April 24, 2020
Launched in 2017 to provide rental assistance grants for responsible residents facing a temporary emergency, the Resident Relief Foundation is now taking on a more widespread challenge amid the COVID-19 pandemic: the millions of renters who may face eviction or homelessness when moratoriums run out.
“The federal and statewide rental eviction moratoriums are a welcome relief to renters suffering from the economic fallout of the pandemic, but further relief efforts are necessary to support the immense number of affected renters,” said Tina Oswald, executive director of the Resident Relief Foundation. “Our greatest concern is what happens to residents when those financial protections are no longer available, and the overwhelming task of figuring out how to repay rent payments begins.”
Accordingly, the foundation has launched the Resident Relief Initiative, a multifamily industry fundraising effort. It seeks to raise $10 million in donations to keep more renters in their homes via coverage of a month’s rent.
Citing data from economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the foundation says 47 million people risk losing their jobs—or more than twice the 22 million that have filed for unemployment benefits in the past few weeks. Once protections for lost income are gone, renters may find themselves deeply in debt as they owe back pay for rent not paid during the crisis, says the foundation.
There’s also the potential for a domino effect among multifamily operators, who also have bills to pay during the pandemic-driven economic shutdown. The foundation notes that nearly half the nation’s 49 million rental units are owned by “mom and pop” operators that face potential bankruptcy as a result of tenants’ inability to pay the rent. Accordingly, says the foundation, the Resident Relief Initiative can benefit them as well.
Along with Gelt Inc., whose principals launched the foundation three years ago, the Resident Relief Initiative’s charitable partners include MYND Property Management, Veritas Impact Partners, GSH Group, Luxer One and Domuso Inc.
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