Today, the Dane CORE Rental Assistance Program is live! Before we all enjoy the community-wide celebration of additional rental assistance coming to our community (finally...), let's cover a few of the basics with how this program works, including some of the items that are different from CARES.https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/24/5.609
Income Documentation Required
The federal restrictions on these funds are a bit more strict than the CARES assistance that was provided over the summer last year. This time around, we are required to document annual household income for all persons over 18 years of age in the household using one of the more difficult income verification rulesets: 24 CFR 5.609. To be clear, this isn't a requirement set by the Tenant Resource Center; these are restrictions that come from the federal government, so we aren't able to waive these requirements. For more information on what types of documents qualify, please see our website: https://core.tenantresourcecenter.org/documentation
Both Landlords and Tenants Must Apply
This time around, the federal restrictions on these funds require that both tenants and landlords "co-sign" an application for assistance. In order to make this possible in our community during COVID-19, we've created an online application system where both tenants and landlords can submit pre-applications. The answers you provide in your pre-application are segregated from information received by the other party, so your answers to these questions are not visible to your tenants or landlord respectively. This means that tenants no longer need to seek documents directly from their landlord (something that was a bit of a challenge with CARES), and landlords can upload their materials through our secure system so they don't have to share tax information through W9 forms with their tenants (also a concern from CARES). The system is designed so that both tenants and landlords can submit pre-applications in any order (i.e. tenant then landlord or landlord then tenant) and you don't need to have a special code or link to connect your applications; we'll take care of that on the back end. One important note: be sure to ask your tenants and landlords for their email address or phone number! Adding this to your application will automatically send an email to your tenant or landlord telling them that you've submitted your portion and remind them that they also need to submit an application.
Additional Documents from Landlords
The federal rules for these funds require that we seek rent ledgers and leases to document a few items: which months are owed in back-owed rents and which tenants in the unit are leaseholders. Both of these items are requirements of the funds, so you'll want to start organizing your files for both of these items.
Tenants Apply as a Household; Not Individuals
Because the funds are tied to a household, you'll apply with all of the adult household members listed on the lease with you. This means you'll want to pick one member of the household who will submit the pre-application for everyone else on the lease and you'll need to gather your income documentation for the whole household.
Stay Tuned for Updates!
We do expect additional changes to come in the near future due to changes in federal restrictions on these funds. We're hoping these changes will make it easier for tenants to document household income, as well as a few other things that will better fit the needs of our community. We'll continue to publish updates on our website and social media, so stay tuned!