Madison's Tenant Resource Center is now accepting applications from renters struggling to stay current with their landlords due to months of economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
People who need assistance with preventing evictions are able to receive help from a $10 million dollar community eviction prevention launched by Dane County in partnership with the TRC.
“By preventing evictions, we are stabilizing housing for families during these uncertain, challenging times,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement. “We need landlords to continue to work with their tenants and partner with us to prevent evictions- funds are available that can support payment of back rent.”
The COVID-19 crisis has been particularly hard on communities of color. Parisi said that bringing relief to communities of color is part of the push behind this funding.
“As further evidence that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities of color from both a health perspective as well as economically, 78% of the applications already in are from families of color," he said. "It’s critical this funding gets out to those in need as quickly as possible, and we thank the TRC for working hard to do so.”
People who are currently making 80% of area median income (AMI) and have experienced economic hardship due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply, although priority will be given to people who make 50% of AMI and under. Documentation of economic hardship will be required to receive the funds, which will be paid directly to a tenant’s landlord with a mutual landlord-tenant agreement to repay back rent and avoid eviction proceedings.
The application is online at the TRC website.
On average, according to TRC, approximately 2,300 eviction filings are seen each year in Dane County and TRC estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic could increase those numbers to between 6,000 and 12,000 evictions, requiring between $6.75 million and $13.5 million to address.
After Gov. Tony Evers' 60-day eviction moratorium expired in late May, proceedings have resumed in Dane County.
“From May 15, 2020, to June 18, 2020 we have had 153 cases filed for evictions,” said Laura Nachazel in the Dane County Clerk of Courts office. “When I looked at last year’s evictions from January 1-June 18, we had 976 filed. This year it’s 565 due to COVID-19 and the fact that nobody could file. Some landlords are waiting for some of the back rent money to be paid instead of filing.”
Nachazel pointed out that, due to the CARES ACT, some renters who are living in properties that have a mortgage secured by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae are still exempt from having eviction filed against them. Landlords have been able to seek loan forbearance on those properties.
On May 20, Evers signed an act giving assistance to help low income renters with expenses like back rent, security deposits and related assistance, which is also allowing residents to keep their heads above water when it comes to eviction.
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