CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Those that need help with rent, mortgage, or utilities due to a COVID-19 hardship are encouraged to apply for assistance through the City’s emergency housing assistance program, RAMP CLT.
Time is almost up for thousands of families who have been depending on the federal eviction moratorium from the CDC to stay in their homes. The measure will officially end on July 31. It will allow landlords to start evicting people who have not paid rent due to the pandemic since the moratorium was enacted in September.
Throughout the pandemic, the City of Charlotte has provided emergency mortgage, rental, and utility assistance for those facing COVID-19 hardships through the RAMP CLT program, administered by DreamKey Partners on the City’s behalf.
Throughout the pandemic, the city has provided $33.7 million in rent, mortgage, and utility assistance to support over 11,000 families.
“We want to get this money out into the community, we want to keep people in their homes,” said Pamela Wideman, the director of the City of Charlotte's Housing & Neighborhood Services Department.
Thousands of families in the city and across Mecklenburg County are at risk of losing their homes with the eviction moratorium ending on Saturday.
"At least from what we hear there are about 19,000 households across Mecklenburg County that are late on rent," said Julie Porter, the president of the nonprofit DreamKey Partners.
They encourage people in Mecklenburg County who are at risk of eviction to apply for financial assistance.
"We’re going to be helping those most in need and who have serious eviction crisis first," Porter said.
As of Aug. 1, all RAMP CLT applicants who have an eviction court date scheduled within 90 days of their application will be placed in the Priority 1 category, which is the highest priority.
"Even if a customer has provided everything right, if they happen to be in a lower priority group they may see some time delay," Porter said.
DreamKey Partners has increased staff in order to accommodate the increased volume of application activity. To assist as many households facing eviction as possible, the maximum amount of assistance available will cover any rent owed and up to three months' rent forward.
Porter said the application process will take about four weeks.
Erin Barbee with DreamKey Partners says there are already around 14,000 applications, and the organization has paid out an average of $8,000 in rental assistance per family.
Even with the promise of more need incoming, Barbee said they aren’t concerned about running out of money just yet.
“It's all dependent upon the amount that each person needs," Barbee said. "If we’re paying out $8,000 per individual that would reduce the amount of people that would be able to receive assistance,” Barbee said.
With the current funds they have, they can help a few thousand more people but do expect additional funds to help with the influx.
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The City’s Dispute Settlement Program offers free mediation services with a trained, neutral third party of mediators who will work with landlords and tenants to reach an agreement. This provides an opportunity to express concerns, interests, and needs in a confidential setting, and provides an avenue for paying restitution for damages, losses, or rent.
Call the Landlord-Tenant Line at (704) 336-5330 or click here for more information.
Legal Aid of North Carolina has additional information and resources regarding the eviction moratorium. Additional rental assistance information is available on the RAMP CLT website.
Crisis Assistance Ministry will also use their housing navigators to communicate what community rental assistance is available.
Contact Lana Harris at email@example.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram.
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