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Emergency Rental Assistance Program trying to get funds distributed

How applicants are being affected by having to wait for assistance.
Rent drop sign
Posted at 5:21 PM, Sep 29, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Pima county has helped over 18,512 households since the pandemic, despite delays and staffing shortages. The county is currently working to get the remaining funds to more people in need.

Julie Stout was at risk of being evicted in April, and applied for emergency rental assistance.

"There's so many bills that are past due,” she said. “It's just been really hard."

She had a heart attack in 2018 and then had COVID-19 twice, which worsened her condition.

"I ended up going on a medical leave at my job, and I exhausted all my time, and they had to let me go," she said.

After five months, she heard from the county about her application around a month ago. Now, she has until tomorrow to complete everything.

"I'll turn in the information and then it's something else that has to come. And then I'll turn in that information and then it's something else. But there are multiple people they're trying to get the information from. So it's not just me on a deadline it's other people," she said.

She said it's upsetting to be rushed after waiting so long because of what's at stake. "We would get evicted and I don't know where me and my kids would end up."

Dan Sullivan is the Pima County Community Workforce Development Director. He said staffing shortages and a department merger caused some delays, but they're trying to deliver those funds with a sense of urgency.

"These are serious situations that people are dealing with, the worst possible scenario that could happen with folks, of losing their houses. And then landlords also being out of funds that they've been missing because people having to pay their rent so we take that very, very seriously," he said.

He said there could be delays in providing assistance if the county does not receive the next round of funds by November.

Once he receives those funds, he hopes to be able to continue the program for as long as possible.

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Reyna Preciado is a reporter for KGUN 9, she joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after graduating Arizona State University. Share your story ideas with Reyna by emailing reyna.preciado@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram, or Twitter.