Restore Hope Ministries said help is on the way for landlords and tenants who had trouble either receiving rent or paying it the past few months because of COVID-19.
Restore Hope Ministries said thanks to the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Tulsa Area COVID-19 Response Fund, administered by The Tulsa Community Foundation and Tulsa Area United Way, it will be able to pay the past due rent for more than 500 families with pending eviction cases in Tulsa County.
The City of Tulsa said according to research done at Princeton University, Tulsa County has the 11th highest number of evictions in the nation.
Last year, the city said more than 14,000 families and individuals went through the eviction process.
"We had a crisis before COVID-19 ever hit,” Restore Hope Ministries Executive Director Jeff Jaynes said.
With the economic impact of the pandemic, some Tulsans are experiencing evictions for the first time.
"We want to be there to help those people who are wondering if they're gonna be homeless in the middle of a pandemic. And we also wanna help the landlords,” Jaynes said.
Jaynes said some families may get rent relief for the last month or two, others may have their rent paid for the past several months. In order to qualify, a tenant must be in a property not covered by the CARES Act, had an eviction filed before May 31st, and the landlord and tenant must agree to be part of the program.
"We have not even begun the tsunami of evictions that's gonna come to Tulsa,” City of Tulsa Housing Policy Director Becky Gligo said.
She said while the gift will help families, it is a temporary fix. She said part of the solution is more affordable housing.
"Even with this incredibly generous gift from the Schusterman Foundation and the Tulsa Community Foundation's United Way COVID fund, we are not even close to what we need to get in front of this eviction crisis that's pending,” Gligo said.
Restore Hope Ministries is urging landlords and tenants to seek Early Settlement Mediation if they can't come to an agreement.
Tenants looking for help through this program still need to show up for eviction hearings in court. For more information about the program, click here.