A Kettering program that has awarded $4.4 million to help south suburban renters avoid eviction has frozen applications until Montgomery County decides to how to divide the remaining federal emergency COVID-related money.
The county said Kettering, where eviction court filings are rising, is second among its partner entities for the share of the county’s $21 million that it has distributed. Poverty-combatant Homefull in Dayton tops this list at $6.7 million, according to the county.
Kettering halted requests for its Stay Put program at the start of this year because the $311,000 it has remaining is sufficient for fewer than 25% of the unprocessed applications from its residents and those in Centerville, Moraine and Washington Twp., said Angela Rahman, Kettering community development manager.
The application freeze follows a year that saw the eviction filings in Kettering Municipal Court — whose jurisdiction includes the four south suburban communities — surpass the pre-COVID 2019 cases by the end of November, court records show.
Kettering’s program has approved funds for 1,083 recipients, 320 of whom “have been directly saved from eviction,” Rahman said.
“When we went into this, we never anticipated helping this many people,” Rahman said. “We’ve done 10 times what we would have expected.”
The emergency funds come from the U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance program, which started in 2021 to help qualified applicants impacted by COVID remain in their homes.
Funding and evictions
Montgomery County has about $5 million remaining to be distributed before the program ends, according to communications director Deb Decker.
“Decisions on how to commit and expend funds will be made by mid to late February,” Decker said in an email. “As of right now, we are looking at limited rental assistance with a focus on utilities assistance.”
The county will continue working with Homefull and Kettering while possibly adding other partners, she said.
To qualify for funds, recipients must have been impacted by COVID through job loss, layoffs or personal circumstances, officials have said. Maximum annual income cutoffs are also involved. They range from $47,150 for a one-person household to $88,850 for a family of eight, Kettering records show.
Funding will be exhausted by Sept. 30, if not before, county officials have said.
The federal aid came a year after a COVID moratorium on evictions was issued. The 2020 temporary ban helped cut the number of eviction filings to 351 in 2020 and 450 in 2021, Kettering court Clerk Rob Scott has said.
Evictions filed in that court last year totaled 669, nearly 90 more than the year before the pandemic, data shows.
“There is still a great need for emergency rental assistance,” said Tom Robillard, Kettering planning and development director.
“There are many residents who’ve got low-income jobs that are struggling to keep up with the rent, especially in times of high inflation, struggling to keep up with the rent and put food on their table,” he added. “It has been really a tremendous assistance for those residents.”
Kettering has about 300 unprocessed applications but the funds it currently has remaining are enough to serve about 70 recipients, Rahman said.
To date, recipients in five ZIP codes have accounted for nearly 63% of the recipients approved by Kettering, with more than $2.8 million distributed, according to city records.
Leading the list are zip code 45420 (168 recipients) and 45429 (156).
Top zip codes for Kettering Stay Put funding
|ZIP code||Recipients ||Total|
Source: City of Kettering
Montgomery County has distributed about $21 million in U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance funds. The five entities receiving the most money for recipients include:
•Homefull: $6.72 million
•City of Kettering: $4.45 million
•Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley: $2.76 million
•Salvation Army Dayton Kroc Center: $2.60 million.
•Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley: $2.55 million
Source: Montgomery County