Following criticism from a US Congressman of the state’s sluggish rent assistance program, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has made adjustments to speed up the process.
Renters Said Assistance is Too Late and Too Small
In a recently published article in KATV, following the governor’s statement that the state is trying to speed up the rent assistance program, renters told Seven On Your Side that they are a day late and a dollar short.
While Arkansas Renters United is glad to hear that improvements are being made, organizer Malik Marshall believes it is too late.
Marshall also stated that it’s both too late and too little. They are asking for some kind of assurance that it should happen as soon as possible, and that significant protection will be in place for those who are being evicted right now.
According to Marshall, since the CDC’s eviction moratorium ended on August 26, at least 750 evictions have been filed in Pulaski County circuit court.
“The eviction moratorium is over, and people are losing their homes every day, like right now, so it’s fantastic that he’s going to employ 75 additional people – we’ve been hearing for months that they’re going to hire more people to administer these programs,” Marshall continued.
Renter Shared His Experience
Gary Harper, a renter, told 7OYS that while he is grateful for the two stimulus cheques he received, which he immediately used to pay rent, he is still struggling while waiting for a rent reduction.
“It’s hard to convey not knowing what your next step is because today I’m standing here on Broadway talking to you, and next week I may be sleeping in a sleeping bag on Broadway.”
The program is being updated to include delivering funds directly to renters if a landlord fails to complete their portion of the application process, prioritizing applicants who have indicated they have received an eviction notice, and employing an extra 70 employees to work on the program.