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Rental program understands frustration as more tenants and landlords step forward waiting for promised money

CHN Housing Partners says it understands tenant and landlord frustration with delays in rental assistance program
Posted at 4:03 PM, Feb 23, 2023

CLEVELAND — More people are stepping forward after a News 5 Investigation into a federal rental assistance program that left some wondering… where’s the money? We asked our audience to call or write if they were in the same position. They did, and we’re following through.

“It was moreso me trying to find something fast,” said Orlando, who didn’t want us to use his last name. He needed something fast to save the roof over his head. He was struggling to find work.

“So, the bills were piling up and got an opportunity,” he said.

$100 MILLION PROGRAM FOR TENANTS, LANDLORDS

That opportunity was CHN Housing Partners and its $100 million federal rental assistance program. Orlando was approved for help in November, but the check didn’t arrive,

“When it doesn’t come initially, what’s going through your mind?” we asked.

“Oh, Lord!” he replied.

Desperate for answers, he called CHN but no answer. Emails showed he told them he had been to eviction court twice and emphasized he was “soon to be homeless.”

“I got to start making other arrangements because I kind of put the majority of my bets relying on CHN,” said Orlando.

“We’ve had many tenants go through and receive funding assistance from CHN,” said Karil Stohlman, but recently she also had troubles. She’s the landlord for a home in Garfield Heights. That tenant was several months behind on rent and was promised help from CHN… help that didn’t show up. “It’s very frustrating because as landlords we work to be very responsive to the programs that we’re working with in getting them the information that they need in a timely manner,” she told us. “It’s frustrating.”

She, too, made every effort to contact CHN. No luck. “And it puts us in a hard spot of needing to make difficult decisions,” said Stohlman. That meant an eviction hearing for her tenant scheduled for Friday.

SOME MONEY DID COME, ANSWERS DID NOT

You see, Stohlman was expecting close to $8,000 but only received about half what she was promised.

Orlando wasn’t as lucky. “The property manager got in touch with me and stated, ‘Hey, so we got the check, but it’s only like $800,’” he told us. Orlando had been approved for almost $5,000.

After getting no answers for so long, Orlando and Stohlman came across our reporting about others with similar rental assistance problems. “We saw the story posted and we said why not reach out,” Stohlman told us.

CHN RESPONDS TO OUR INQUIRY

We contacted CHN Housing Partners. They told us a check to Orlando’s landlord is on the way.

In a statement, it said in part that they “understand this is frustrating…” and they “ask for patience” as they resolve the surge of last-minute applications and complexity of the process. (See full statement below)

Orlando and others just wanted to hear back from someone about the money.

“If it’s there, it’s there. If it’s not, it’s not. We get it,” said Orlando. “(Just let us know.) That’s all. That’s all we ask.”

So far, CHN has said Stohlman’s check has been mailed and now her tenant can avoid eviction court tomorrow. It also told us Orlando’s check will go out this week.

We’ll stay on top of it.

STILL NOT SEEING YOUR MONEY? CONTACT US

Meanwhile, we’ve heard from various others who said they’re going through the same thing. If you were approved and gotten a disbursement notice but haven’t received any or all of your money, call our News 5 Investigators Tip Line: 216-431-HELP (4357) or email us at InvestigatorTips@WEWS.com.

CHN Housing Partners Statement:

“The COVID emergency rental assistance program ended in December of 2022.

It’s important to note that this program utilized federal dollars which have very strict requirements, including the verification of all information supplied by the applicant and the collection of critical documents. It is a time-intensive process, and we take our responsibility of stewarding these federal dollars very seriously.

Since it began in 2020, we have served over 20,000 families and distributed nearly $100 million dollars.

In the final days of the program, we received a large surge of applications, many of which were complex--missing critical information and supporting documents. A team is laser-focused on resolving those applications that need clarifying documentation and issuing payments in the coming days.

This requires our most skilled and experienced staff and takes a great deal of time. We understand this is frustrating to those waiting, and we ask for patience as we complete this critical work.”

RELATED: Were they approved? Sort of. News 5 Investigators help tenants and landlords left wondering about rent help

You can read more about News 5's reporting on CHN in the player below:

Were tenants approved? Sort of. News 5 helps during rental program confusion

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