct counsel. You can reach their hotline at 206-723-0500.
You can still face an eviction for illegal activity or for creating a nuisance.
Are you, a friend or a family member facing foreclosure on your home? If you have been impacted by COVID-19 and are no longer able to make your mortgage payments, there are some resources available to help:
- The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions is taking steps to assist distressed Washington homeowners. Homeowners in distress may call DFI at 1-877-746-4334 to talk with a staff member and get assistance on contacting their mortgage servicer and to explore their options.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers this explanation on mortgage forbearance and how to request it. Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to temporarily pay your mortgage at a lower payment, or temporarily pause paying your mortgage.
- CFPB also offers this helpful guide on how to ask your creditors, mortgage servicers or lenders for help if you are impacted by COVID-19. For CFPB’s full recommendations, visit: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/protect-yourself-financially-from-impact-of-coronavirus/
- The Washington State Foreclosure Prevention Resource Guide, assembled by the Attorney General’s office, is also a great resource for homeowners in distress. The guide can be viewed in full at: https://www.everyoneiswelcome.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ForeclosurePreventionGuide_2020-0219.pdf
The Skagit Volunteer Lawyer Program, 1-888-201-1014 is now taking referrals. All legal services are currently limited to phone consultations. Any additional services will be at the discretion of the individual attorneys. For assistance, please call the Northwest Justice Project’s CLEAR (Coordinated Legal Education, Advice and Referral) toll-free at 1-888-201-1014. Because of limited staffing CLEAR staff can only answer phones between 9:15 am and 12:15 pm, Monday through Friday. Start calling right at 9:15 a.m.! You might have to try several times over a couple of days before you get through to CLEAR staff. The Skagit Volunteer Program is a partnership with the Skagit Bar Association.
We know COVID-19 has created tremendous financial pressures for many. Government and nonprofit agencies have created these resources to help mitigate the negative effects of this crisis on your pocketbook. Our hope is that these resources assist you in staying home and staying safe during this difficult time.