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New $11 million rental assistance program aims to help Cleveland tenants, landlords and economy

Posted at 9:57 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-09 00:00:08-04

CLEVELAND — Across the nation, threats of eviction loom over residents who, without work or less hours on the job, are unable to pay rent or mortgages.

Those same threats are surfacing in Cleveland.

Just last week tenants at Grandview Pointe Apartments shared with an email with News 5 that was sent from management. In short, the letter stated those who choose not to pay April or May’s rent will face eviction and late fees.

“Give the people a break with this coronavirus. Everybody doesn’t have the funds to go ahead and pay the rent if they’re not working and they didn’t get a stimulus check,” tenant Angela Bryant said.

According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, 31% of renters were late on rent in April.

While it’s not clear how many Cleveland residents have been served evictions during the pandemic, city council president Kevin Kelley said those claims will ramp up once housing courts reopen.

“I think that this is where that rental assistance program is going to really be a lifeline for a lot of people,” he said.

Though the city has a moratorium on evictions in place, Kelley said a new rental assistance program will help tenants and landlords long-term. The $11 million program is funded by money the city received under the government’s CARES Act.

Kelley said the city is currently waiting for approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“It’s going to offer assistance to tenants who either make 80% of the area wide income or there’s going to be an assumption that if you lost your job because of coronavirus you will automatically qualify.”

Without housing assistance, Kelley said the city’s economy will crater and those in need may not be able to survive.

“Everybody should be entitled to decent housing,” he said. “It is something to take very seriously.”

RELATED: Grandview Pointe Apartment tenants protest after facing threats of eviction during pandemic

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