Thursday, May 12 2022

This program will provide eligible tenants with up to 18 months of rent and utility assistance paid directly to participating landlords and service providers.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – Over the past two years, the cost of housing in Georgia has increased dramatically and has left many individuals and families homeless or displaced.

To help ease the pressure on rents, last week the Georgia Ministry of Consumer Affairs launched the Georgia Rental Assistance Program. This program will provide eligible tenants with up to 18 months of rent and utility assistance paid directly to participating landlords and service providers on behalf of tenants.

In DeKalb County, the program has also partnered with the DeKalb County School District and the DeKalb National Council of Black Women to focus on reducing the number of homeless and displaced students in schools.

With the DeKalb NCNW Chapter leading the program, President Derrica Williams spoke about the impact of housing insecurity on children in schools.

“We support them, we stand by them, we fight for them and we make our children a priority,” she said. “Many of us are one paycheck away from being in the same position as many of these families. So, as I spoke to principals, school counselors, and social workers at schools in our county, we find that one of the main reasons for low attendance is that these families have been relocated. »

According to the DCSD, 17% of students in the district are considered homeless and 72% are eligible for free or reduced lunch. DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry believes that when it comes to housing insecurity, these two things go hand in hand.

“When the schools were closed, there were so many children who depended on the school for that meal or sometimes that meal, and the choices between housing and food should never materialize,” she said. . “But providing housing through the Housing Assistance Scheme may make that decision easier for families to say, I’m going to feed my kids, my rent is taken care of.”

To ensure people have enough access and time to apply for the program, the district will launch after-school computer labs in schools. Additionally, they are also launching a mobile school bus unit equipped with computers and printers to drive around the county for residents to get help applying for the program.

However, those who want to know if they are eligible for the program but do not want to go to a school to find out, the program offers a pre-screening questionnaire that will tell people if they have all the necessary documents and qualify to qualify for the benefits of the program. The documents required are different for landlords and tenants, so community leaders said those who wish to apply should bring whatever they think they need.

To apply for the program, individuals can go to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs website. Applicants can expect to receive a response three to four weeks after applying.

This program will continue until funds run out, so apply now to receive benefits soon.

“These resources are available and our goal is to work to help eliminate household insecurities through this program. So spread the word, come. Go to the website. Get started and we’ll see you,” DeBerry said.

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