Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Hundreds of millions in federal rental aid not reaching TN tenants. The reason is that not many applications are coming in.

The Tennessean - In March, Tennessee's housing agency launched a statewide program providing federal aid to families with hardship paying rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Fully funded by federal dollars, the program was expected to help 20,000 to 30,000 families remain in their homes for up to 12 months. But five months later, only a fraction of the money went to eligible households. As of Monday morning, the agency had only distributed $15.7 million — or 4% of the $383.4 million it received in federal funds — in helping roughly 2,400 families with payments, according to Ralph Perrey, director of Tennessee Housing Development Agency. 

... there seems to be an apparent lack of demand. "The reason not much money is going out is that not many applications are coming in," he said. "(The demand) has not been there thus far." The agency averaged 200 applications a week, he said, and that number only increased to 451 last week as the federal eviction moratorium effectively expired. 

... Perrey said. "The legislation enacted by Congress was designed to provide emergency rent relief for folks who had been financially impacted by COVID," he said. "It was not designed to be a blanket eviction prevention program."  (Read more

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