In the News: Landlords, Housing Officials Seek Rosen's to Help to Speed Up Rent Relief Payments

t’s been one month since Gov. Steve Sisolak practically begged Nevadans to seek shelter from a coming wave of COVID-related evictions, and residents did not seem to get the message.

That was the takeaway from U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen’s recent roundtable with the Nevada Housing Coalition, where Rosen pledged to investigate ways to ease residents’ access to some $372 million in emergency rental assistance from the federal government.

Officials charged with divvying up those dollars say many eligible tenants simply can’t or won’t do the required paperwork, leaving local housing authorities with few ways to provide Sisolak’s promised “glide path” to calming landlords’ loud complaints about unpaid rent.

Some of those property owners — along with several developers and policy experts who attended Friday’s sit-down at the Carson City Chamber of Commerce — agreed on the need to fast-track the aid application process.

Home Means Nevada, a state-affiliated homeowner assistance group, even offered to do the paperwork on their tenants’ behalf.

“The barrier right now is just getting tenants to apply,” said Shannon Chambers, the group’s president.  “I think there needs to be more flexibility on the landlord side because this is tenant-driven.

“(Landlords) have the information, they have the lease and they have the incentive.”

Nevada HAND, another of the Silver State’s largest nonprofit landlords, seconded calls give property owners more say in the application process.

The Las Vegas-based low-income housing group also raised concerns about the sheer amount of paperwork clogging up that pipeline.

Applicants are currently required to provide, among other things, a government-issued photo ID, a current income statement and copies of their water bill and/or lease agreement. They also have to sign a personal information waiver and a statement attesting to a COVID-caused financial hardship.

“If all of us stopped what we were doing right now and tried to fill out this application, some of us would struggle, including me,” said Audra Hamernik, Nevada HAND’s president and CEO. “Now, let’s pretend you don’t have an email address, or a cell phone, and you’ve never even heard of a scanner.

“But now we want you to find and upload your lease, when we already have that documentation.”

Categories: affordable housing NRHA

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