Rental Assistance

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Program Information

Pierce County Human Services and the City of Tacoma have received funding for rental and utility assistance for tenants impacted by COVID-19 and are behind on rent.

Pierce County has an operational rental assistance program. We are currently receiving applications and expending funds for rental assistance. Our fund sources are the is US Department of the Treasury and WA State Dept. of Commerce. The purpose of the Rental Assistance program is to prevent eviction for Pierce County residents (including those living in the City of Tacoma) impacted by COVID-19 who are behind on rent. Applicants must qualify as low-income at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI), but priority will be given to those under 50% AMI. Below is a snapshot of 80% AMI income limits per household: 

blue 80 AMI chart april 2021

Renters who don't qualify for rental or utility assistance will be referred to the Housing Justice Project for free eviction resolution services. Additional services and resources are available here. Please read the FAQs below before applying. This project is being supported in part by federal award number ERA0377, awarded to Pierce County by the U.S. Dept. of Treasury. Pierce County’s rent assistance program is currently operational per Proclamation 21-09.

If you are not a Pierce County resident, click here to find out where you can apply for rental assistance.

Need rental or utility assistance?

Already applied and need assistance?

View our interactive dashboard, updated weekly, that showcases rental assistance program data.

In accordance with federal and state mandates, we are prioritizing households that are:
  • Under 50% Area Median Income (see chart above)
  • Unemployed for at least the last 90 days
  • Working with the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC)
    • cases are referred as requested by the DRC

Pierce County Rental Assistance performs an eligibility check twice a month, and eligible applications are added to the queue to be served. This first screening looks for income requirements, if you’re a renter in Pierce County, and how you’ve been impacted by Covid-19. During this process, applications are prioritized in Priority 1 (those listed above) and Priority 2 (all other applications submitted). Applications are referred to our non-profit providers based on their case manager capacity. Priority 1 applications are referred before Priority 2 applications. Example: Priority 1 applications from March and April are the first to be referred, followed by Priority 2 applications from March and April. Then, Priority 1 applications from May and June are referred, followed by Priority 2 from May and June.


Currently, the majority of applications being submitted are Priority 1. It takes an average of 88 days from application submittal to rental/utility payment. However, some households may have to wait longer than anticipated. We understand this is a stressful time and appreciate your patience while we process applications as quickly as possible.

This program is only for renters. 

Homeowners are not eligible to apply for this program, but they are encouraged to apply for utility assistance through our Energy Assistance Program.

Homeowners in the City of Tacoma can apply for mortgage assistance here. For others behind on their mortgage and in need of assistance, contact the WA State Foreclosure Hotline at 1-877-894-4663.

Flexible Options

Renters living in the following situations may be eligible for assistance:
  • Living in a hotel/motel (for at least 14 days and as a long-term housing option)
  • Renting from a family member or friend
  • Renting a room in a home
  • Using a housing choice/Section 8 voucher
  • Renting a home or apartment
Utility and Bill Pay

Renters past due on payments can apply for financial support for the following bills:
  • Electric
  • Water/Sewer
  • Gas
  • Garbage pickup
  • Fuel Oil
  • Internet
After You Apply

Log into the online application any time to check the status of your eligibility. You will need your username and password to log in or make edits to your application. Questions about your status? Email the rental assistance team at [email protected].

Please only call 2-1-1 to apply if you do NOT have internet access.

If you are having technical issues or have questions about your application, email [email protected]

Items Tenants Will Need to Apply

  • Household information, including birthdays, for all household members
  • Income verification for all household members for each source of income (Note: Stimulus checks and additional unemployment benefits are NOT counted as income for this program)
    • 2020 tax return or household W-2
    • Unemployment statements
    • Alimony, child support, disability, retirement or VA benefits
    • Current or past pay stubs
  • COVID impact documentation
    • Proof of employment
    • Loss of job or wages
  • Landlord name, email and phone number
  • Copy of lease or rental agreement
  • Landlord statement with past due balance
  • Past utility bills (if you're apply for utility assistance)

Items Landlords Will Need to Apply

  • W-9
  • Lease or rental agreement (if tenants is unable to provide one)
  • Past due statement or ledger
Landlord Limited Relief Program

Landlords with 4 or fewer units with unresponsive tenants, or tenants deemed ineligible by other programs, can apply for the Washington State Landlord Limited Relief Program. This is a Washington State Department of Commerce program.
Attention Applicants:

Pierce County Human Services may share personally identifying information about each household with community partners as required to receive services or reporting. Community partners include, but are not limited to, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Washington State Department of Commerce, City of Tacoma, City of Lakewood, Nonprofit providers, Center for Dialogue and Resolution, Tacomaprobono, Superior Court, and employment services.  
How-To Videos
Eviction Updates

New proclamation creates a 'bridge' between the eviction moratorium and the new housing stability measures passed by the legislature.

Tenants will not be homeless on July 1.  Pierce County already has programs in place to support tenants and landlords - including the rental/utility assistance program and eviction resolution program.

Some important things to note:

  • Stay in your unit and don't move out. Support is available for landlords and tenants if renters are still living in the unit.
  • If you have received an eviction notice, immediately contact the Housing Justice Project team at 253-572-5134 ext. 102, by email at [email protected] or via their online intake form.
  • As of July 1, if you are low-income and facing eviction, you will be eligible for free attorney representation in your eviction case by the Housing Justice Project.
  • You still must pay rent eventually. If you can afford your rent now, pay it. If you can't afford it, scroll above to apply for rental assistance.
  • New laws protect tenants from becoming homeless by slowing down the eviction process.
  • Landlords and tenants in need of more information should contact the Center for Dispute Resolution at 253-572-3657 or by email at [email protected]..

picture of neighborhood
About the Utility Disconnect Prohibition

On July 2, 2021, the Governor issued an extension of the utility moratorium proclamation, which will now expire on September 30, 2021. This will be the final extension of the proclamation and the extension will align with the end date of the tenancy preservation bridge (21-09) to give Washingtonians struggling with housing payments time to prepare and seek assistance before both proclamations expire.

Utilities are encouraged to:

  • Continue to make good faith efforts to reach customers with past-due accounts, including partnering with community organizations, and provide information about their various assistance options.
  • Help customers identify utility, local, state and federal financial assistance programs they may be eligible for.
  • Offer extended payment plans of 12 months or longer.
  • Waive disconnection, reconnection, site visit and late fees accrued during the disconnection moratorium, if customers sign up for payment assistance.
  • Refrain from reporting overdue accounts to credit bureaus or placing liens on customers with overdue accounts for at least 180 days.

In addition to outreach from utilities, customers should contact their utility to learn about programs and financial resources that can help with unpaid utility bills and prevent disconnections. Residents with past-due energy and water balances are encouraged to call their utility providers as soon as possible to set up a payment or assistant plan. Customers can look up their utility information here or call 2-1-1. 

As a reminder, the proclamation has stated that all energy, telecommunications and water providers are prohibited from the following:

  • Disconnecting any residential customers from energy, telecommunications, or water service due to nonpayment on an active account, except at the request of the customer.
  • Refusing to reconnect any residential customer who has been disconnected due to nonpayment.
  • Charging fees for late payment or reconnection of energy, telecommunications, or water service.
  • Disconnecting service to any residential customer who has contacted the utility to request assistance from the utility’s COVID-19 Customer Support Program.
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Additional Resources


    Rental Assistance Team