Following pause, more rental assistance dollars now available in Cobb

Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After a months-long lapse in funding, more rental assistance money is on the way for Cobb County families.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted along party lines to accept an additional $6.9 million in rental assistance dollars from the federal government. That includes $1.5 million for people whose financial hardships aren’t directly related to the coronavirus, but have still struggled to pay the rent as housing costs have soared amid the pandemic.

Month after month, low-income residents facing evictions have been begging the commission for help, saying the local nonprofits tasked with keeping people in their homes frequently turn people away due to lack of funds.

County officials said Cobb ran out of federal funding in January, and the process for requesting more money from the U.S. Treasury led to a brief lapse in the rental assistance program while they awaited the next round of funds. Nonprofits began accept applications again this week, officials told the board.

More housing money is in the pipeline thanks to the federal American Rescue Plan Act, but it is not yet clear how it will be spent. The commission on Tuesday also approved some parameters for how to spend $128 million in federal stimulus funding that would direct $23.3 million toward social services, including affordable housing and rental and mortgage assistance.

Community health programs such as mental health and substance abuse treatment would receive $25.7 million, while economic development, such as workforce training, employee retention and small business assistance, is set to receive $22.4 million.

The board’s three Democrats supported each measure, with the two Republicans opposed.