DeKalb announces another $25M in rental assistance

County will tackle pending requests for help; undecided on re-opening applications
DeKalb County government buildings. FILE PHOTO

DeKalb County government buildings. FILE PHOTO

DeKalb County has received an additional $25 million to provide local rental assistance, a windfall born of the state of Georgia’s inability to distribute its own cache of federal relief funds.

Local officials have not made a final decision on whether the county will reopen applications for its Tenant-Landlord Assistance Coalition, which has distributed tens of millions in aid since last spring. But the new money will definitely help tackle the roughly 2,500 applications still pending with the program.

“I want to thank Commissioner Christopher Nunn and the [Georgia] Department of Community Affairs for their continued efforts to provide rental assistance in DeKalb and across the state of Georgia,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said in a press release.

Last February, DeKalb received about $21.6 million in federal rental assistance funds meant to prevent evictions. The county created the TLAC program — which involves the local court system, Atlanta Legal Aid, the DeKalb Dispute Resolution Center and other local entities — to get tenants and landlords to the table to discuss how past due rent and utilities could be addressed.

The program got off to a slow start, thanks in large part to a March cyberattack that affected a server holding emails and applications to the program. But nearly all of the initial allocation was exhausted by late November.

The county later got a second allocation of around $14 million.

It now appears to have nearly exhausted those funds too, with officials saying Wednesday that the TLAC program had spent a total of more than $30 million to help around 3,500 families.

While DeKalb and a handful of other large counties received rental assistance allocations directly from the federal government, the state of Georgia and its Department of Community Affairs got nearly $1 billion to help in the rest of the state.

Only about $84 million of that money had been distributed to renters as of last week. Another $7.4 million was listed as scheduled for distribution.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury authorized the state to reallocate about $80 million in its rental assistance funds to local governments that included Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton, Henry and Hall counties.

“It is important to get these funds distributed as quick as possible,” Nunn, the DCA commissioner, said in a news release. “In our larger metropolitan areas with high renter concentrations, it is also important that local programs like TLAC continue to operate effectively.”

Though applications have not been reopened, DeKalb residents can learn more about the county’s TLAC program by visiting or calling 404-371-3201.

Those in need can currently apply for rental assistance through the state program, which is now open to all counties. Information on that program can be found by visiting or calling 833-827-7368.