Marshallese community struggles to access rental assistance funds

KNWA & FOX24 - Northwest Arkansas & River Valley News
KNWA & FOX24 - Northwest Arkansas & River Valley News

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Despite being approved for rental assistance, some northwest Arkansans say they are still being put out on the streets.

Marshallese community face barriers applying for emergency rental assistance; Millions of dollars available in relief

KNWA/FOX24 talked to an advocate for the Marshallese community in Springdale who said he personally knows 15 Marshallese families who were recently served eviction notices despite being approved for rental assistance.

“It’s really sad that the landlord is giving the eviction notices when the tenant is approved for rental assistance,” said advocate Albious Latior.

Latior has been helping the Marshallese community members turn in their rental assistance applications because of the language barrier, but he is now having to help them find new housing.

He said many who have been evicted are staying in hotels in the meantime.

“I’m helping them look for apartments, but it’s really hard to look for apartments nowadays because rent has doubled in price,” he said. “So, it’s really hard for them to get an apartment even though they were approved for rental assistance.”

Washington County Attorney Brian Lester said just because you apply- and are even approved- does not mean you will not get evicted.

“We’ve heard of people facing eviction even though they’ve applied or even possibly been approved for the money, and again, there’s not a lot the county can do,” he said.

Lester said timing is an important factor as well as filling out the forms correctly. If there are any errors on the forms, the assistance might not get to you in time for your rent payment.

$6 million in Washington County rental assistance still up for grabs

“What we’ve seen in the past is a lot of applications that were filled out incorrectly and questions that were answered incorrectly and what that does is it further delays the process.”

Latior said another issue is landlords actually complying with tenants to accept the rental assistance approval forms and do their part to make the program work.

There is a resource on Washington County’s website for the Marshallese community and anyone else struggling to apply for the funds.

The Washington County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (WCERAP) has provided a call center to answer your questions. That number is (877) 492-3727

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KNWA FOX24.

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