The Tulsa Housing Authority is encouraging renters in Tulsa County who have struggled financially to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for a share of federal relief allocated as part of the federal CARES Act.
The Tulsa Housing Authority Emergency Rental Assistance Program recently received $15 million in funding from Tulsa County. THA Vice President for Strategic Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs Jeff Hall told a virtual meeting of the Greater Tulsa African American Affairs Commission on Tuesday that the program had received about 3,500 applications totaling $5 million in claims thus far.
Applicants must provide proof of income loss or job loss and a copy of their lease. Landlords are then required to provide proof of property ownership and a copy of their W9 form.
Commission Vice Chair Gregory Robinson II asked Hall if landlords were showing resistance to accepting payments from the program, as was recently reported by the Associated Press about a similar, city-administered program.
"I wouldn't say that we've had a ton where tenants applied and the landlords just said no, but what we have had, so to speak, is less applications in certain areas of town that we know have high concentrations of rental apartments," Hall said.
"What we're hearing is that the landlord says, 'Well, that's great you can get them current to now, but what about September's rent?'"
Hall said the program had already approved 1,700 applications from Tulsa County renters.
Commission member Darryl Bright asked Hall whether there would be assistance available past the Dec. 31st cutoff stipulated by the CARES Act.
"It's hard to predict, to be honest," Hall said. "Right now, I think we all see what the federal government has allocated, which is what we're working on. As of right now, Tulsa County hasn't allocated all of the funds they've received, so our hope is -- it's always been our hope -- that we can show more applicants that we have funding, that we can go back to the county and try to get more."
"Right now, there is no funding dedicated or allocated post-December, and I think that will be interesting to see, to be honest. Not to speak to policy or anything like that, but because of the new CDC moratorium on evictions, January is that new tsunami, so to speak, or that new cliff for evictions. So it's our hope that we cover everyone we can between now and January."
Hall said the aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funding runs out. He encourages renters seeking assistance located anywhere in Tulsa County to apply. More information on the program and how to apply is available at the program's website.