Q:

How can you get financial assistance to stop an eviction?

A:

The process of obtaining financial assistance to avoid an eviction should begin with communicating with the property owner. Inquire with the landlord about rent-assistance programs. Some property owners accept delayed payments, and others may forgive a few month?s rent entirely to avoid having a vacancy. Contact local charities and religious-based organizations that provide rental assistance. There may be additional assistance programs available with the State Human Resources Department.

Effectively communicating the circumstances with the property owner may provide a tenant with financial options. Don't wait until rent is past due before asking the property owner for assistance. Property owners may offer in-house assistance or know of programs that other tenants in similar circumstances may have used. Churches and other nonprofit organizations, including the United Way and American Red Cross, sometimes offer rent assistance to families in dire need. The state?s human resources center may be able to provide eviction assistance, especially if children or a disabled member resides in the household. When rent is high and income is comparatively low, seek help for other expenses as a precautionary measure to avoid an eviction. Unexpected expenses may cause a tenant to fall behind.

Lastly, free legal assistance is available to low-income families in most states through funding from the Legal Services Corporation, a federally supported government agency. In circumstances where a property owner?s unfair business practices have directly caused the eviction, the tenant should consider obtaining legal representation to advocate, or litigate, if necessary.


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