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Arkansans facing rent relief delays after eviction moratorium expiration

Of the $173 million allocated to Arkansas from taxpayer dollars, less than 5% has actually been given out to help renters.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Danette Perry is spending tonight packing up her entire home. Once protected under the eviction moratorium, today Danette came home from work to an eviction notice.

Severely financially impacted by the pandemic, and with limited work hours due to her rheumatoid arthritis, Danette has been searching for help.

"I started applying for everything because I knew with it just being me and my hands, I couldn't do it by myself," she shared.

She first started applying for aid months ago, to no avail. Pulaski County's relief program told us her July application isn't expected to be reviewed until next week, as Danette faces eviction in the next 24 hours.

And she's not alone. Of the $173 million allocated to the state from taxpayer dollars, less than 5% has actually been given out to help renters.

But under a separate program, Pulaski County has given out more than 40% of its available funding, (planning to utilize additional state funds as needed), as thousands of more applications await approval.

The sheer number of applications is one of the reasons for the delay. County officials said it could take 30 to 45 days for help to arrive.

Fredrick Love, the Community Services Director of Pulaski County added, "We are in the midst of processing I would say hundreds of applications. As of today, I would say Pulaski County has received almost 10,000."

Another big reason for delay comes from the need for cooperation from the landlord. "If a landlord does not want to participate, that can stop an application because you really need that information to certify the debt that the tenant has," Love added.

These issues leaving both state and county assistance programs to work new paths and try to streamline the process.

"If people could just give us a little time, we could actually get the assistance out and that's both landlord and tenant," Love said.

So that people like Danette, who feels that she fell through the cracks in the system, can turn to get help. Having already been served an eviction notice, Danette's case has now been referred to the Emergency Solutions Program in an effort to find more immediate relief. 

"I don't know what tomorrow will bring," Danette said.

Both Pulaski County and the state are still accepting applications for rental relief and encourage those in need to stay vigilant and make sure they fill out every step of their application. 

The application for Pulaski County can be found here and for the state can be found here. Washington and Benton counties also run their own relief programs as well.

Both Pulaski County and the state say they are working to streamline the application process going forward to try and avoid these delays.

    

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