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Stothert directs $50,000 in federal money to legal help for tenants facing eviction

Stothert directs $50,000 in federal money to legal help for tenants facing eviction

Evictions, which have mostly been on pause during the pandemic, were expected to ramp up Monday after the Biden administration allowed the federal moratorium to expire over the weekend and Congress was unable to do anything to extend it.

The City of Omaha is steering $50,000 to the Douglas County Tenant Assistance Project to boost its volunteer legal help for people facing eviction.

Mayor Jean Stothert said Friday that she had authorized $50,000 in federal rental assistance funds to pay for a coordinator for the project. It has been sending volunteer lawyers to represent people facing eviction for nonpayment during the current moratorium on evictions. Omaha City Council member Aimee Melton had proposed a city budget amendment to use city money for the position, but the council voted it down on Tuesday.

Stothert arranged for the $50,000 to come out of the city’s $22 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program money. The federal money is being distributed by the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless. Stothert sent a letter Thursday to MAACH authorizing them to distribute $50,000 to the Nebraska State Bar Association.

“The federal guidance for distribution of these funds allows for an allocation to the bar association for this purpose,” Stothert wrote in the letter to Randy McCoy, executive director of MACCH. “I am committed to supporting this program with the Emergency Rental Assistance funds MACCH is managing on the city’s behalf.”

Stothert had been working since Tuesday with city finance and law departments to be certain that federal guidance allows the money to be used that way, a spokeswoman for the mayor said.


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Chris Burbach covers the Douglas County Board, Planning Board and other local government bodies, as well as local neighborhood issues. Follow him on Twitter @chrisburbach. Phone: 402-444-1057.

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