April 15, 2020
By Dennis Kaiser
On April 2, 2020, Houston-based Camden Property Trust announced the creation of a $5-million Resident Relief Fund for Camden residents experiencing financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents were invited to apply online for one-time grants of up to $2,000 each. The application process opened on Monday, April 6, 2020 and within 20 minutes Camden received more than enough applications to allocate its entire fund. Camden’s Chairman & CEO Ric Campo explains why they started the fund and what they hoped to achieve.
Q: Ric, why did Camden Property Trust start the Camden Cares Resident Relief Fund?
A: We wanted to help. We have over 56,000 apartment homes across the country, and we knew we would have residents who were hurting financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were doing “normal” things to help, such as waiving fees for late rent payments, putting a moratorium on evictions and rent increases, etc., but we wanted to do something above and beyond because this is really an unprecedented period of financial hardship. The financial crisis of 2008 was difficult, but the economy didn’t shut down to the same extent we are experiencing now.
We wanted to create a meaningful fund to help, and we committed $5 million to it. We knew that some residents might qualify for government stimulus checks, but those wouldn’t arrive for at least a couple of weeks. We knew we could mobilize our Camden Cares team quickly and provide assistance to those who really needed it now.
Q: Did you expect the level of response you received?
A: I don’t think any of us could have imagined the magnitude of the response we received. Residents had to complete an application online and provide reasonable proof of loss of job and/or income to be eligible. Grants were up to a maximum of $2,000 per apartment home, and only one member of each household could apply. Online applications opened at 10:00am Central Time on Monday April 6, 2020, and we had such a huge response that we allocated the entire fund in 20 minutes.
Q: When will the grant checks go out to successful applicants?
A: The checks have already been issued. Our Camden Cares team is very efficient, and all of us, from our senior management team to our administrative team to our property managers, were focused on making this go as smoothly as possible.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser