‘People Need Help’, Clark County Pandemic Rent Assistance Program Reduces Access to Assistance Ahead of Potential Increase in Evictions


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Tens of thousands of southern Nevada residents avoided eviction during the pandemic thanks to a Clark County emergency program that covered rent. Now this help is changing for some and disappearing for others.

Tenants often refer to it as CHAP, or the CARES Housing Assistance Program. Clark County Human Resources Administrator Tim Birch said since its inception two years ago, more than $375 million has been provided in rent assistance to approximately 70,000 local households and utility assistance to 60,000 households as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed lives the way they are. was once known.

But now that money is running out. Birch said the only thing left to do was reach out to those who applied before the deadline on Sunday night.

“Instead of just being past due on rent, you should be facing eviction,” Burch said during a virtual interview Monday afternoon. “These are one-time 60 to 90 day late payment remedies with referrals to get people into programs that will help them be more independent in the long run. But these are not long-term rights, calculated for many years.”

The program does not disappear completely, but changes those who are entitled to it. Burch listed them as:

  • At least one household member lives on a fixed income (such as Social Security, VA benefits, or pensions).
  • Rent increase within 12 months prior to application date.
  • Received an eviction notice for non-payment of rent.
  • A recent change in circumstances has resulted in the inability to pay rent.

The program primarily targeted low-income households in the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Nevada is short of approximately 80,000 affordable housing units.

Now, thousands of those who don’t meet the new criteria are roaming the Civil Law Self-Help Center at the Clark County Regional Justice Center to figure out what to do next.

For example, Latonia Stevens left the center on Monday morning in tears.

“Basically, they just told me they were going to hang a little eviction thing on the door on Wednesday,” Stevens said near the center.

A North Las Vegas resident said she lost her job as a chef at a casino in 2020 due to the pandemic. For several months, she used CHAP to keep her lights on and pay her rent.

Now, recovering from a hysterectomy and a car accident, she no longer fits the bill.

“It’s not just for me, it’s for everyone. People need help. People need help. They are counting on it to help them,” Stevens said. “I just had an operation and I had to come here to do all this.”

Birch added that Nevada’s eviction process differs from other states in that an eviction doesn’t reach the courts until the tenant submits a first response. In essence, “we don’t really know how many eviction notices are being handed out each day in our community.”

When asked by 8 News Now if an increase in evictions is expected after these changes, Birch said that “with the lack of data indicating how many evictions are actually happening in our community, it’s hard to say if there will be an increase or decrease.”

Instead, Birch said people who are either no longer eligible or unsure if they qualify for assistance should continue to contact the Civil Law Self-Help Center or call 2-1-1. He said several pre-pandemic rental and utility assistance programs are still in place that could provide similar assistance.

The Civil Law Self Help Center is located at the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Avenue. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Alternatives to the program and other information can be found here.

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