Atlanta Property Management Blog

Fulton working to speed up rental/utilities assistance app process

System - Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The numbers are disappointing.

According to a Fulton County document, as of May 6, regarding the county’s emergency rental/utilities assistance program for individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and paid for with federal coronavirus relief funds, a total of 17,705 landlord and tenant applications have been filed, with 7,260 in progress and 10,444 submitted. Of the ones in progress, 38 were withdrawn, 5,195 were denied and only 175 were approved, with 133 paid and 24 pending payment.

A total of $708,000 has been expended out of a budget of $18.0 million, with $665,025 in rent (out of a budget of $15.2 million) and $42,703 in utilities paid out of a budget of $1.0 million). The administrative cost is $1.8 million, and only $300,000 has been expended so far. The county has received 14,320 calls, with 10,171 answered and 3,621 abandoned.

But the county has some excuses for the fact that so little funds have been given out so far and is working to resolve other issues, Fulton COO Anna Roach said.

“These are large numbers at the top of this slide, but quite frankly, as we received these applications and did our mass denials for (applicants from) the city of Atlanta and outside of our jurisdictions, we’re now looking at a more manageable number to adjudicate,” Roach said, referring to the fact that Atlanta has its own rental/utilities program since it received separate COVID-19 relief funds.

“One of the other things we talked about earlier as well are the challenges around case-managing the applications through the application process and the somewhat unexpected challenges we got into in terms of applications having mismatched names on the lease, etc. So one of the things we did to address that issue is engage a firm … to come in and augment the staff that we had to help us work through those applications and get them to the point where we could adjudicate and approve them quicker than we had been able to do in the past. We’re very excited to have them on board. They started yesterday.”

Roach provided an update on the program at the Fulton Board of Commissioners’ May 7 monthly mayors meeting, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the board’s May 5 meeting, at least two commissioners raised concerns about the fact that so little funds for the program had been given to those who needed them.

“It’s really frustrating to see those numbers, and we know there are folks out there who need assistance,” District 1 Commissioner Liz Hausmann said. “Also, there’s a bucket of (federal stimulus) money to support arts funding, $135 million. So I hope we can provide that soon.”

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