Millions of renters nationwide are at risk of eviction, and new data out of Nevada offers a sense of just how urgent the situation is as Congress debates another COVID-19 relief bill.
Nevada created a rent relief program last month, and according to the state treasurer’s office, more than 8,400 Nevadans applied for assistance in the first two weeks alone.
State treasurer Zach Conine said any household that makes less than 120% of the annual median income in the area qualifies.
"We know that this pandemic is impacting people on all levels of the pay scale, so we wanted to make sure that it was as open as possible, and we get as much assistance out the door as quickly as possible," Conine said.
Nevada's $30 million residential rental assistance program relies entirely on federal funds, as Conine explained in a recent Q&A with KUNR.
Based on the average rent in Nevada, there are enough federal dollars to pay approximately 25,000 months’ worth of rent, Conine said. He hopes Congress will pass a new stimulus bill before the money runs out.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that, nationwide, about $100 billion in rental assistance is needed to keep low-income renters housed during and after the pandemic. Visit the organization's website for state-by-state rental assistance information.
"We know that the economic crisis is directly tied to the health crisis," Conine said. "The sooner the health crisis subsides, the sooner the economic crisis subsides. So everyone, go out, wear a mask, be safe, wash your hands. That will help the economic underlying situation of the state of Nevada. That’s something we can all do."
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.