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August 24, 2022

Staff began monthly reporting of the PHA’s Rent Recovery efforts in February 2021, when it was observed that both the number of households owing delinquent rent and the total amount of rent owed had consistently grown for the preceding five months.  Despite the substantial amount of rental assistance the PHA has received in the past 18 months, the total amount of delinquent rent owed and the amount of sales and service fees owed have increased compared to last month; the number of households owing delinquent rent and/or sales and services fees decreased slightly, but all three measures remain substantially higher than pre-pandemic norms.

 

Jul-22

Aug-22

Change

Total Delinquent Rent Owed

$861,452

$890,228

$28,776

Total Households Owing

736

673

(63)

Sales and Service Fees

$63,433

$69,636

$6,203


While the PHA’s goal is to obtain payment and promote successful tenancies, the growing delinquent rent balance along with the decrease in available rental assistance have led staff to increase their focus on lease enforcement activities.  Since October 2021 staff have sent 30-day notices of lease termination for late rent to nearly 4,000 households, and as of August 17, 2022 staff had filed 19 additional Eviction Actions for unpaid rent, for a total of 60 Eviction Actions since the eviction moratorium began to phase out.  These 19 households owed a total of $62,499, an average of $3,289 each.  Of these 19 households, 14 had already received emergency rental assistance payments and failed to pay rent after that.  All COVID-related eviction protections expired June 1, 2022; however, some residents still have pending applications for emergency rental assistance.  In those cases, it is in the best interest of both the resident and the PHA for staff to continue to assist the family in obtaining assistance until their applications are fully processed.   

Since early in the pandemic, PHA staff have worked diligently to assist residents who were struggling to pay rent.  To date, staff have collectively spent over 4,000 hours helping nearly 700 residents apply for assistance to avoid eviction, resulting in the PHA receiving a total of $2,852,127 in rental assistance.  No additional rental assistance has been received from RentHelpMN or the Zero Balance Project since last month, however the PHA did receive a payment of $2,560 for two households from Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties (CAPRW).  Though the PHA continues to receive occasional payments from RentHelpMN, most recent assistance payments have come from CAPRW.  Similar to RentHelpMN and the Zero Balance Project, CAPRW is no longer accepting applications for emergency rental assistance effective April 22, 2022.  The Zero Balance Project has fully exhausted all funding and will not be issuing additional assistance payments.  

Total Assistance Payments

$2,852,127

Applications Submitted with PHA Assistance

665

Accounts Receiving Payments

857

 

Staff continue to see a substantial number of newly delinquent households each month.  While staff hope that both the delinquent rent owed and the number of households owing rent will decrease, it is difficult to predict what will happen when a substantial number of new households become delinquent each month, and as emergency rental assistance funds are exhausted.  Unfortunately, the PHA cannot waive any rent due to it.  HUD has stated that rent is still due during the COVID-19 pandemic and will accumulate if unpaid, and that no PHA-sponsored debt forgiveness or amnesty programs are authorized.

The Legal Team, Resident Services and Finance Department staff continue to coordinate in order to identify residents who have not responded to previous notices, and to prepare to file additional Eviction Action proceedings in Ramsey County Housing Court when necessary.  PHA staff continue to work diligently to avoid evictions, while upholding the Agency’s fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers who provide deep subsidies that make PHA-owned housing affordable to families with very low incomes. 

Respectfully,

Jon Gutzmann
 

 

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