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South King County Multi-Service Center financial assistance programs.

A key goal of the South King County Multi-Service Center in on helping clients achieve housing stability. This is met by the non-profit providing emergency rental assistance or they will place clients into low income housing. Other resources from the agency include food, information on government benefits, and clothing.

If the staff from MSC can’t meet your needs, then case managers may offer referrals to other organizations. Covering much of King and parts of Pierce County, the South King County Multi-Service Center provides assistance in the following regions. Auburn, Black Diamond, Burien, Cities of Algona, Covington, Des Moines, Federal Way, Issaquah, Enumclaw, Kent, Maple Valley, Normandy Park, Pacific, Renton, SeaTac, Newcastle, Seattle, Tukwila, Vashon. They also support the entire Unincorporated areas of South King County and parts of Pierce County.

Short term, emergency assistance

The agency provides very limited, emergency short-term assistance for residents of Kent, Renton, SeaTac, and Tukwila Washington. It is only for those who are experiencing unforeseen crisis situations that was not caused by them.

This South King County Multi-Service Center program furnishes free motel vouchers for those displaced by severe weather. There may also be bus tokens; one time rent assistance; and help with paying bills for natural gas, electricity, water and sewer service. In some cases, there may be grants for paying a security deposit on a new, low income apartment in king County.

To receive any type emergency financial assistance, applicants to MSC must be able to verify the specific crisis that has prevented them from meeting your housing needs on your own. Importantly, in order to get a motel voucher, clients need to be able to show that within the next month they will be able to pay the rent on their own or eliminate the need altogether.

A Family Shelter provides short-term housing, overnight stay and supportive case management services. The resource has the goal of setting and reaching obtaining stable housing for very low income and working poor in cities such as Newcastle, Kent and Seattle.





The emergency housing is offered on a month-to-month basis, according to family needs and willingness to participate in case management according to program guidelines. This program maintains houses or apartment in a neighborhood such as Kent.

Family, Temporary Housing Program offers multiple years of affordable housing for qualifying individuals and families. During their stay in the short term units, program participants also receive case management services with the aim learning to manage or, if possible, eliminate any existing barriers to self-sufficiency. It will address issues such as drug and/or alcohol addiction and treatment; mental health issues; physical disabilities; and employment. There is also education, free legal aid, and/or financial issues.

Women's Clean and Sober Transitional Housing from MSC serves homeless women who are in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction. It is targeted at those who cannot obtain rental housing at market rates. The program provides lodging for several women in an historic building in downtown Kent. There will be dormitory-style accommodations that include individual bedrooms and common kitchen, bath, and living areas.

The agency will offer a fully supportive, communal living environment to guests. The non-profit will also include case management services to help residents reach the goal of successfully graduating from the program. The program success rate is very high, with many being placed into permanent housing.

Rent Assistance Program helps eligible residents of Renton, Kent, SeaTac area, or Tukwila avoid eviction. There may be legal aid as well as financial assistance, such as a cash grant, toward making back rent payments. Some clients may be issued a loan if and when funds are limited.

There are in fact dozens of resources available across the region as well as nation. HUD can provide support, charities, and various non-profits partner with Multi-Service Center. In general, the earlier someone applies the more success they may find. Locate a variety of rent assistance programs for struggling tenants.

Residents of South King and Pierce Counties who are able to make rent payments at an affordable market rate may also want to explore the MSC Affordable Permanent Housing Program. There are several apartment complexes in the region, and they include

  • One and Two-Bedroom Units in Villa Capri, Federal Way, 253-941-3157
  • Maple Lane Estates, Kent, 253-218-0334
  • Mansard Estates, Auburn, dial 253-218-0334
  • White River Apartments, Auburn. These are two bedroom apartments. Call 253-218-0334
  • Fern Hill Terrace, Tacoma, Washington. Dial 253-475-0482
  • Three-Bedroom Units is located at Victoria Place II, Des Moines, call 253-218-0334
  • One, Two, Three, and Four-Bedroom Units is a center at Hawthorne Lane, Graham, call
  • Two, Three, and Four-Bedroom Units - Kenyon Place, Buckley, call 360-829-0487

For those lower income or struggling people experiencing difficulty in meeting rising costs for home heating and lighting bills, then MSC’s Energy Assistance Program can help. It works in effect by making direct payments to gas, electric, propane, wood, and oil service providers on your behalf.




A formal application process is in place. Eligibility and level of financial assistance issued depends on total home energy usage, type of housing, household income and size. The agency will also partner with Lakehaven Water District to assist eligible households with paying water bills.

Groceries from the Federal Way Food Bank provides once-per-week supplemental and emergency food to individuals and families residing in the Federal Way School District. It is for the zip codes of 98003, 98023, and parts of 98001, 98032, 98422 Zip Codes. Ninety percent of the food passed out is donated by individuals and the Grocery Rescue Program.

As donations allow, the Grocery Rescue provides produce, frozen meat, and other foods for weekly pick-up by MSC volunteers. All staff of the center are trained in proper food handling techniques to prevent thawing and spoilage.

South King County Multi-Service Center Clothing Bank accepts donations of new or gently-used clothing, winter coats and shoes, which are then passed on to those in need. Clothing and shoes are available in all styles, including professional, casual, dressy, and everything in between.

The items offered are in sizes ranging from infant through adult. Winter items such as hats, gloves, mittens, and warm coats in all sizes are also available too. MSC will also carry household items such as towels, blankets and sheets, including for the homeless.

Multi-Service Center job placement and educational programs

Employment is critical to reaching the goal of self-sufficiency and long term family stability. To help in this capacity, MSC provides job-readiness services to adults and youths at all stages of their career. They offer educational programming in subjects like career exploration, job search basics, communication, job skills development, and workplace ethics.

For qualified clients, the center also provide internship and on-the-job training opportunities with King County employers. They also coordinate educational support. All clients are paired with case managers, who help with setting and achieving employment-related goals.

As another step in the process toward helping the homeless achieve and keep stable employment, the THRIVE development program provides training, guidance from case management, and paid internships. The goal is to help people become self-sufficient and allow people to provide stability for themselves and their families.

Adult Basic Education tutors are trained to understand such challenges and to offer a supportive and encouraging environment. It is for adults that are not able to read, as that presents a unique set of challenges and barriers to employment and independence. The goal is to help people reach their literacy and educational goals.





MSC also offers instruction for students who are preparing to take the GED - General Education Development, or high-school equivalency, exam. The process is made up of five components, each of which must be passed in order to earn the GED certificate. South King County Multi-Service Center trains tutors to prepare students for success in passing the test. This is an invaluable educational alternative for students who struggled in a public school setting.

Educational support for children is from the HEART Program. Children living at MSC's Family Shelter are encouraged to participate. This program support in subjects like science, reading and math, in addition to one-on-one attention from caring adults.

English as a Second Language, or ESL classes are for individuals trying to establish a life in an unfamiliar country. The lack of adequate language skills can have a significant negative impact on their financial stability and quality of life.

To address this, classes are offered in very small group or one-on-one settings in order to provide the most individualized attention possible. Tutors that work with MSC are trained to help students learn to effectively read, write, and speak English, whether they already have limited skills or no skills at all.

Learn to budget, save, and control your money so that it doesn’t control you. This can be achieved by participating in classes on basic financial management and budgeting. The agencies classes are presented in partnership with the Express Credit Union, as part of an initiative that provides low-income residents with affordable financial services as a secure alternative to banks, payday lenders, and check cashing services.

Classes are held in regions including Auburn, Vashon, Renton, SeaTac. Clients get help with goal setting, budgeting, tracking expenses and income, understanding credit and taxes, using the banking system, avoiding predatory lending and learning about insurance. Everything is offered on an ongoing basis. For more information, please call 253-854-4406.

For more information on these services, the South King County Multi-Service Center can be called at 253-838-6810. The address is 1200 S. 336th, Federal Way, Washington 98003.

By Jon McNamara

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