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Rental aid has fallen victim to politics and bureaucracy Durham Tenant Republican Republican Roy Cooper

Before the pandemic, Jacqueline Bartley, the mother of two girls and one boy, lived a comfortable life. Later, at the age of 41, she lost her job at American Airlines and soon spent her savings, renting a $ 1,350 / month home and being late for a few months. Until then, she never missed a rent payment.

Durham’s Bartley, North Carolina Looking at the state’s rental assistance program, I was relieved to be awarded $ 8,100 in January. But she says the landlord refused the money after denying his request to fix the two-year debt in a shorter period of time. The program required landlords to respect their debts in order to make money, among other conditions.

She turned to a second program launched this month by the state and was re-approved. Last week she learned that the landlord had accepted a backrent of nearly $ 20,000 and a three-month future payment, and agreed to dismiss his peasant eviction proceedings.

The news means she will not be forced out of her home after the federal peasant eviction moratorium ends on July 31st. But waiting and uncertainty meant months of stress.

“I’m crazy about it, especially when I have kids at school,” Bartley said. “It’s happening almost capriciously. OK, are you planning to go somewhere every month?”

Millions of people have fallen into a situation similar to Bartley and face the possibility of eviction despite the governor’s bold promise to help later renters. Meeting In March 2020, a drastic CARES law was passed.

Nationally, state leaders secured at least $ 2.6 billion from the Associated Press Coronavirus Relief Fund to help renters struggling, but a year later, that $ 425 million ( More than 16%) are landlords, according to a survey by tenants and Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press.

Anne Kat Alexander, project manager at Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, said: “I knew there was a problem, but it was a huge amount because it wasn’t paid in a timely manner.”

Like many state leaders, the Democratic government of North Carolina. Roy Cooper Last year, we promised to roll out an ambitious program that would provide tens of millions of dollars in federal aid to help cover unpaid rent.

However, only a few weeks after it finally opened in October, it took months to get it up and down due to overwhelming demand. The 20 nonprofits designated to distribute money often lacked the ability to withdraw it quickly.

Then faced Republican rule Legislature With the acquisition of CARES Act spending in January, the state has given less money to applicants. In the end, of the $ 167 million promised, we spent $ 133 million. This is well below what some home advocates say they need.

“We knew we didn’t have enough money. Too many people needed rental assistance,” said Pamela Atwood, director of housing policy at the North Carolina Housing Union. “There was a lot of inadequate execution in deploying that first program, which caused a lot of inefficiencies.”

In 2021, the federal government provided tens of billions of dollars in rental assistance to the state, which was also delayed.

In the first round of funding in 2020, bureaucracy was not the only issue. Politics also played a role, many of which were Republican-led and provided little or no support in a few states with a history of weak tenant protection.

Then there was often a tedious application process, and the federal deadline at the end of the year to spend money was too late, so some states were already withdrawing money to spend on other expenses. Some landlords refused to join because of the limitation of not being able to expel tenants who were late again after assistance. tenant By submitting an incomplete application, I sometimes changed myself in a short period of time.

Congress’s radical 2020 CARES Act has sent billions of dollars to states and some local governments. However, it did not require the state to spend money on rental assistance, leaving the state to create its own programs and set rules.

Georgia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, all run by Republican governors, have higher-than-average historical eviction rates, according to a database of 2020 National Low-Income Housing Coalition Rent Relief Programs. Instead, he chose not to set up a state-wide rent relief program that year. South Carolina has allocated less than $ 14 per household in which the lessee resides.

The Georgia Community Department tried to launch a rental assistance program in the fall of 2020 with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but it was revealed that another, more amount would come from the U.S. Department. Susan Leif, director of the Georgia Legal Services Program’s Housing Unit and director of the Eviction Prevention Project, said the Treasury program was stalled in 2021.

Still, many states have scrambled and created large programs to keep their families at home. This is the safest place to evacuate during a coronavirus pandemic. By the summer of 2020, state and local government officials had launched approximately 530 rental assistance programs, securing at least $ 4.3 billion from a variety of sources.

Some states were praised for their well-functioning programs. Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, and Washington were one of more than 12 states that reported $ 1 in lending assistance separate from the Coronavirus Relief Fund by March 31.

Center for Public Integrity surveyed about 70 state and local agencies identified by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition as reserved for rent assistance by the Coronavirus Relief Fund in 2020. COVID-19 related costs such as protective equipment, police salaries, and small business loans.

In some states, we spent millions of dollars setting up programs. For example, North Carolina has allocated about $ 20 million in administrative costs, and Hawaii has spent $ 8 million. In the case of Hawaii, many have helped scale up nonprofits and rent space. The state has also spent money on software systems to prevent fraud.

Diane Yentel, executive director of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said last year’s funding challenges resulted in Congress allocating nearly $ 47 billion for emergency rental assistance in December and March.

“Most of the previous funds were very flexible and had a wide range of acceptable uses,” said Jenter, a group tracking rental assistance programs.

“Some states and cities have cut out some of these funds to create peasant eviction prevention and emergency rental assistance programs, but many states and cities have not secured enough or are sufficient. I didn’t secure it. “

One of the biggest challenges was not using what the state assigned.

The Pennsylvania Housing and Financial Services Agency received $ 150 million to help lessees, but returned about $ 96 million to the State Treasury, which filled a hole in the state’s public security budget. Florida Housing Finance Corporation has allocated $ 250 million for rental assistance, but has returned approximately $ 99 million to the Treasury to spend on other programs. Eighty-three percent of Montana’s $ 50 million reserved for rental assistance has returned to the state. New York spent only $ 47.5 million out of the $ 100 million promised to help rent.

Ellen Davidson, a staff lawyer at the New York Legal Assistance Association, said New York’s 2020 rent relief program was “set to fail.” “It was really a program to punish people. If they were struggling before, they should struggle later, as there was a real intention to prevent people from getting better by being hurt by COVID. . “

Tenants had to prove that they were “rental” before the pandemic in order to qualify for rent relief in 2020, but that provision was eventually removed.

Hawaii spent about $ 71 million out of the originally promised $ 100 million, but the state spent the most per capita at $ 44.50, according to an analysis by the Hawaii Appleseed Law and Economic Justice Center. Still, the legislature set a deadline for spending in late December. This meant that the remaining $ 29 million had to go to the state unemployment trust fund.

Gavin Thornton, Executive Director of the Center, said: “If that had been done, the program would continue and landlords and tenants would certainly have access to those funds that were needed.”

Small cities and counties were also affected. In Marion County, Florida, none of the $ 1 million reserved for renters from the Coronavirus Relief Fund was due to insufficient workers to process the application on the United Way in Marion County, which controlled the funds. Wasn’t paid to those who needed it, said Scott Quinter, president of the organization. United Way was able to distribute rent aid from another source, but the money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund was returned to the city for other COVID-19 related costs.

“It’s scary how unprepared some states were,” said Alexander at the Eviction Lab. “Some places made it work, some didn’t. This probably indicates that the places that didn’t work worked.”

In Athens, Georgia, Dillin Price said he received about $ 5,800 in rental assistance, but that still doesn’t prevent him from losing his home. After her salary and time at fast food restaurants were cut, notices of eviction of peasants began to arrive in early 2020. They haven’t given up.

Price received rental assistance from Ark, a non-profit organization that manages funds under the CARES Act on behalf of the city of Athens, but the assistance ended earlier this year. Price’s landlord refused to renew his lease, which is due to expire on Wednesday.

She is afraid that she will have to live in a homeless shelter again with her 14-year-old son.

“It’s a very unpleasant and unpleasant situation,” Price said.


Casey was reported by Boston, Kleiner was reported by Washington, DC, and Johnston was reported by Brook Park, Ohio. Casey can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @ mcasey1. You can contact Kleiner at Follow her on Twitter @bysarahkleiner.

This article is a collaboration between The Associated Press and Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit investigative journalist in Washington.

Rental aid has fallen victim to politics and bureaucracy Durham Tenant Republican Republican Roy Cooper

Source link Rental aid has fallen victim to politics and bureaucracy Durham Tenant Republican Republican Roy Cooper

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