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D.C. City Leaders Urge Renters Fearing Eviction to Seek Assistance

District officials urge residents who need rental assistance during the coronavirus pandemic as a federal moratorium on evictions ends to apply for the STAY DC program so they can stay in their homes.

Drew Hubbard, deputy director of operations for the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development, said the program — one of several created by the city government to fight housing instability — targets those unable to pay rent and utilities.

“The program will assist renters who have not been able to pay their rent since April 2020,” Hubbard said during a press conference Monday outside the department’s Resource Center in Southeast. “We will provide back rent up to that point and up to three months in advance.”

STAY DC is co-managed through Hubbard’s department, among others, and is largely funded through the December Congressional Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Biden in March.

The push comes in the wake of a federal moratorium on evictions expiring Saturday. The D.C. Council passed legislation allowing landlords to file new eviction proceedings against tenants for nonpayment of rent starting Oct. 12. However, pre-pandemic evictions filed in the D.C. court may begin their proceedings on Aug. 26.

Anacostia resident Tatiyana Graham, who was forced to stay home during the pandemic to care for her children and was unable to work, said she received $11,000 in rental assistance through the program.

“When my landlord told me about STAY DC, I immediately applied,” Graham said during the Monday press conference. “It took about a month for my application to process. When I found out I was approved and saw how much of my rent was paid, I cried. My four children cried along with me. … Since I got the assistance, I have been telling everybody to apply for STAY DC.”

La’Ree Taylor, STAY DC outreach manager, said her team stands ready to assist tenants in filling out the applications, whether it be at community events or in designated city government offices.

Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large), chair of the Committee on Housing and Executive Administration, said the STAY DC funds come from the federal government and need to be utilized while available.

“We want to help as many people as possible,” Bonds said. “We should spend as much money for this program as possible before it runs out.”

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