The fund is one of several resources Atlanta school officials are promoting. The district created a page on its website listing agencies that offer support to APS parents and employees.
“As you know, COVID-19 has placed a severe hardship on many of our families. Beyond the academic challenges caused by the pandemic, COVID-19 has also made it difficult for many of our families to pay their rent,” said Superintendent Lisa Herring in a recent note addressed to her APS colleagues.
The district also is referring people to Atlanta COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, administered by United Way of Greater Atlanta. The $22 million program offers help to eligible Atlanta residents who have lost income because of the pandemic.
Court closures and other measures — including a recent eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — have helped protect renters. But officials worry about the back-rent some still will owe when the many cases that landlords have brought against renters eventually proceed.
“Resources are dwindling,” said Ayanna Jones-Lightsy, co-director of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation’s Safe and Stable Homes Project.
The foundation works in nine Atlanta schools to help families remain in stable housing and reduce student turnover. Jones-Lightsy worries about the families who “are so far behind that they can’t catch up.”
“If you have a family it’s even harder to find affordable housing within the city limits,” she said.