LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s estimated thousands of Clark County households are struggling to afford rent or face eviction. It’s about to get worse because a county assistance program that tenants depended on is changing its eligibility requirements.
During the pandemic, Nevada saw one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and federal money was used to help people avoid evictions. One of the measures was the roll-out of the CARES Housing Assistance Program, or CHAP, which offered rental assistance. The program provided $375 million in rental assistance to landlords and kept 70,000 households from facing eviction, but that program is changing its eligibility requirements.
According to the CHAP website, applications submitted under current eligibility requirements will no longer be accepted effective 11:50 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. New eligibility requirements will be in place on Jan. 23, 2023, and narrow the scope of who is eligible for rental assistance. The new requirements include:
- At least one member of a household must be living on a fixed income e.g., Social Security, VA benefits, or pension
- Have experienced a rent increase within the 12-month period prior to the date of application.
- Received an eviction notice for non-payment of rent.
- Have filed an answer to the eviction notice in Justice Court.
Under the new criteria, the program is focused on those most at risk for eviction such as the elderly and disabled.
“This last three years has been a situation we have not seen in our community. We made it past post 9/11 when there was a slowdown in business, we made it through the last economic recession, the housing crisis. We saw dire consequences. We expect this recovery to be a much longer road because it was a much deeper cut very quickly,” administrator with Clark County Human Services Tim Burch, said.
Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada said around 300 people seek eviction help daily from the Civil Law Self-Help Center, which helps tenants file answers to their evictions. According to the center, tenants who receive an eviction notice must act quickly and file an answer to the notice.
You can do that at this link. Just click “Start a Filing” then in the drop-down select “Summary Eviction: Tenant’s Answer.” You should put the status of your rental assistance application in your tenant answer or tell the judge if you appear in court. If ordered to go to diversion court, follow through and bring all documentation.
You can find free forms and help at the Civil Law Self-Help Center in the Regional Justice Center or at this link.
Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada can be reached at (702) 386-1070 or you can click here to visit their website.
Another program that offers rental assistance is HopeLink. The City of Las Vegas has RAFT (Rental Assistance For Tenants) and there is the Housing Navigation Center at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.