Dane Co. rolls out $10 million plan to help renters during pandemic

Published: May. 18, 2020 at 10:07 AM CDT
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Dane County plans to spend millions of dollars to help residents affected by the coronavirus pandemic avoid eviction.

“The immediate needs to prevent eviction for those affected by the virus must be addressed,” county officials said in a statement announcing the plan.

County leaders announced the $10 million initiative Monday afternoon, saying they hoped to prevent tenants from being thrown out of their homes and improve people’s access to housing. The county also intends to take steps to improve housing stability.

According to its numbers, more than 36,000 people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began, leaving them vulnerable unable to pay their bills because of job loss or a reduction in pay.

“This $10 million eviction prevention fund and housing stability effort will help more individuals and families be able to stay in the place they call home or help them secure housing instead of returning to a local shelter,” Parisi continued.

The county plans to team up with the Tenant Resource Center to administer the fund. Tenants in need can apply for assistance from it using the existing online application process. In addition to the funding, the lessees will be given housing counseling, the landlords will be provided information on federal mortgage protection, mediation, and other services.

The center’s Executive Director Robin Soreno said his agency is excited for the opportunity to work with Dane County on this project and the agency is committed to making sure both tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities.

“The Tenant Resource Center takes the work of housing justice seriously—housing is a human right,” Soreno added.

According to numbers from Dane County, around 2,300 eviction filings are submitted each year. Tenant Resource Center says that number could rise to 6,000-12,000 because of the pandemic. The $10 million grant is meant to help 9,000 of them.

The money to pay for the program comes from the $2 trillion federal stimulus package.