Residents of Ada and Canyon counties who have been forced from their rental housing, or face the risk of eviction, are invited to attend a public walk-up event Thursday morning in Caldwell to find out whether they qualify for rental assistance and other housing services.
The event is the first of several planned across the Treasure Valley by Jesse Tree of Idaho, an area nonprofit focused on homelessness prevention. Case managers with the nonprofit will be on hand to sign up eligible tenants for assistance, including back rent, security deposits and other client support to avoid eviction.
“As the cost of rent continues to increase and protections for renters disappear, we anticipate growing demand for rental assistance,” state Sen. Ali Rabe, Jesse Tree’s executive director, told the Idaho Statesman by email. “We want to make sure people know we are here as a community resource when people need it. Anyone could fall behind in rent right now — don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
The event comes on the heels of a federal moratorium on evictions during much of the coronavirus pandemic expiring last week. After the U.S. House adjourned without extending the nationwide ban, President Joe Biden was preparing Tuesday to issue a new 60-day freeze on evictions for parts of the country with spiking COVID-19 infections, according to news reports.
The Jesse Tree rental assistance event Thursday is being held at the Western Idaho Community Action Partnership center, located at 502 Main St. in Caldwell, and will run from 9 a.m. to noon. A second event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 22 in the O’Connor Field House at 2207 Blaine St., also in Caldwell, as part of the annual Treasure Valley Informational Fair.
To qualify for rental assistance through Jesse Tree, households must be behind in monthly rent and earn no more than 80% of the area’s median income. In Ada and Canyon counties, that totals up to $42,200 in annual income for individuals and $60,250 for families of four.
Jesse Tree prioritizes applicants who have already received a three-day notice to vacate their rental, or an eviction summons, Rabe said. Online applications and eligibility requirements are available at www.jessetreeidaho.org/apply.
So far in 2021, Jesse Tree has received about 1,600 applications, and provided rental assistance funds to more than 430 of them. In most cases, the nonprofit referred remaining applicants to additional resources, including other sources of federal rental assistance dollars to maintain their housing.
Ada County residents may also qualify for rental assistance funds through the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities. More than $24 million was dedicated to the need, and online applications are available at https://erap.bcacha.org.
For residents of Idaho’s other counties, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association is overseeing a statewide rental assistance program with almost $176 million. Eligibility information and applications are available at www.idahohousing.com/hpp.