Metro Atlanta county using millions in federal grant money to help keep its residents in their homes

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Families struggling to pay rent and mortgages during this pandemic will soon get help to stay in their homes.

DeKalb County is using $21 million from a federal grant to help with rent, utilities and other housing costs.

Sophia Williams plans to apply. The mother of five who lives in an apartment complex on Whites Mill Road says she’s living month to month, on church donations. She says she can’t find work, and she’s behind on rent and utilities.

“You know threatened with your lights out, and then evictions every month. It’s hard and it takes a toll on you and your children,” said Williams to Channel 2′s Sophia Choi.

The county is partnering with a coalition of public and nonprofit organizations to roll out the rental assistance program.

The nonprofit Goodwill of North Georgia will oversee the money. The municipal court will oversee the applications.

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DeKalb’s Chief Municipal Court Judge, Berryl Anderson believes “until today, there were no options for many of these families facing homelessness.”

DeKalb has already identified 8,000 families on the brink of evictions.

County CEO Michael Thurmond says the money will also help landlords who are also facing financial ruin.

“Landlords are facing reduced incomes and in danger of foreclosing on mortgages,” Thurmond said.

Landlords can apply on behalf of tenants, but renters must meet income limits listed here:

  • Family of one: $46,350
  • Family of two: $52,950
  • Family of three: $59,550
  • Family of four: $66,150

Williams meets the requirements and hopes this program helps keep her children safe.

“We’re faced with maybe a shelter. And if I go into a shelter you have to worry about your children. You don’t know who them people are. And you’re housed with many,” Williams said.

DeKalb residents can apply starting 9 a.m. Friday, at www.dekalbcountyga.gov/renthelp.