County approves $1M of federal money to help residents in public housing pay rent

More help is on its way for hundreds of Montgomery County residents living in public housing who are struggling to pay rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Montgomery County Commission approved an agreement to partner with Greater Dayton Premier Management and provide $1 million in federal money to help pay for past due rent. Greater Dayton Premier Management is a local housing authority that provides affordable housing options for residents who have lower incomes.

“The purpose of this funding will be to assist (people) who have been impacted during COVID-19 and who meet all program requirements, with the main goal to keep those (people) housed,” the agreement says.

Montgomery County has had conversations with the local housing authority for several months about how to help public housing residents who were impacted by the pandemic, said Tawana Jones, Montgomery County’s operations manager for community and economic development.

“Without this assistance, it is a real possibility that tenants will be facing eviction. These funds will be used to address arrears for no more than 18 months, with the period going back to March 13, 2020,” Jones said.

The money being used is federal money from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is part of the American Rescue Plan. However, the money is not part of the $103 million ARPA funds that the county received. The county has spent $15.4 million of federal ERAP money since last year and there could be more in the future.

“This $1 million that is going to GDPM is specifically to help those tenants ... who (who late) in their rent payments and also receive HUD assistance,” Montgomery County spokeswoman Deb Decker said.

GDPM is familiar with the tenants in need of help, Jones said, and is working with the clients who have the most significant past due amounts first.

“Greater Dayton Premier Management is grateful for the Montgomery County Commissioners continued support for those most vulnerable in our community,” GDPM CEO Jennifer Heapy said. “The rental assistance will go directly to assisting our families, including our large population of elderly, disabled and working poor. It is a clear example of the collaborative and forward-thinking efforts by the County to tackle the lasting economic impacts of the pandemic and to assist in providing housing stability.”

The Montgomery County commissioners approved the agreement last week.

“We know that people are really still struggling so this is a wonderful thing for us to be dong with ARPA dollars,” Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Leiberman said.

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