Wake County program offers eviction, assistance for COVID-19 impacted renters

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A new program offering eviction assistance for Wake County residents but keeping residents in their home will depend on cooperation from landlords.

House Wake! will utilize $17 million in CARES Act funding to help keep renters in their homes. The county estimated the program could help up to 3,000 households.

“Having a home has never been more important. It’s a basic need for all of us and that need is being threatened,” said Wake County Commissioner Greg Ford.

The program comes months ahead of the end of an eviction moratorium set by the Center for Disease Control. The moratorium lasts through the end of the year.

House Wake! takes a three-pronged approach:

  • Eviction prevention
  • Eviction mediation services
  • Relocation assistance

Eviction Prevention

The first part of the program relies on a landlord’s willingness to lose out on a portion of past and future rent dollars.

Wake County said they would pay up to 50 percent of back rent owed from March 2020 to December 2020.

The landlord must be willing to forgive the other 50 percent. They must also agree to discount rent from January 2021 to March 2021 by 25 percent.

Additionally, they would have to agree hold back from eviction processes during the process.

Source: The Aspen Institute

To qualify, renters need to show they were unable to pay rent because of the pandemic. That cause could be a loss of income from job loss or medical emergency directly related to COVID-19. Any proof must be date March 13 or later.

Section 8 renters or anyone receiving other rental assistance do not qualify.

Click here to start an application for eviction prevention. You can also call 919-899-9911 to have an application mailed to you.

Eviction Mediation

If a landlord is not willing to agree to the county’s terms, the process than moves into mediation. Wake County has partnered it Legal Aid of North Carolina to move through this portion.

Legal Aid NC would represent tenants against landlords in court proceedings if necessary. They would also negotiate a settlement with a landlord.

If a person is not eligible for assistance through House Wake!, Legal Aid NC may still be able to help sort out legal issues.

The organization statewide helpline is 866-219-5262.

Relocation assistance

If a renter goes through step one and two and still needs to move, Wake County’s program then moves someone into the relocation assistance step.

“We will not only keep renters from being displaced, but we will also ensure landlords receive a portion of the money they are owed,” said Ford.

Click here to find housing assistance from nonprofits and other organizations throughout the county.

Earlier this month, the county announced a new hotline for those struggling with secure housing. The county said the hotline is meant to help directly match a person’s needs with services and help prevent homelessness .

The hotline number is 919-443-0096. An email can also be sent to HW_AH@partnershipwake.org.

Housing insecurity

Prior to the CDC’s extension of COVID-19 eviction moratorium’s, a report from the Aspen Institute found 30-40 million people nationwide were at of eviction. They said those numbers made up 29 to 43 percent of renter households.

The CDC’s latest household survey found 7.3 percent of North Carolina adults were not current on rent or mortgage payments or who had slight or no confidence that their household could pay next month’s rent or mortgage on time. A staggering 30.9 percent of North Carolina adults reported being at risk for eviction or foreclosure in the next two months.

Source: CDC

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