TUCSON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva joined Arizona’s Democratic House Delegation and sent a letter to Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) demanding the state accelerate the dispersal of emergency rental assistance to keep Arizona families in their homes. This letter comes after Rep. Grijalva held a press conference calling for more action by the state, asking them to reallocate funds to more efficient local programs.
“While many local organizations are undertaking excellent work to quickly disburse rental assistance to Arizona families facing eviction, the State’s DES Program has unfortunately failed to do so,” said Rep. Grijalva. “The new eviction moratorium gives us a new opportunity to quickly get these funds to the people who need it most. The State must stop dragging its feet, and instead do more to help Arizonans negatively impacted by the pandemic.”
“According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, over 250,000 adults in Arizona are behind on their rent. Further, tens of thousands of evictions – over 30,000 in Maricopa County alone – have already been filed throughout the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is unclear how many of these evictions were carried out despite the moratorium, but it is clear we face a looming homelessness crisis if ERA funds continue to be distributed at such a slow pace.”
The lawmakers called on the state to improve outreach and public communications on rental assistance, hire more temporary workers, improve the ease and accessibility of the application process, urge state and local courts to pause eviction proceedings for landlords and tenants to seek rental assistance, and release more state funds to local programs that were more efficient in disbursing rental assistance.
“Arizona has received hundreds of millions of dollars for rental assistance from COVID-19 relief legislation,” the lawmakers continued. “Yet, as of August 5, 2021, Arizona distributed less than $12 million to renters and landlords. In addition, the State has specifically failed to provide sufficient technical assistance to rural families who struggle to apply through the online-only portal. These unacceptable failures must be addressed, starting from the Governor’s Office.”
Click here to read the full letter.