OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s been a busy two years for Community Cares Partners.
“I will say it’s been really wonderful the way that people have stepped up from agencies across town, across state,” said Ginny Bass Carl, Community Cares Partners (CCP) Executive Director.
In Your Corner has followed the COVID housing crisis from the start.
Hundreds of families across the state, suddenly jobless, faced possible homelessness had it not been for a federal eviction moratorium, and groups like CCP, giving out federal dollars, to help fill the gap with rent.
So far, more than 71-thousand Oklahoma households have been helped.
“So, it’s been really, really beneficial for them to give them a little breathing room and let them stand up on their feet,” Bass said. “It’s prevented a lot of evictions.”
But with the ending of that eviction moratorium around a year ago, many Oklahomans are facing uncertain futures once again.
KFOR has spoken with recently-evicted families, struggling to find what’s next.
“We don’t have nowhere to go,” said Cheryl Castulo, who faced eviction this summer. “I mean, I called a few shelters and stuff. I called the Salvation Army; they don’t have enough room for me and five kids.”
Numbers from Oklahoma County show a steady increase in the last year to pre-pandemic-like numbers,
with evictions filed, nearly doubling in both June and July from that of 2021.
Even more concerning, says Community Cares Partners, is a rise in landlords simply turning down the federal rental assistance dollars.
“Yes, they would rather evict,” said Carl.
“Why is that?” asked In Your Corner’s Adam Snider.
“Churn and burn, because we have about 95 percent, 98 percent occupancy rate, so they’re lined up ready to move in,” said Carl.
But there is still money available to those in need, and time to apply is running out. So who qualifies?
“You have to be an Oklahoman. You have to live in Oklahoma. You’ve got to be a renter,” said Carl. “You have to have suffered a financial hardship, either directly or indirectly due to COVID or any time during the pandemic.”
The deadline to apply is just over a week away, on Aug. 31, but you’ll need to be patient, as CCP is currently processing more than 30,000 applications.
But with a 95 percent approval rating and close to $61 million left to dole out, there’s still a lot of aid available.
Important note, according to CCP, one of the biggest problems they have with applications, far too often, they’re not complete, and an incomplete application will not be approved.
Cross your t’s, dot your i’s, triple-check everything before hitting send.
Again the deadline is midnight, Aug. 31.