Inflation is a major factor in the higher totals, officials said. The numbers would be even greater if not for Kettering’s emergency rental assistance program, which is administered through Montgomery County, Kettering Clerk of Courts Rob Scott told the Dayton Daily News.
“The court is witnessing this from folks not being able to afford to pay their owed court costs and fines, to even an increase in the number of evictions,” Scott said.
With the housing shortage, we're finding that landlords are less willing to work with tenants who fall behind.
- Angela Rahman, Kettering community development manager
Kettering received $2 million more in federal relief from the county earlier this year to serve the four communities. But those funds “are being depleted,” City Manager Matt Greeson said recently.
Distributions this year through mid-July, city records show, account for about 23% of the nearly $5.67 million Kettering’s Stay Put program has awarded since the emergency funding started in 2021.
The U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance program was designed to help qualified applicants impacted by COVID remain in their homes.
Recipients must have been impacted by COVID through job loss, layoffs or personal circumstances, officials have said.
Maximum annual income requirements are also involved. They range from $47,150 for a one-person household to $88,850 for a family of eight, Kettering records show.
The county, which officials said received $27 million for the program, distributes money to Kettering and other participating entities such as anti-homelessness agency Homefull, which has been awarded the largest share.
Kettering has received about $6.5 million, but an estimated $850,000 is left, with more than 200 applications yet to be processed, said Angela Rahman, the city’s community development manager.
Its backlog is about six to eight weeks, and the program is seeing anywhere from three to seven new requests daily, she said.
The continuing demand is due to “a perfect storm of several things,” Rahman said. “One, rents are incredibly high. With the housing shortage, we’re finding that landlords are less willing to work with tenants who fall behind.”
The average recipient of the 1,370-plus awarded funds from Kettering’s program pays $897 a month, according to the city.
Rising costs in general are a significant factor in the number of eviction cases filed, said Rahman, and county and court officials.
“Many in the region are combating inflationary increases at the gas pump, grocery store and generally everything, leaving less monies for their housing,” Scott said.
Through June 30, Kettering’s court has seen 302 eviction filings so far this year, a rate on pace to exceed the 581 filed four years ago, records show. In 2022, 669 cases were filed.
“If it wasn’t for this program, the court’s eviction numbers would be higher during the past two years,” Scott said.
The county is “seeing a similar trend” in demand for funding, spokeswoman Kara Hamby told this news outlet.
“While every person’s situation is unique, some of the contributing factors for the demand in rental assistance are increasing rental rates, lack of affordable housing and the general costs of inflation,” Hamby added.
Factors driving demand
To date, Kettering’s program has helped at least 367 recipients in the court’s jurisdiction avoid evictions, officials said. Factors for the funding demand, according to Kettering, include:
• Single-family incomes;
• Lack of access to high-paying jobs;
• Lack of affordable childcare;
• Many living from paycheck to paycheck;
• Lack of sick leave or paid time off;
• Lack of reliable transportation.
Greeson said last week that after Aug. 18, applications for renters in active evictions with a court date scheduled will be accepted by appointment only, while walk-in appointments will no longer be taken.
Requests currently in the system “will continue to be reviewed, and applicants missing information will have a couple of weeks to provide the documentation that is necessary,” he added.
Kettering’s program, which earlier this year put restrictions on who could request funds, is now accepting “any and all eligible applicants,” Rahman said.
She said the program appears to have funding for about 10 or 11 more weeks.
“I think the city will stop taking applications when it’s clear that we don’t have enough funding or we are just about at that level where we can’t cover everyone we already have,” Rahman said.
She said a meeting is scheduled next week between the county, Homefull and Kettering to see if there are any remaining funds and how they may be distributed.
Kettering Municipal Court eviction filings have increased the past two years after COVID-mandated restrictions were lifted.
Year — Filings
2019 — 581
2020 — 358
2021 — 450
2022 — 669
2023 — 302*
*Through June 30.
Source: Kettering Municipal Court
TOP ZIP CODES
Kettering’s Stay Put program in 2023 has awarded about $1.29 million to at least 316 recipients. The following are the ZIP codes in which the most funds were distributed.
Zip code — Total funds
45417 — $260,693 (80 recipients)
45429 — $236,190 (58 recipients)
45420 — $132,512 (34 recipients)
45439 — $128,801 (23 recipients)
45440 — $111,339 (28 recipients)
Source: city of Kettering