A CityHeart Moment – Helping our neighbors apply for CARES Act funds during COVID-19 pandemic!

The most successful impact story we have recently experienced is to assist our clientele in making application to the local Community Action Agency for CARES Act funds. Our Program Services Assistant, Anthony, was involved in assisting three neighbors to apply. These three neighbors all had the same landlord. They were all delinquent in their rent for 2-3 months due to loss of employment from the pandemic. They were challenged by the online application process. Anthony helped to submit the three applications. When the clients were contacted by representatives from the CAP program, they were told that their landlord would need to submit paperwork, with social security number and w-9 form. They reported back to CityHeart that their out-of-state landlord was refusing to comply with the request. They were distraught on how to proceed. We agreed to advocate on their behalf with the landlord, because apparently, she didn’t want to give out her personal information and most likely didn’t trust her tenants. After two or three phone conversations between CityHeart and the landlord, we convinced her that this was a legitimate program, the funding was being provided by the CARES Act, and that the money would come directly to her, not her tenants. In order to process the applications, she must comply and provide her social security number, her tax ID number for the IRS, so that the Community Action Agency could distribute the money for the rent owed by her tenants. In the end, we secured the housing for all three of these clients, and their landlord received a few thousand dollars in rent payment. Finally, after she understood how much the program would benefit both her and her tenants, this landlord began referring her other tenants to apply directly for the CARES funds or to call CityHeart if they needed help. Often it just takes the right approach and the proper language to bring clarity to a situation. This is a perfect example of how CityHeart can advocate in this type of situation to help our neighbors and give them hope. We continue to assist financially with utilities and will leverage the government funds for rent until they are depleted. The current deadline is December 31 for applications, so please pray with us that more funding is approved soon to aid these families in crisis.