ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Atlanta Housing announce a program to help some residents struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bottoms and Atlanta Housing CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. say the program is to help seniors, families, and other residents who live in AH-owned or subsidized units who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes Housing Choice Voucher Program participants.
Those residents can certify their current income and upon approval, receive a rent reduction, up to 100 percent of the contract rent, for two months, covering the months of April and May 2020, with AH making payment directly to the property owner or management company.
“These measures will provide much-needed relief for those who desperately need it,” Bottoms said. “As we—as a community—navigate unprecedented circumstances as a result of COVID-19, we have a responsibility to exhaust all reasonable options to support Atlanta families.”
“Atlanta Housing’s rent relief efforts are designed to address the financial uncertainty residents face due to the pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place order,” said AH Board Chair Dr. Christopher Edwards. “AH will continue to champion Mayor Bottoms’ initiatives, who has shown compassionate leadership throughout this crisis, and we will continue to be responsive to the needs of our residents.”
Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) Residents
If an HCVP-assisted household experiences a loss of income, such as a furlough or layoff due to COVID-19, they should request an interim recertification through the normal process, by contacting AH to give notice of their income decrease. Upon determination of eligibility, residents can be granted a rent reduction for two months (60 days), covering up to 100 percent of the contract rent, starting April 2020, with no repayment requirement. Replacement income, such as unemployment benefits, may be considered when determining household rent responsibility on a case-by-case basis. Property owners can expect payment from AH within 15 days of an approved request.
All Other AH-Assisted Residents
Residents of AH-owned high rises, scattered site housing developments, or any AH-subsidized unit within a multifamily community should contact the on-site property management staff to request a hardship interim recertification. Upon determination of eligibility, residents can be granted a rent reduction for two months (60 days), covering up to 100 percent of the contract rent, starting April 2020, with no repayment requirement. Replacement income, such as unemployment benefits, may be considered when determining household rent responsibility on a case-by-case basis. Property owners can expect payment from AH within 15 days of an approved request.
Those experiencing financial hardship over a longer term due to COVID-19 can have their situation reassessed and receive additional extensions. Further extensions also may be granted if Georgia’s shelter-in-place order extends into June 2020.
Flexibility from Property Owners
While Georgia’s shelter-in-place order is in effect and greatly restricts citizens’ ability to earn income and carry out normal daily functions, AH strongly urges private property owners to provide needed flexibility to their residents, such as the waving of fees, splitting of rent payments, up to the suspension or cancellation of partial or full rent payments during this period, if their business allows.
Atlanta Housing has added a COVID-19 resource page to their main website, found at atlantahousing.org/covid19, where residents, partners and property owners can find the most up-to-date information on AH’s operations while the stay-at-home order is in effect, including an FAQ and a resource guide listing services being provided by AH and its partners during this time. AH will also continue to release updates and news via its social media platforms. Follow AH on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @housingatlanta for more information.
Previously, Mayor Bottoms issued an Executive Order calling on the Atlanta Housing Authority, Atlanta Beltline Inc., Fulton County / City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority, Invest Atlanta, Partners for Home and the City of Atlanta’s Department of Grants and Community Development to institute a temporary moratorium on residential evictions and filings for a period of sixty (60) days.