The state Senate foolishly cut funding for a successful housing program that matches disabled adults with homeowners who want to rent out a room.
MARLON Fernandez owns a large, single-family home near the Bryn Mawr neighborhood in South Seattle where he and his family live. Through his experience as a veteran, immigrant from the Philippines, and a nurse at the VA hospital, he identifies with how difficult life can be for people from all walks of life.
Because of this, he started renting out the extra rooms to international students for additional income about a decade ago. When Mayor Ed Murray declared Seattle in a state of emergency due to homelessness, he felt that calling personally. That’s when Fernandez found the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program and decided to give it a try.
Currently, he rents to Ryan Lybarger, who became disabled at work as a tow-truck driver. With HEN’s rental assistance, Lybarger is able to recover from surgery in stable housing and make his doctor appointments using the bus pass HEN provides. He loves helping around the house and is looking forward to returning to work.
Because of this partnership, a man no longer is homeless and Fernandez earns income that helps pay his mortgage and support his family.
Every month, 1,000 landlords in King County receive state assistance to house their disabled tenants. The HEN program provides direct rent payments to landlords who verify that they are housing a disabled adult who has temporarily lost his income due to an injury, illness or medical condition. For the past five years, the program has received funding from the state to keep disabled adults in housing. About 3,500 people in King County were helped in the 2016 fiscal year. It is a successful homelessness-prevention program.
The proposed state Senate budget would…