As Governor Inslee recently declared the end of the COVID-19 related state of emergency on October 31st, this means the end of certain program waivers for clients who have previously qualified for public programs. One program that is affected is Housing and Essential Needs (HEN).
This update will share information on HEN, how the end of the waiver may affect your clients, and recommendations for client advocacy.
What is the end of the HEN Waiver?
Since March 2020, clients already receiving HEN rental assistance have remained eligible, their typical eligibility re-evaluation being ‘waived’. This, along with a shortage of funds available, has made it so the HEN program is closed to new applicants. The HEN program at Catholic Community Services started checking HEN eligibility with DSHS in September.
If clients are found to be no longer enrolled in HEN benefits through DSHS they will receive notification letter as early as the week of October 10th. This letter is a termination of HEN benefits and below is an example of this letter. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE CLIENT IS NOT ELIGIBLE!!
This is an example of the notification letter.
How to help clients remain housed
Current HEN clients who lose eligibility need to call DSHS to dispute. If your client receives a HEN termination notice they will need to call, go online, or go into a DSHS office to reapply for benefits.
For those who have been receiving HEN benefits since 2020, regardless of eligibility status, rent assistance will continue until January 28th, 2023. To continue to receive HEN benefits past January 2023 clients will need to regain eligibility through DSHS before January 28th.
If your client has transitioned to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or another benefit through the Social Security Administration (SSA) they may still be eligible for rental assistance and need to contact CCS at (206) 328-5755 or HENKC@ccsww.org.
Do you need help navigating your client’s benefits? If your client is denied benefits or unable to get back on benefits through DSHS you can contact the Solid Ground Ask a Lawyer program at email@example.com.