LINCOLN, Nebraska — Nearly every county in Nebraska, with the exception of Douglas and Lancaster, has lost access to federal rent assistance, costing the state millions of dollars that could have been used to address the situation.
“Low-income renters in these counties will suffer in the coming months,” said Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Managing Attorney, Scott Mertz.
Mertz stated that renters first believed they would be able to pay their rent for the remainder of the year. Then, once it was eliminated, it was anticipated that $15.5 million would be allocated to NGOs for housing programs for low-income Nebraskans.
However, organizations were informed last week that the state missed the deadline and that the funds are being returned to the Treasury.
“When so many people anticipate something and it does not occur. According to Mertz, negative effects will be felt throughout the entirety of the state, not just in a few localized areas.
The governor’s office informs 3 News Now that mid-September adjustments made by the US Treasury Department are to blame for the disappearance of the funds.
What can the state do at this time? There seems to be a single answer.
“The governor could resolve this issue with a single email, and he could receive the funds tomorrow,” said Lincoln state senator Matt Hansen.
Hansen stated that the governor may seek reimbursement for the second portion of federal rent funds he initially rejected.
Monday, the governor’s office told 3 News Now that the topic was discussed in the spring and that the governor’s decision has not changed.
Hansen, who indicated the September deadline on the floor of the legislature in the spring, stated that the future governor and legislature are ultimately responsible.
Hansen stated, “We knew it was coming, and it’s awful that it’s here, but it wasn’t a surprise.”
Mertz added that thirty percent of evictions occur in Nebraska’s 91 smallest counties.
Mertz stated, “Therefore, it is anticipated that these figures will continue to rise.”