During the 2010 legislative session, the Washington State Legislature decided to end the Disability Lifeline (DL) cash grant. As of November 2011, people who were receiving financial assistance through the Disability Lifeline program no longer receive that money. People may still receive medical coverage through a program called Medical Care Services (MCS).
People enrolled in the Medical Care Services program may be eligible to receive rent, utility and transportation assistance, as well as hygiene and cleaning products through a program called Housing and Essential Needs (HEN). Catholic Community Services is working in collaboration with King County and DSHS to provide these services to King County eligible participants. If you are located outside of King County, you may contact the HEN provider in your County for information about the services available and to schedule an appointment. Click here for a HEN directory by county.
HEN is not an entitlement program, and under HEN, participants do not receive any cash. Catholic Community Services can only distribute checks to landlords and/or utility companies. Landlords can be Housing Authorities, non-profit housing providers, private market landlords, or friends or family to whom you pay rent. You can be on a lease or rental agreement, or have an informal arrangement as long as you and the person to whom you pay rent complete or supply the required documentation.
The amount of combined rent and utility assistance available is up to $400 per month per person. Additional rent or utility assistance above $400 may be available for participants on a formal lease. Move-in, deposit or rental application assistance up to $400 is available one time only, and up to $400 in back rent or past utilities is available one time only.
Monthly transportation assistance (an ORCA card or gas voucher), and hygiene and cleaning supplies are available by appointment.
To schedule an appointment call (206) 328-5755. The phone number is staffed and emails returned during business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Monday through Friday. Appointments are scheduled on a first-call first-scheduled basis.
The Coordinators are located in five DSHS offices: Belltown, White Center, Kent, King North (at North Seattle Community College) and Federal Way. Due to the volume of clients served, we cannot accommodate walk in clients. To schedule an appointment, call the intake line at (206) 328-5755 during business hours.
To receive rent, utility and/or transportation assistance, or hygiene and/or cleaning supplies, a person must:
- Be enrolled in the Medical Care Services program.
- Share your DSHS Client Identification number or Social Security number with the
- Intake Specialist and allow us to verify your enrollment into MCS.
- Show government issued photo ID
- To receive rent assistance, you must provide either a lease, rental agreement, Pay or Vacate Notice, eviction notice, or a completed Certification of Payment Obligation from your landlord or family/friend. The person to whom you pay rent must also submit a W-9 form. Click here to download the W-9 form and have the person to whom you pay rent fill it out and sign it.
- To receive utility assistance for electricity, natural gas, propane (or other alternative heating sources), water, sewer or garbage, you must provide a utility bill, a utility shut off notice or late payment notice. We cannot assist with telephone, cable or Internet bills.
What to Bring with you to your In-Person Screening Appointment:
- Your government issued photo ID.
- Your DSHS Client ID number. If you don't know this, you may ask a DSHS worker for your Client ID number when you check in for your appointment.
- For Rental Assistance bring a lease, rental agreement, or a completed Certification of Payment Obligation from your landlord or family/friend, a Pay Or Vacate notice, or an Eviction Notice from your landlord, and a W9 Form completed and signed by the person to whom you pay rent.
- For Utility Assistance, bring a current bill, past due notice or utility shut off notice. If you are asking ONLY for utility assistance and NOT rent assistance, the utility bill must be in YOUR name.
- Can I get a check the day of my appointment? No, checks will not be issued on site.
All checks will be mailed to landlords or utility companies.
- I was just cut off benefits, can I still get money?
You must currently be enrolled in Medical Care Services to be eligible for this funding.
- Can I get housing assistance more than once?
Yes, as long as you remain enrolled in Medical Care Services you can access rent and utility assistance.
- I am homeless and don't have housing can I get assistance?
You may be eligible for transportation assistance, and/or hygiene and cleaning products. Your Coordinator will discuss options for housing search assistance.
- Why can't I just get money on my card like I used to get?
The Washington State Legislature voted to end the Disability Lifeline as of October 31, 2011. The Housing and Essential Needs program was created in its place.
- Will my friend or family member have to pay taxes on the rent paid to them?
Possibly. Your friend or family member may call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to ask about how these payments may affect their taxes. If they receive government assistance, it may also affect those benefits.
- Can I walk into the DSHS office without an appointment to get a new ORCA card or gas voucher from a HEN Coordinator?
No, you must call the intake line (206) 328-5755 or click here to send an email to verify you are eligible for a new monthly ORCA card or gas voucher and reserve an appointment with your Coordinator.