The city of Nashville is creating a new court and planning to spend $20.8 million from the federal government in an effort to prevent more than 1,800 evictions before a moratorium expires at the end of March.
The Metro Action Commission is reaching out to residents and landlords to let them know money for up to a year of past-due rent is available. The city agency will pay landlords once cases are settled. People that need assistance can also visit the C.E. McGruder Family Resource Center to get in-person support.
“The goal is to connect tenants to community-based agencies that help them maintain safe housing, progress to marketplace rent and ultimately move into homeownership,” says Alisha Haddock, director of the McGruder Center and community-based services director for Catholic Charities. “The L.E.G.A.C.Y. Housing Resource Diversionary Court Program will empower tenants through several phases which include financial literacy, budgeting, access to job readiness training, workforce development and employment assistance.”
Judge Rachel Bell is creating the court and hopes to prevent evictions. She says as long as she’s in office the court will continue mediating eviction cases.
“I’m looking forward to just signing off — that the case was settled and dismiss the case,” she says. “And move it off of the list of the cases that are backlogged right now.”
Funding for the effort is coming from the federal government’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The city has until the end of the year to spend the federal money.