A Nashville landlord and tenant are finally getting some answers on when financial relief will come after waiting since March.
The pair applied for funding from the Metro Action Commission, which has been using federal money to keep renters in their homes during the pandemic. But, the government red tape creates hurdles even if both parties are on board.
It’s been close to four months since Becki George and her Old Hickory Village landlord applied for funding from the city. And, the process of getting help has left feelings of confusion and frustration. George says she’s had to make three trips downtown already, and it’s hurt her business as a house cleaner.
“We’re losing income,” she says, “to try to get the income in here we need. It’s really hard to understand sometimes.”
Judge Rachel Bell runs the L.E.G.A.C.Y. housing court. She says each step is needed to do status checks since each case is different. While sitting in the courtroom, some residents were told documents were missing or where their application stood in the process.
“The structure has been put in place to assist the landlord and tenant from being (lax) on the sense of urgency that is needed,” Bell tells WPLN News via email.
Afterward, MAC employees meet them outside to answer questions and guide them to the next step. It’s on the fourth trip when the status check focuses on pending payment and settling the case.
By that point, the chaos of each trip for Thomas Nilsen had taken a toll on the landlord.
“I wrote on my calendar with exclamation points: ’10:30 be here at 4D,'” he said around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. “And I got here and sat in court for an hour worth of criminal cases.” It wasn’t until he went downstairs to the clerk that he learned evictions start at 3:30 p.m.
While talking to MAC, he got more understanding of how the system works — and was told he has to come back in August since there’s a backlog of cases and limited staff to work through it all.
MAC told city councilmembers last week that they’re working to hire more people. Nilsen says he understands they’re doing the best they can.
The CDC extended their eviction moratorium to the end of July, but it isn’t automatic. So, some people have fallen through. Meanwhile, the Metro Action Commission has taken some heat for moving slowly in doling out funds.