The City of Arlington has received two rounds of funding from the U.S. Treasury under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
The purpose of the program is to prevent evictions for low-income households who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arlington received $12 million in the first round of funding, and an additional $9 million in the second round.
To date, $2.6 million has been obligated, with payments of $1,041,509 made to assist 179 households and landlords.
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According to Mindy Cochran, executive director of the Arlington Housing Authority, residents can be approved for up to 12 months initially with the potential to be approved for a total of 18 months. These residents will be re-certified every three months.
In order to qualify for the program, residents must show an obligation to pay rent, proof that they are under 80% of the median household income, and proof that they experienced a negative financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds are being administered by the Arlington Housing Authority, and a portion is available through September 2027.
The Arlington Housing Authority contracted with a professional firm to help spread the word about the program. Marketing efforts included door hangers, flyers emailed and mailed directly to landlords, advertising on social media, billboards, signage at local establishments, mail to Arlington households with an eviction filed, television and radio interviews, and mail to nonprofits, businesses, and faith-based organizations.
These marketing efforts were coordinated with Tarrant County and the City of Fort Worth.
An application website will be used to help applicants find the correct jurisdiction for assistance.
Communications with the Apartment Association of Tarrant County have helped to share program availability with area landlords.
Program implementation is also coordinated with the statewide eviction prevention program, Texas Rent Relief, to avoid duplication of benefits.
In addition to these marketing efforts, staff holds Application Fairs at apartment complexes, participates during eviction court hearings, and receives weekly eviction court dockets, providing the judges with the status of any applications.
According to Cochran, the average time from application to payment is 40 days, but it can be as short as one day.
Cochran said the most common barrier to application approval is providing an incomplete application, one that lacks documentation from either the tenant or the landlord.
However, if the landlord is uncooperative, payment can be made directly to the tenant, Cochran said.
To date, 20 additional staff members have been hired to administer the program.
Prior to receipt of the US Treasury funds, the Arlington Housing Authority utilized $436,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds to assist 101 households and $222,000 of Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds to assist an additional 82 households with eviction prevention.