More tenants in southern Gulf face eviction, but states are still slow to provide assistance
Landlords have also been a source of problems for tenants asking for help.
In Louisiana, some refused payments because they did not want to agree to certain program rules, such as the one that prevents them from evicting tenants for several months after accepting the assistance. Tammy Esponge, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater New Orleans, said the issue was one of the biggest complaints she’s heard from homeowners statewide.
Politics have also polarized the program for some homeowners, forcing some not to cooperate or even refuse to take the money. A lawyer mentioned a case where the owner refused the money because he thought it was communist.
Alabama lawyer Sarah Taggert represented an owner who refused to let the program write her a check because he did not want money from the Biden administration, despite passing the program to the end of Donald Trump’s presidential term. The landlord eventually agreed to take the money directly from the tenant.
“We had to get the check delivered to Legal, so Legal can give it to the tenant, and the tenant can give it to the landlord, so the landlord doesn’t get money from Joe Biden,” said Taggert. noted. “It was something.”
But Taggert says such situations are rare – it’s much more common for homeowners not to trust specific programs, like the one run by Alabama. Her clients have said they would be happy to work with some programs in the city that are known to get money quickly and efficiently, like Hunstville and Mobile County. But the state’s reputation for being slow and painstaking has the same owners who say they aren’t interested.
âI’d like to say it’s illogical, but I’ve been dealing with these programs and you never know when you’re going to get paid,â Taggert said. âYou can never have someone on the phone. I once received two checks for the same tenant for the same program, which made no sense.
State programs have improved a lot since they started – the federal government has relaxed its rules for distributing money and money and that is speeding up the flow of money. Alabama also puts some people in the front row if they have to appear in deportation court.
This story was produced by the Gulf States Newsroom, a collaboration between Mississippi Public Broadcasting, WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama, WWNO in New Orleans and NPR.