Low income and working poor families in Washington State may be able to qualify for emergency assistance. There are some resources in the state that can assist with paying bills such as utility, water, and heating. Programs may also help people pay for other expenses such as rent and housing. Income criteria are in place and need to be met by applicants.
The additional cash benefit from the emergency assistance programs and social services, which is formally known as Additional Requirements for Emergent Needs (AREN), is only offered to persons who are qualified for State Family Assistance (SFA), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), or the state of Washington Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) programs.
If you are faced with an unexpected crisis and you need additional one-time financial assistance to pay for expenses such as utilities, rent, or to maintain your housing, then provided you meet other criteria you may be able to qualify for aid. A payment from AREN can be used to supplement other public assistance that you may get as well.
The program is focused on paying for emergency utility or housing needs that residents may be facing. Funds can be used to:
Some of the criteria that need to be met in order to receive assistance from Additional Requirements for Emergent Needs include:
One of the twists of the emergency financial assistance provided in Washington is that the applicant needs to have had to use their own money to pay for other emergency or necessary expenses, such as medical bills, dental care, child care, or housing expenses. So basically this means that applicants need to have some reason that they don’t have funds, and they can’t have previously carelessly spent their income.
Since the program is intended to provide short term financial assistance, the applicant must be able to get back on track with paying expenses in the future. The individual needs to demonstrate how they plan on paying their bills and rent on their own. The applicant needs to be on the path to stability.
So if the program provides someone with short term rent help, the person needs to show how they will get back on track as any financial aid is not intended to be long term or a charity type service. This is an important part of the additional requirements for emergent needs (AREN) program.
To apply to this or learn about other social services or emergency programs, call Washington State Department of Social and Health Services at 1-800-737-0617.
Another resource that may be able to help is WorkFirst support services. The state assistance program may be used to help people relocate to new, safe, and affordable housing units, or to help people both find or keep a job. For example, some of the non housing expenses that are not covered under the AREN program that is referenced above may be paid under WorkFirst support services. Expenses like car repairs, baby supplies (diapers), or clothing may be paid for in their entirety.
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