Millions in federal COVID aid still available for Dayton-area renters

Employees of Homefull help Montgomery County applicants who are calling in to seek rental assistance. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
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Employees of Homefull help Montgomery County applicants who are calling in to seek rental assistance. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

People can apply through the United Way’s Helplink, by dialing 211.

The vast majority of more than $22 million in federal aid remains available for qualifying Montgomery County tenants unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 issues.

The county and several contracting partners have awarded about $6.5 million to recipients, with the highest number of approvals and funds going to applicants with Dayton and Trotwood ZIP codes, officials said.

But “demand and need is great” in some south suburbs as well, Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said recently.

That city has agreed to accept $1 million more for its STAYPUT program after earlier approving $500,000 that has been awarded for residents of Centerville, Kettering, Moraine and Washington Twp.

Caption
Montgomery County and its partners have awarded about $6.5 million to recipients with highest number of approvals and funds going to applicants with Dayton and Trotwood ZIP codes, an official said. STAFF

Credit: STAFF

Montgomery County and its partners have awarded about $6.5 million to recipients with highest number of approvals and funds going to applicants with Dayton and Trotwood ZIP codes, an official said. STAFF
Caption
Montgomery County and its partners have awarded about $6.5 million to recipients with highest number of approvals and funds going to applicants with Dayton and Trotwood ZIP codes, an official said. STAFF

Credit: STAFF

Credit: STAFF

The county earlier this year received $15.8 million from the U.S. Treasury for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The American Rescue Plan Act has provided another $6.9 million, said Michael Zimmerman, a county spokesman.

The county is working with United Way of the Greater Dayton Area to take initial applications for rental assistance. People can apply by phone, by dialing 211 to reach the United Way Helplink.

The county’s contract with Homefull, a local agency working to end homelessness, started at $2 million in April and is now at $4 million, officials said. The agency has processed about 650 applications seeking relief for a variety of reasons, Homefull CEO Tina Patterson said.

“It’s folks who have been impacted one way or the other — whether it was an indirect job loss, reduced pay, time off because of sick children or caring for someone affected by COVID,” she said.

“The need is still here. It’s not like it’s gone away,” Patterson added.

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The agency works with applicants, and the county helps to ensure qualified candidates are approved, with funding going “quickly to the landlord so our tenants — the clients — don’t lose their housing,” Patterson said.

Homefull and Kettering are among several contractors working with the county. Others include Catholic Social Services of Miami Valley, Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley, HelpLink 211 and the Salvation Army Dayton Kroc Center, officials said.

To be eligible for funds, the county said, applicants must:

• Have qualified for unemployment benefits or attest by writing that they have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic;

• Be at risk of becoming homeless due to issues like past-due rent, eviction notices, or unsafe or unhealthy living conditions;

• Have a household income below 50% of area median income, which is $37,850 for a household of four.

The county seeks to prioritize lower-income households, Zimmerman said.

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Applicants are also asked if they have an upcoming court date, “because that elevates the priority in the system,” he added. “Those people who have an urgent need (get) assistance as quickly as possible.”

Approved applicants can get up to 12 months of rent in arrears plus three future months, Zimmerman said.

As a general rule, households can be eligible for only one funding award, officials said.

Nearly half of the more than 1,800 approved requests have involved households in four zip codes — 45405 (north Dayton along Main Street), 45406 (northwest Dayton, along and west of Salem Avenue), 45417 (west and southwest Dayton) and 45426 (Trotwood), county records show. Funding totals in those cases were at $3.4 million as of Oct. 28, Zimmerman said.

Through Oct. 29, the top areas receiving funds from Kettering’s STAYPUT program include the 45420, 45429, 45440, 45419 and 45439 ZIP codes across the south suburbs, according to the city.

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More than 110 households in Centerville, Kettering, Moraine and Washington Twp. have received funding since August, Kettering Planning and Development Director Tom Robillard said.

The city is overseeing the program because it is the home of the municipal court that handles eviction cases for all four jurisdictions, he said.

“The courts are involved in that they are helping us to spread the word for persons facing evictions,” Robillard added. “And then we work directly with the landlords. So the money goes to the landlord and not the tenant.”

The county’s deadline to disperse the treasury funding is Sept. 30, 2022, and the ARPA relief deadline is set for Sept. 30, 2025, Zimmerman said.


BOX 1: How to get help

To apply for rental assistance by phone, dial 211 to reach the United Way Helplink.

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BOX 2: Program partners

Montgomery County is contracting with partners to provide federal rental relief funds to qualifying applicants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those partners and the amounts contracted include:

• Homefull: $4 million

• Salvation Army Dayton Kroc Center: $2.75 million

• Catholic Social Services of Miami Valley: $2 million

• Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley: $2 million

• City of Kettering: $1.5 million

• HelpLink 211: $124,484

• Total: $12.37M

Source: Montgomery County

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BOX 3: STAYPUT funds

The city of Kettering is administering a rental relief program in Kettering, Centerville, Moraine and Washington Twp., all communities under the Kettering Municipal Court’s jurisdiction. Through Oct. 29, the ZIP codes where the most funds were approved for the program, called STAYPUT, included:

• 45420: $117,062

• 45429: $107,929

• 45440: $80,107

• 45419: $56,835

• 45439: $55,889

Source: City of Kettering

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