Changes have come to an emergency rental assistance program created during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep people from losing their homes.
Starting Monday, Clark County Cares Housing Assistance Program or CHAP has narrowed the eligibility of those they can help. That has left many valley residents afraid they won't be able to pay their rent.
“Rent is going up,” said renter Kiana Jackson.
Many renters fearing eviction stopped by the Las vegas justice court Monday seeking legal advice. Kiana Jackson says she’s behind on rent and fears she and her daughter will be evicted.
“I’m a single mom and I know a lot of single moms need help.”
The rush of worried tenants comes after CHAP stopped accepting new applications as of midnight on Sunday under the emergency pandemic assistance. While aid is still available, the criteria for qualification have changed. Now, a renter in need of financial assistance must meet one of four requirements.
- At least one member of the applicant's household has to be on a fixed income.
- Has experienced a rent increase in the last 12 months.
- Received an eviction notice for not paying rent.
- Has experienced a change causing an inability to pay rent.
Chanel 13 spoke with two roommates who came for advice about their application. They applied for assistance with CHAP weeks ago but have yet to hear back. They're hoping their application made the deadline. They received an eviction notice two days ago.
"This is completely new to us. we have no one out here. it's really difficult to figure out what we're going to do and where to go next," said Sherwane Carter and Terrel Smith.
Tim Burch, Human Services Administrator with CHAP says the stricter criteria are necessary because COVID-19 pandemic relief funds from the federal government are running out.
"That's why the eligibility is being restricted down to people who are not just late on their rent or missed a few hours, but rather who is facing eminent eviction. so the focus is to interrupt individuals becoming homeless."
Burch says renters need to understand how the eviction process works.
“Once you see that pay or quit notice on the door, you need to file a response with the court to make sure we’re given time to process your application.”
CHAP encourages residents struggling to pay rent to take advantage of the many housing assistance programs offered by different organizations.
Click here to see other housing assistance programs.
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