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Emergency Rental Assistance Now Available from Tulsa Housing Authority

The Tulsa Housing Authority is now taking applications for an emergency rental assistance program funded by Tulsa County’s share of federal coronavirus relief dollars.

An online portal is available for people who have lost their jobs or are receiving less pay during the pandemic. Up to $3,000 per household will be given on a first come, first served basis, but applications will be held open for two weeks once completed.

"Because if we see this order of magnitude well exceeding the $15 million that the county’s approved for us, we hope to kind of go back to the county or other funders to say, 'Look at the need. There’s more there. Are there more funds available?'" said THA Vice President of Strategic Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs Jeff Hall.

The online application is also for a rent assistance program managed by Restore Hope, which received federal funds from the state. Hall said they wanted to streamline the process for people in need.

"It also expands the need, because when it gets down to it, if we run out of funding and Jeff still has funding, there may be a way for us to serve more people," Hall said.

The "Jeff" that Hall referred to is the Rev. Jeff Jaynes, executive director of Restore Hope. Jaynes said Congress must reinstate a federal moratorium on evictions to reduce some of the fear and anxiety people are facing.

"I can’t imagine being in a situation where you’re trying to figure out your housing and trying to figure out if it’s safe for your kid to go to school or to do distance learning," Jaynes said.

Through Sept. 4, people who need help with the application process can also call 918-236-0949, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

One analysis estimates 51% of Oklahoma's renter households could have trouble paying rent, leading to 158,000 eviction filings over the next four months.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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