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Millions of dollars in Emergency Rental Assistance coming to Tucson

Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 19:14:08-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Rent is going up everywhere.

“Initially, I started paying around $900 and when I renewed it went up to $1044,” College Student Julianna Alabado said. She says the increase does not mean improved amenities.

“We do not have any hot water, because their boilers have been broken for the last three weeks,” she said. “There are points when tenants do not have access to hot water.”

The City of Tucson and Pima County have already distributed $49 million in emergency rental assistance to over nine thousand households. They are now getting an additional 11 million dollars each.

“The Biden Administration said if the states do not move, then we will reallocate,” said Mayor Regina Romero.

Romero says the funds could help over 1,600 families in Tucson. Those eligible can qualify for up to a year of back rent and three months of future rent.

“It benefits everyone, the economy, the family that are prevented from becoming homeless, and the landlords that are getting their fare pay.”

Romero says there is still a long waiting list for Section 8 Housing in our community. The city has already requested another $13 million for emergency rental assistance and recently used American Rescue Plan money to buy 165 affordable housing units.

Alabado says she can always move back home with her mom if the rent rises too high. But she says she knows many people do not have that option.

“They are trapped in a way, forced to pay more money. It is unfortunate, because it is sort of just worsening the existing inequalities we have in society right now,” she said.