Rent payments for the month of May are past due, but no statewide relief has been offered for renters or landlords.
An executive order from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer stops new evictions through May 15th, but it doesn’t forgive rent — it just buys renters time before they can be evicted.
On the national level, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act which would suspend payment obligations for renters and homeowners. The bill, however, is far from becoming law.
Click on the audio player above to hear about rental assistance options in Southeast Michigan.
So, what should you do if you don’t have money for rent right now? Here are three things to try:
Get relief from the CARES Act
Some relief has come out of the Federal CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27th. As a result, renters can apply for assistance from local organizations like the social service agency Wayne Metro. You are eligible for assistance if you are unemployed, already receive benefits like food stamps, or make less than 200 percent of the poverty level, a specific amount of money that varies depending on family size. Find more information here.
Here to Help Foundation
Here to Help is a private foundation based in Royal Oak, Mich. Among other things, the organization is helping people in Wayne and Oakland Counties with one-time rental assistance. The main requirement for is that applicants have income, whether it’s supplemental security income, social security disability insurance, or that they’ve filed for unemployment. Find more information here.
Protect Yourself From Eviction
Ted Phillips is the Executive Director of the Detroit nonprofit United Community Housing Coalition. He warns tenants to take precautions before they begin paying partial rent. If you pay half of your rent, you could still be evicted when the ban is lifted, and you’ll be out that money. Instead, Phillips recommends that renters planning to pay rent in installments get an agreement from their landlord saying they won’t be evicted for doing so when the ban is lifted.