With Nevada’s state eviction moratorium already over and the federal eviction moratorium set to expire this Friday, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) promised that housing aid is coming online. As he stated that another state moratorium “is not coming”, he also noted that, “As a tenant or landlord, you need to take action to access rental assistance funds.”
Here’s what’s available for renters and landlords in need.
“One issue addressed by AB 486 is that if there is a rental assistance application pending, the landlord can’t just throw their hands up and say, ‘I want nothing to do with this.’”
– Shannon Chambers, Home Means Nevada
On March 30, Governor Steve Sisolak announced one more two-month extension of the statewide residential eviction moratorium. He also promised, “It’s my expectation that stakeholders will get all the pieces into place,” as he and Democratic legislative leaders hinted at future legislation to establish long-term housing aid and application of the federal American Rescue Plan’s suite of housing aid programs that includes emergency rent assistance and housing vouchers for those most at-risk of homelessness.
Two months later, Sisolak and Democratic legislative leaders followed through on that promise with AB 486. This law unlocked the American Rescue Plan’s housing aid funds for Nevada by establishing a procedure to assist at-risk renters, and it now promises a stay of eviction if the renter at risk of eviction has a pending rental assistance application.
During today’s press conference to provide updates on Nevada’s new American Rescue Plan supported housing aid programs, Sisolak and state/local housing officials stated that at-risk renters must apply for aid in order to qualify for both immediate eviction relief and the rental assistance funds. As Shannon Chambers, President of the Board of Directors for Home Means Nevada, explained, “As a tenant or landlord, you need to take action to access rental assistance funds.” She then added, “Rental assistance still runs through the tenant. While AB 486 allows more options for landlords, the process must start and end with the tenant.”
When asked how any landlord’s decision not to participate in the new AB 486 process affects a renter’s housing aid application and potential eviction, Chambers stated, “One issue addressed by AB 486 is that if there is a rental assistance application pending, the landlord can’t just throw their hands up and say, ‘I want nothing to do with this.’” She went on to explain that regardless of whether the landlord wants to participate or not, as long as the renter applies for aid, the renter has up to 60 days in initial eviction relief as the rent assistance application is being processed.
“We are trying to ensure that no rental assistance application goes unprocessed, and that no rental assistance funds are left on the table.”
– Shannon Chambers, Home Means Nevada
Even as Nevada state and Clark County officials promise that they can handle more applications, some affordable housing advocates fear a potential repeat of last year’s unemployment insurance bottleneck with this new housing aid program due to the federal eviction moratorium expiring this Saturday, the American Rescue Plan’s extended unemployment insurance aid expiring on September 6, the pre-existing wait list for housing vouchers, and the state’s tendency to overburden and underfund our social safety net programs.
As he alluded to the grim reality of federal housing aid dollars largely going unused in at least 26 states, Clark County Assistant Manager Kevin Schiller reassured everyone, “We have added 350 staff to support this program. Other municipalities have turned down [Rescue Plan housing aid funds] due to their inability to execute this program. That is not the case here in Clark County. It can not be expedited any faster than it already is.”
Schiller specifically stated that Clark County processes 800 to 1,000 housing aid applications per week, that Clark County has already distributed $162 million in federal housing aid since June 2020, that they have plenty more information available at their CHAP online portal, and that they have a hotline for renters and landlords seeking help with navigating these housing aid resources – (702) 455-4071.
Shannon Chambers later noted that Nevadans throughout the state who need housing aid can access Home Means Nevada’s “The Renter Connect” website. In total, the American Rescue Plan gives Nevada $360 million for housing aid. According to Chambers, “We are trying to ensure that no rental assistance application goes unprocessed, and that no rental assistance funds are left on the table.”
“As a tenant or landlord, you need to take action to access rental assistance funds.”
– Governor Steve Sisolak
As Sisolak explained how this new housing aid is coming online, he promised, “We have plenty of rental assistance funds available from the federal government, and we have plenty of people available to help process rental assistance applications.” He went on to say, “This sets up Nevada for more long-term success once the CDC moratorium expires on July 31.”
When asked whether he’d consider reinstating the state eviction moratorium, Sisolak declared, “There is not another extension of the moratorium coming.” Instead, he implored upon eligible Nevadans, “As a tenant or landlord, you need to take action to access rental assistance funds.”
Clark County residents can get help now through the county’s CHAP website, the county’s (702) 455-4071 housing aid hotline, or by contacting the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada at their website and/or (702) 386-1070. For all other Nevadans “The Renter Connect” website is mostly up and running, landlord assistance applications come online August 1, and their phone number is (702) 789-7349.