Millions in emergency rental assistance still available for Omaha residents

“We will be continuing to give out direct assistance past the state’s September 9th date”
Eviction cases are on the rise in Douglas County, according to the Legal Aid of Nebraska.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 6:01 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - $134 million still sits on the table for people in Nebraska who are facing rental problems.

The deadline to apply is in five weeks, September 9, except in the City of Omaha and Lincoln too. They run on different programs.

“The city’s had, since 2021 and 2022, about 90 million in direct assistance for individuals. MACCH and our community partners have provided a little over $71 million in direct assistance to 13,000 households in the city limits. So there’s still a considerable amount of dollars that are still available, and people can still apply today and into the future to have access to that assistance,” said Jason Feldhaus, executive director of MACCH.

That leaves about $20 million available, for now. There’s more to come, according to the executive director.

The city applied for a second round of emergency rental assistance money from the federal government, which the governor rejected at the beginning of the year.

There will be “over another $100 million for the next three years in direct assistance for individuals,” said Feldhaus.

$134 million still sits on the table for people in Nebraska who are facing rental problems.

The reason Omaha handles the emergency rental assistance program separately is that its population is big enough to contract directly with the federal government. That also means there’s no hard upcoming deadline to apply for these funds.

“We will be continuing to give out direct assistance past the state’s September 9th date,” said Feldhaus.

According to Legal Aid of Nebraska, one of the reasons that there’s still millions of dollars left in emergency rental assistance left in the pot is a simple lack of awareness that it’s even there. Attorney Scott Mertz says that sometimes for his clients, it’s the first time they’re hearing about the ERA program when they’re already facing eviction.

“We are still 15 months [into the program] and being the first ones to inform a lot of our clients that this money is out there, that they qualify for it that, there are some steps they have to take to access it,” said Mertz, director of the Housing Justice Project at Legal Aid of Nebraska.

“A lot of people have misunderstandings about this money and maybe they think they don’t qualify for it. Most people do qualify for it if they’re low-income renters who are under threat for an eviction,” he said.

Click here to see if you qualify for emergency rental assistance. Or call 2-1-1 with questions.

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