Fulton planning how to distribute $18M in rental assistance

Credit: NYT

Credit: NYT

Fulton County is currently putting together its plan of how to distribute the $18 million is received from the federal government to help renters stay in their homes.

Fulton, the city of Atlanta and other metro counties got the money as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed a couple months ago to help those facing eviction because their budgets were disrupted by COVID-19.

Fulton’s county manager Dick Anderson said his staff plan to roll out the rental assistance program to the public on March 1. DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond announced Tuesday that his county will open its $21 million pot of grants to renters at 9 a.m. Friday.

Anderson said Tuesday that Fulton is close to selecting a vendor to help run the program but still must create a call center. Anderson said his staff is researching how many eligible residents there are and trying to predict demand. The money can go toward rent and utilities.

When presented with the plan at their Wednesday meeting, some Fulton commissioners said their offices have already received inquiries about how to get the money.

Commissioners from all parts of the county encouraged Fulton to get the program up and running quickly.

“We’re all still getting our paychecks,” said Commissioner Liz Hausmann, who represents part of North Fulton. “It’s hard to relate to situations that folks are in, and there’s a lot of desperation out there.”

An added layer of complication in Fulton is that Atlanta will have its own process/allotment because of the size of its population.

Commissioner Natalie Hall, whose district is almost entirely the city of Atlanta, encouraged the county to work with Fulton’s largest city to ensure a seamless online process for Atlanta residents who come to the county for help not realizing they need to go to their city.

“The residents don’t care about jurisdictions,” Hall said, adding that they just want results.

Fulton commissioners and mayors will discuss the rental assistance program during a Friday meeting. Those meetings are typically livestreamed on the county’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYH7E0jH6HxE-3KTRluH8SQ.