Wake County rental assistance program frustrates tenants who are running out of money

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The $90 million program that is supposed to help people avoid eviction in Wake County is continuing to frustrate some with lags between the filing of applications and answers about eligibility.

On Monday, CBS 17 told you about the frustration of landlords with the lag time between application submission and answers about qualification in the program.

Now, we are hearing from applicants.

The House Wake program says the average time between submitting an application and payment is 30-45 days, but that’s not the case for everyone.

“I heard about the program and submitted all my documentation back in July to try and get assistance,” said Chiquetta Harris Leathers.

She says her caseworker at Telamon Corporation, which runs the program for the County, said everything was fine.

“She told me she had everything I needed to be considered,” said Harris Leathers

By September 21, Harris Leathers was growing anxious. She emailed her caseworker and the next day got a phone call from her with bad news.

“She said I realized I sent you an email, but I forgot to press send so you never got what it is I was needing,” said Harris Leathers.

As soon as she found out what documents were missing, Harris Leathers said she emailed them to her caseworker.

Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia asked Harris Leathers if it appeared the clock was resetting as soon as she resubmitted in September.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I hope not because I did everything she told me to do from the beginning.”

Since September 21, she’s heard nothing from her caseworker at Telamon.

“I literally called every week,” she said. “I get voicemails, or I leave a message. No return calls – nothing.

In an emailed statement to CBS 17, the company said: “Unfortunately, Telamon has experienced staff turnover in the Eviction Prevention Specialist positions, just like most employers across the country.”

Sbraccia asked Harris Leathers if her caseworker was still employed at Telamon.

“You know, I don’t know,” she said.

Telamon advises people to use its online portal to track their applications.

“I tried the portal,” said Harris Leathers. “It’s not user-friendly and I don’t get anything from it.”

With her unemployment gone and her savings about exhausted, she needs an answer to know if she’s qualified or not.

Sbraccia contacted Wake County about Harris Leather’s situation.

They told him due to confidentially restrictions, they can’t reveal the status of her application.

However, Wake County spokeswoman Leah Holdren said they did reach out to Telamon officials on Harris Leather’s behalf.

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