3 Ways to Help Struggling Residents Stay in Their Homes

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More Than Two Years After the Pandemic Started - and Now Inflation is Rising

July 15, 2022
By Christina Nicholson, Special to Go Home TV

During the pandemic, emergency rental aid helped keep millions of people in their homes. This is thanks to a federal program that allocated $46 billion.

The federal program is running out of money and shutting down in some places. But, as rents and inflation continue to increase, this will cause eviction notices to soar.

Help to Stay in Your Home is Still Available

There are still resources that can help you stay in your home more than two years after the pandemic hit the United States.

Plus, My State MLS created and launched a state-by-state Financial Assistance Directory of federal, state, and local programs to offer assistance to residents who need help staying in the place they are currently living or find and pay for a new place to call home.

One example includes a Division of The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs offering flexible down payment assistance and mortgage tax credits to people in the area. It also provides full-time live support from its mortgage and real estate professionals... and that's just one of the 49 programs in Texas listed on the My State MLS Financial Assistance Directory.

"If you are in danger of foreclosure or eviction, use the directory and click on your state to find the programs that may help you stay in your home," said Dawn Pfaff, founder and president of My State MLS. "The directory also has help for first-time homebuyers."

How the Government Continues to Help

This May, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it is doubling the size of its eviction protection program. While it will not provide direct rental relief, it will fund legal services and representations for individuals and families facing eviction.

"We need to keep doing all that we can to help people maintain quality housing," said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge in a press release. "We know that access to legal services and eviction diversion programs works. It helps people avoid evictions and protects tenants' rights."

The funding can also be used to help landlords, especially small ones with months of unpaid rent and bills. This can also help reduce caseloads in eviction courts around the country.

As federal rental aid runs out, the Biden administration wants more states and cities to step in, according to an NPR article. For example, New York recently committed $800 million of its pandemic recovery money toward helping struggling renters stay in their homes.

This May, Detroit City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that provides free lawyers for low-income Detroiters facing eviction.

An Attorney Can Help Too

You can also get an attorney to help you stay in your home regardless of your income. The right to counsel program, signed into law in 2017, is meant to address the legal disparity in New York City, where only one in ten tenants in housing court had a lawyer. According to NPR, most landlords had legal representation.

You can also learn what questions to ask when choosing a lawyer and find organizations that give free legal advice and may help you find a free or low-cost attorney here.

But, things are busy. Curbed reports 200,000 eviction lawsuits filed in New York City in the last two years. An additional 13,000 lawsuits were filed in February and March. Lawyers for low-income clients say they can't keep up due to the rate at which court dates are being scheduled combined with a dire staffing crunch.

Still, there is help available in a variety of forms - whether it be online resources like databases, extended government programs, or attorneys giving a voice to residents, who need it the most.

My State MLS is encouraging real estate agents and brokers to use our Financial Assistance Directory to help their clients if they need assistance. 

See More [My State MLS Financial Assistance Directory]

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