ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque nonprofit is helping families struggling with making rent payments due to COVID-related issues. HopeWorks is once again offering a COVID eviction-prevention program.
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Hope Found is a program by HopeWorks that works to eliminate family homelessness in the city. It is also the program that oversees the COVID-19 eviction prevention program.
Hope Found Director Kellie Tillerson said they ran the program last year in April of 2020. “We knew that the wave was coming, and I believe we were the first in the state to do an eviction-prevention program last year,” Tillerson said.
In anticipation of the state’s moratorium extension ending, the program was approved for the second round of rent assistance. Tillerson said the program serves households with children under the age of 18 in an attempt to prevent the family from entering the system.
Those in need of assistance must be behind on rent due to a loss of income as a direct result of the pandemic. “As long as it can tie back to COVID in some capacity, we’re able to assist with up to three months of rent for them,” Tillerson said.
The rent assistance can go towards either paying back-rent or paying forward if needed. “We definitely want to curb what we are seeing as going to be an onslaught of homelessness coming out of the eviction moratorium,” Tillerson said. “So if we can prevent folks from ever having to stay in a shelter, or live in their car, or stay in a hotel which is what we’re seeing already if we can keep them in their homes and never have to experience that in the first place, that’s the goal here.”
Tillerson said anyone can be referred to the program, they just ask that the referral comes from a professional, whether it be a landlord, property management company, or a social service agency. Only rent payments can be made through the program, not mortgage payments. Families within Bernalillo County, Sandoval County, and Valencia County are able to take advantage of this program.
Tillerson said when the organization ran the eviction assistance program last year, it helped about 45 families from becoming homeless. “It’s been successful, and we’re hoping we can make at least the same impact this time,” Tillerson said.
HopeWorks offers a number of other housing and shelter programs to assist community members. For more information, visit hopeworksnm.org.