Editor’s note: This is the fifth part of a month-long series that focuses on homelessness on the Eastside.
Each year, thousands of low-income individuals go to the Housing Justice Project for help fighting apartment evictions. Most are facing homelessness if they lose their current housing, according to attorneys.
The justice project, staffed by volunteers and lawyers from the King County Bar Association, assists people or families living on double the federal poverty level threshold — roughly $22,000 to $28,000 annually for a household of one to four people.
Approximately 70 percent of the roughly 23,000 people who contacted the regional organization All Home last year for assistance were not mentally ill or drug abusers, according to director Mark Putnam. They had simply fallen on hard times and couldn’t pull themselves up.
A bad credit score, an eviction history or a criminal record can make finding an affordable apartment extremely difficult, according to lawyers and homeless nonprofit leaders. Even if they can find a landlord who will select them from a pool of potential tenants, safety deposits, rent and other upfront costs run in the thousands of dollars.