AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — When the eviction moratorium expired Saturday, 200 households in Augusta faced eviction. Augusta Housing and Community Development was prepared to step in and provide assistance. Late Tuesday, the CDC implemented a new eviction moratorium, protecting tenants until October 3rd.
“All over the country, we’re facing an eviction crisis,” Jordan Johnson, the District 1 Commissioner of Augusta-Richmond County, explains. “We don’t want to be a part of that in Richmond County. If you need assistance, we have the dollars to help you.”
Augusta Housing and Community Development has received $6 million from the federal government, as part of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. It has about $4 million remaining. It has partnered with the United Way of the CSRA to help distribute that money to residents to help pay rent and utility bills. Tenants who qualify for assistance are eligible for up to 12 months of back pay and three months of future expenses. They need to fill out the CDC’s Eviction Protection Declaration and give it to their landlord before contacting United Way. The money they qualify for will be paid directly to landlords.
“We need tenants to apply. We need landlords to agree to accept the funding. If that happens, we’re good.”
“Any rental household that is behind on their renter or utility bills needs to reach out to our partners at United Way’s 2-1-1 line,” Daniel Evans, the Community Development Manager of Augusta Housing and Community Development, adds.
170 eviction hearings were scheduled for August, according to the Warrants Office for Augusta’s Magistrate Court. Representatives from Augusta Housing and Community Development were there in the court room ready to help tenants.
“We have literally taken the application process to the courtroom,” Johnson explains. “When you’re facing the judge, you have the opportunity to go get help and your eviction process halts. The money’s there. We’re not sitting on it. We’re trying to get it out as fast as we can.”
Once the moratorium was implemented Tuesday, 59 hearings and two evictions were cancelled.
Johnson, the co-chair of Augusta’s Homeless Task Force, says he does not want “to create a sense of panic” because the city “is not at that point yet.”
“We are not in a position where we are going to have folks homeless because of this.”
But, Johnson urges tenants to seek help as soon as possible.
“At the end of the day, we don’t want people on the streets. We don’t want people in our shelters because there’s no more room.”
“We have sufficient funds to help you,” he adds. “It’s not a matter of you being evicted because the services are not there. It’s a matter of us getting the services to you.”
How to get help
Fill out the CDC’s Eviction Protection Declaration
If you live in the CSRA, contact United Way of the CSRA by
- Texting “Rent” to 50503, or
- Completing the form on: uwcsra.org
If you live in Georgia, contact the Georgia Department of Community Affairs
If you live in South Carolina, contact SC Housing