Rental and Emergency Utility Assistance

Individuals and families in temporary crisis may receive one-time assistance for rent and other emergencies. Limited funds are available for assistance and all eligibility requirements must be met.

MSC also provides resources and case management to help families with children birth to 24 who are at risk of homelessness to obtain and keep stable housing. Click here to learn more about YFHPI (Youth & Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative).

Rental Assistance

MSC provides one-time rent assistance to individuals and families living within the city limits of Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, or Sea-Tac with low to moderate income. MSC may also be able to assist residents of Fern Hill Terrace with one-time assistance.

Required Information and Documents

  • Exact address of current housing and current contact information
  • Photo identification for all adults 18+ in household
  • Social Security cards/number for all household members (if applies)
  • Current income verification for all household members 18+
  • Current rental lease (all pages) and ledger from landlord
  • Verification of crisis and resolution plan
  • For move-in assistance, must provide approval letter from landlord

How to Apply for Assistance
Call Multi-Service Center at 253.893.0024 on the first or third Tuesday of the month (except holidays) between 9am and noon or submit an online application. You must attend an in-person appointment and provide all documents prior to or at meeting. Assistance is not guaranteed until all documents are received and eligibility confirmed. Clients who do not submit their documents on time will be required to reapply. Funds available are limited. You may call anytime for a recorded message of the most recent updated information on funding availability. You may only receive one-time assistance.

Click here for online application for Des Moines, Kent, and SeaTac.
Click here for online application for Fern Hill Terrace only.

Emergency Utility Assistance

MSC offers limited resources for temporary crisis to provide one-time emergency utility bill assistance to residents within the city limits of Des Moines, Kent, Renton, or SeaTac. MSC may also be able to assist residents of Fern Hill Terrace with one-time assistance.

Required Information and Documents

  • Exact address of current housing and current contact information
  • Photo identification for all adults 18+ in household
  • Social Security cards/number for all household members (if applies)
  • Current income verification for all household members 18+
  • Copy of utility bill needing assistance OR a copy of current rental lease and ledger if utilities are owed to landlord.

How to Apply for Assistance
Call Multi-Service Center at 253.893.0024 on the first or third Tuesday of the month (except holidays) between 9am and noon or complete an online application. All documents must be received within two days of initial contact or you will need to reapply. Assistance is not guaranteed until all documents are received and eligibility confirmed. Funds available are limited.

Click here for online application for Des Moines, Kent, and SeaTac.
Click here for online application for Fern Hill Terrace only.

FAQ about Rent Assistance:

Why does MSC only accept calls about Rent Assistance at certain times?
MSC can only help a limited number of people each month. To give everyone equal access, we ask that everyone call the same day at the same time, or submit an online application. We cannot accept walk-ins. Phone calls only.

What if I can’t call at that time?
You may have someone else call for you or assist you with completing an online application. That person will need to know your contact information, your rent amount and your current income. They will also need to be able to provide a good time for us to contact you.

How do I qualify?
You must have a verifiable crisis that prevented you from meeting your own need (car repair, unpaid sick leave). You must demonstrate that you can pay your rent on your own the following month or that the need will go away. Most of our funding requires that your income equals twice your rent. You must live within the city limits of Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, or Sea-Tac.

What if I called at the right time but never got to speak to anyone?
As soon as the appointments are full, we close the phone line. We are only able to schedule 10 to 20 appointments per month. Because of the growing need for rent assistance and our limited funding, we cannot help everyone who needs assistance. We must turnaway 85% or more of those seeking assistance.

What can I do if I cannot get help from MSC?
We suggest you call the Community Information Line at 2-1-1 to find out if additional rent resources are available in your area.

FAQ about Emergency Assistance:

What are the qualifiers for emergency utility assistance?
You must live within city limits of  Des Moines, Kent, Renton, or SeaTac. Your income level must also be under 50% AMI. As of September 2019, monthly income limits are:

  • 1 Person Household – $3,229
  • 2 Person Household – $3,692
  • 3 Person Household – $4,154
  • 4 Person Household – $4,613
  • 5 Person Household – $4,983
  • 6 Person Household – $5,354
  • 7 Person Household – $5,721
  • 8 Person Household – $6,092

Do you allow walk-ins?
No, we only take phone requests or you can submit an online application. MSC can help only a limited number of people each month with emergency assistance. To give everyone equal access to the available funds, we ask everyone to call at specific times, or complete an online application.

What if I cannot call during the listed times?
You may have someone call for you or assist you with completing the online application. That person will need to know your contact information, your income, and the nature of your crisis.

What if I met the qualifiers but was turned away?
Unfortunately, this happens often. Because there is a growing need for emergency assistance and our funding remains limited, we must turn away nearly 70% of applicants. We are sorry that we cannot help everyone who needs assistance.

What do I do if I can’t get help from MSC?
We suggest that you call the Community Information Line at 2-1-1 to find out if additional emergency resources are available in your area.