Boston (AP) — Taisha Young, whose rent is over $ 7,000 behind, hoped that a Louisiana program would rescue her and help her family avoid evictions in the coming weeks.
However, two 29-year-old mothers from the Parish of Jefferson are still waiting to hear from the state whether any of the $ 308 million available for rental assistance and utility payments will give her a lifeline. I will. She applied for money last year but had never heard of it. She is waiting to hear about the latest applications.
Federal funding was split between the Louisiana-wide program and its largest parish. Neither worked. The state paid $ 10.5 million out of $ 147 million, while the Parish of Jefferson only distributed $ 1.4 million out of $ 12.9 million. After only $ 236,000 was distributed by May, the parish replaced the company that oversees the program.
“Where are we going?” Asked Young, who lost his hospital job during the pandemic and now has to stay home to take care of her seven-month-old.
“This is a whole new thing and I didn’t think I had to deal with it in my life. I have two kids. That’s a lot.”
Louisiana is in a nationwide struggle as the state is rushing to distribute about $ 47 billion allocated by Congress for emergency rental assistance before the federal peasant eviction moratorium. I will. Ending July 31, millions are at risk of losing their homes.
Past amounts that exceed the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s annual budget were allocated in December and March.
Home advocates have accused the Treasury of deploying slowly under President Donald Trump and said he was late in explaining how money could be spent. The criteria were clearer under the Biden administration, but were still criticized for the cumbersome process that seemed to focus on preventing fraud rather than helping tenants.
Proponents also said the state made things worse. Some waited months to launch the program, while others created a bureaucratic hurdle.
As a result, there is almost no money. By May 31, only $ 1.5 billion had been provided to approximately 350,000 households, according to data released by the Treasury on Friday. This is less than 4% of the allotted amount.
Democratic Rep. Cori Bush, who has experienced peasant farming, said he received a phone call from his family saying, “I don’t know how to apply for funds, or the application is confusing and stressful.”
“It’s rude to sit in a state bank account for millions of dollars while families across Missouri struggle to stay in their homes,” she said.
“For many families, this support is the difference between going home for eviction notices and going home to a safe place to lie down at night.”
According to the latest US Census Bureau household pulse survey, about 3.4 million people could face evictions of peasants in the next two months. Some supporters say it could double that.
Many tenants will be kicked into the bright red housing market, where prices are rising and vacancy rates are plummeting. They are also stuck with peasant eviction and delinquency backrent records that make it almost impossible to find new homes, many heading to homeless shelters and access to good schools, transportation and work. Find a home in a low-income area.
At risk is Freddie Davis, a 51-year-old Miami truck driver who lost his job during a pandemic and rents rose from $ 875 to $ 1,400 per month. He is afraid that his rent is $ 7,000 late and that the monthly $ 1,038 disability check after losing his leg due to diabetes is not enough to find another place. He applied for rental assistance, but his landlord refused to take it.
“I’m worried like hell. I have nowhere else to go,” said Davis, who has been working since the age of 15 and has never been kicked out. “In Miami, rents are very high. Sleep on the truck and store everything.”
The National Low Income Housing Coalition found that of the 51 programs tracked so far, only 14% of the funds allocated in December were distributed. Most states haven’t distributed March money yet.
The Associated Press has found that as diverse states as North Dakota and California are facing difficulties in getting help. Georgia distributes only $ 11 million out of $ 552 million, North Dakota provides $ 3.4 million out of $ 200 million, North Carolina $ 73 million out of $ 546 million, California 1.4 billion Provided $ 73 million out of the dollar.New York Launches $ 2 Billion Program last month But before it distributes anything, I expect it to be 4 to 6 weeks.
According to a April Housing Union survey, the hurdles vary, including lack of ability to manage the program, technical difficulties in setting up the program, and lack of cooperation from tenants and their landlords.
Some landlords refused to participate. Tenants sometimes failed to complete their application because they had to provide evidence of unemployment or other financial difficulties during the pandemic.
Several Same problem Appeared last year when the state set aside Nearly $ 2.6 billion from the CARES Act for rental assistance.
The general copy was that federal requirements were too cumbersome and the guidelines were too strict.
Erica Boges, executive director of the West Virginia Housing Fund, which runs the state’s leasing assistance program, explained why she had distributed only $ 8.7 million of the $ 200 million since her initial funding. “It will take time,” he said.
“It’s labor-intensive,” Boges said of the requirements, including identifying the difficulties of COVID-19 and documenting the applicant’s income, before going to the landlord to accept the funds.
“It’s frustrating for tenants, and perhaps for landlords. We have to go through a process. It can’t happen overnight,” she said.
California has made changes to a long application that can take up to three hours to complete. This has reduced the number of required documents from nine to one. Currently it takes 30 minutes to fill out. We have also expanded the language of the program’s website from two to six.
Las Heimerich, a spokesman for California’s Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, said the state initially aimed to prevent duplication of benefits and ensure that applicants were entitled to what they got. He said he followed the rules. “Now we just rely on tenant proof that we are having financial difficulties with COVID-19,” he said.
Since March, the Treasury has demanded funding to go directly to tenants, among other rationalization moves, and landlords have urged tenants to be banned from moving out for up to 90 days after the period covered by the assistance.
“We need to distribute relief now before the moratorium on eviction of peasants ends at the end of July,” said Susan Rice, head of the White House National Policy Council, this week. “Rentals at risk of eviction of peasants are desperate for their relief, and landlords need to cover their bill.”