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Millions available to help Tennesseans avoid eviction

More than $18 million worth of federal housing assistance is available in Knox County.
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 9:20 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Come July 31st, landlords can move forward with evicting tenants for not paying rent during the COVID pandemic, but city officials said there is still help and millions dollars available for Tennesseans.

The 311 director, Russ Jensen, of 311 said Knox County has more than $18 million worth of federal housing assistance waiting to be claimed. That money will keep people in their home.

“With the amount of money we have available, we shouldn’t be evicting people and they shouldn’t be getting their utilities shut off,” Jensen said.

Jensen said the county has given more than $3 million to those who have applied for help.

“Even once that case is filed, you still have 30, 60 sometimes 90 days and with the backlog of cases, there’s time,” Jensen said.

Groups like the ‘Family Promise of Knoxville’ are on standby to bring in unhoused families.

“We are preparing for what I can only describe as the floodgates opening,” Director John-Mark Brown said.

John-Mark Brown told WVLT News private donations are keeping them prepared to house some families, pay utilities or give them rental assistance before an eviction is possible.

“It costs one time, $225 to keep a child from becoming homeless. In order to get a child out of homelessness, the calculations are closing to $1,100 -1,200,” Brown said.

There’s still time to apply for emergency renters’ assistance through the City of Knoxville and through the state. However, it could take a month to process.

Renters have until July 31st to file a CDC declaration form that could protect you from eviction.

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