Lincoln’s Tenant Assistance Project keeps people in homes
The program is also the blueprint for similar programs used in Omaha and across the state.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Lincoln’s Tenant Assistance Project may have come out of the pandemic, but it’s likely to outlast COVID-19. In the years since starting, they’ve seen lots of success: nearly 900 families have been saved from immediate eviction.
It’s important to understand, however, that this program is only designed for tenants who are having trouble paying rent.
“Those are the only ones who we’re really able to assist with”, explains Rental Assistance Coordinator Nick Martinez. “If it’s for a lease violation or something, illegal activity, we’re not really stepping in and assisting in those cases.”
The cases the TAP does take on really help to level the playing field compared to how things used to be.
“It was really just kind of a machine”, says Martinez. “The whole eviction court was designed to turn out as many evictions as possible. It was heavily imbalanced and the favor was to the landlords.”
People were being evicted at a rate of 10 to 15 a day, in some cases. Many folks didn’t even bother showing up.
Martinez says, “It was only about 10 percent of tenants who would actually show up for their case. Now that number is more like 50, 60 percent. We’ve seen a huge, huge jump in tenants just showing up for their hearing.”
Showing up alone is crucial. When a tenant doesn’t appear for their hearing, it’s an instant loss. However, when they do show up, there’s a 98 percent chance TAP can help them stay in their home.
To learn more about the Tenant Assistance Project in Lincoln, have a look at their page on the City of Lincoln website.