The Tulsa County Commission approved an initial $3 million for a rental assistance program to help those feeling the financial strain caused by COVID-19.
Representatives said the program aims to help keep a roof over a renter's head and prevent landlords from experiencing financial troubles of their own.
"It's just a trickle-down effect," said Stan Sallee, Tulsa County commissioner. "The people have lost their jobs; landlords aren't receiving rent and the same thing with businesses."
Sallee said Tulsa County and the Tulsa Housing Authority partnered to prevent families from facing eviction during the economic downturn.
"Just the stress, the potential of being evicted would be traumatic to any family," Sallee said.
A federal moratorium on evictions kept people in their homes, even as rent and mortgage continues to add up, only that CARES Act moratorium expired on July 24. Right now, there's a 30-day window before people can be forced out and that additional assistance is needed.
"Tulsa Housing Authority has talked with a lot of landlords in this region, in Tulsa County, and they are estimating potentially that 4000 to 5000 families could be effected, evicted, due to not being able to pay their rent," Sallee said.
Commissioner Sallee told News On 6 the $3 million program, which has already received $750,000 from Tulsa County to hire support employees, plans to accept applications beginning the third week of August. The distributions will be reevaluated regularly, and additional allotments may be provided in the future for further support. Those who receive the money won't have to pay it back, and even more funds, up to $14 million, could come later. Tulsa County and the Tulsa Housing Authority are working with regional agencies like Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors and A Way Home for Tulsa to raise awareness for the relief program to at-risk families throughout the County, including all municipalities.
"If we can keep these families in their homes it will be better for all of us and hopefully buy us some time for jobs to come online and employment to become more rapid," Sallee said.
According to TCC, there will be a verification process, but once approved, the funding will almost immediately be distributed to landlords. Meanwhile, the BOCC approved the second distribution of Tulsa County CARES small business funding, which will allocate nearly $3 million to 60 small businesses through the Tulsa County Business RESET program. That program is administered by the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation.
To learn more about how you can apply for funding, click here.