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HOPE Program: Changes coming to pay-outs, and landlord agreements to get more bills settled

While 92% of landlords have accepted the payments and requirements, there are landlords rejecting the payments. How the plan is about to change.
Credit: WFMY

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Changes are coming to the HOPE Program. While the exact changes aren’t being made public just yet, they will address the recent complaints about landlord rejections of the money.

The HOPE (Housing Opportunities & Prevention of Eviction) Program was created to pay the landlords and utility companies the back money owed by renters or give renters help in staying in their place of residence. Letters of acceptance were sent out. Renters breathed a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, not all landlords are agreeing to the terms. A viewer writes,

Back in October, I was sent a letter saying I have been approved for the HOPE program and will receive rental assistance as well as utility assistance. Now my landlord refuses to accept the HOPE funds .....

“We've had 92% of landlords accept the funds, so we're not seeing a large number reject the funds, however, we are looking at adjusting some things to make the program more attractive because we do want to assist everyone,” said Haley Pfeiffer-Haynes of the NC Recovery & Resiliency Office.

Again, there are no specifics, but Pfeiffer-Haynes said they are working on a re-design now and will approach landlords again with the new program.

Right now, landlords must agree to several things including not raising the rent and not evicting the tenant for the remainder of their lease. The length of that time is what Pfeiffer-Haynes said some landlords seemed to have an issue with.

The HOPE program has awarded approximately $29 million, with $14.5 million paid out to assist approximately 4,000 households

The average amount of awards is $3662.  

To get folks their money faster, they're asking for your landlord's email addresses. The HOPE Program doesn’t want to mail the payments, but email them to the landlord.

For those folks who are having the back-and-forth with their utility company, here is some advice. “We're pursuing agreements with utilities and sharing databases so we can speed up the payment of these past-due utilities rather than having to case manage each case. When someone is in danger of being disconnected we want them to get in touch with their HOPE program manager so that we can provide them a pledge letter, this is something utility companies are used to seeing and this could help keep from disconnection and would also help for reconnection,” said Pfeiffer-Haynes.


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