Sunday, September 26, 2021

Help is available for Denton County tenants and landlords

Denton County, United Way of Denton County and eight nonprofit partners have financial relief available now for tenants unable to pay rent and landlords with delinquent tenants resulting from the negative financial impacts of COVID-19, according to a news release from UWDC.

Powered by the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act Emergency Rental Assistance stimulus funds received by the county and governed by Denton County Commissioners Court, the Denton County Eviction Prevention program provides renters and landlords an alternative to the eviction process, according to UWDC. A collaborative team of nonprofit staff collect all required information from the tenant and/or landlord to verify U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development income eligibility and U.S. Department of the Treasury CAA ERA program eligibility. Payments are made directly to the landlords and utility vendors on behalf of the tenant.

“The Denton County Commissioners Court is committed to using the CAA ERA funds to benefit tenants, landlords and property managers who have been impacted by COVID-19,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “We believe the collaborative efforts between the county, United Way of Denton County and area nonprofits is the best way to address these ongoing needs to prevent homelessness.”

The Texas Supreme Court’s 34th Emergency Order, which applied the provisions of the CDC eviction moratorium to Texas courts, expired March 31. The CDC moratorium previously acted as a resource to prevent eviction and an increase in homelessness across the country, according to the news release. The Denton County Eviction Prevention program benefits renter, landlord, and the community at-large: renters who’ve fallen behind due to financial impact from COVID-19 are caught up; the business of property managers and landlords are supported and protected; and a dramatic increase to the homeless population is prevented.

“With the local expiration of the CDC eviction moratorium, getting the word out about this stimulus program to both renters and landlords is critical in order to save Denton County from the looming eviction crisis; one that is 100% preventable,” said Gary Henderson, President & CEO at United Way of Denton County. “We don’t want any Denton County families to face homelessness when resources exist to buoy them through this crisis. We’ve made the application process simple and accessible for anyone via smartphone, tablet or computer.”

Household income for eligible renters cannot exceed 80% of Denton County’s Area Median Income.  Tenants and landlords that are engaged in eviction proceedings are given priority, but applicants need not be in the eviction process to be eligible. Renters and landlords can learn more about the program and access the screening application at www.unitedwaydenton.org/eviction-prevention.

“The eviction prevention programs United Way of Denton County and their partners have implemented are valuable resources for evictions based on non-payment of rent for landlords and struggling tenants impacted by COVID-19,” said Judge James Kerbow, Justice of the Peace Precinct 3. “If the landlord receives enough funds to catch up their rent arrears and provide financial stability, then this is a low risk, high reward scenario. It’s a win-win for both parties.”

The CAA ERA program was approved by Denton County Commissioners Court on March 2, 2021. Through April 17, over $2 million in assistance has been provided covering 2,265 months of financial assistance to 704 households. In April, the program is averaging $610,147 per week in rent and utility payments for COVID-19 impacted households. Denton County received $23 million for the program that will be in operation through Dec. 30, 2021.

Organizations partnering in the 2021 Eviction Prevention program include Denton County, United Way of Denton County, City of Denton, City of Lewisville, Christian Community Action, Denton County Friends of the Family, Giving HOPE, Grace Like Rain, Interfaith Ministries, Metrocrest Services, Next Steps The Colony, Salvation Army (Denton & Lewisville).

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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