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More Federal Funding for renters could help those who are behind payments

As people struggle financially during the pandemic, a moratorium was placed on evictions to keep people in their homes unable to pay their rent.

West Tennessee Legal Services works hard to make sure residents are informed about their housing rights. According to one of their attorneys, Vanessa Bullock, they’ve been able to keep many residents in their homes.

“So I think we’ve done a decent job, and we’ve protected alot of people,” said Bullock

In addition to the nationwide moratorium, courts are closed, which works in many residents’ favor.

“our general sessions courts and most of our state’s courts are closed, for the time being, so no evictions are proceeding right now, which have provided even more protection for people than just the moratorium.”

Even though federal laws were put in place to keep residents off the streets, many will have to play catch up on rent payments. However, in the recent stimulus bill, there is financial assistance for renters.

“If these courts weren’t closed, then we were going to have a situation where that money would have been too late.”

Court closures were recently extended from January until the end of March.

There is about $25 billion available for renters assistance in the recent bill, and according to Bullock, Tennessee will get over $400 million.

“And we are getting what looks to be about $458 million,” said Bullock.

West Tennessee Legal Services and other agencies are hopeful that money will get residents caught up on their payments.

“I’m hopeful that this $458 million is going to be enough if we can just get people to the resources,” said Bullock.

West Tennessee Legal Services is working with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency to ensure residents get a hold of necessary resources.

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