The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on Peter Yahiayan of Property Lovers LLC, who manages a 35-unit building in Detroit near La Salle and the Davison Freeway. At one point, 18 of his tenants were behind on rent.
“It was hard to maintain the properties – we were scared to potentially lose our utilities and default on our water,” Yahiayan said of what it was like when things had nearly reached a breaking point. “We still had to provide for these tenants, who weren’t able to pay their rent.”
He reached out to Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency for assistance through the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program, and recently received $60,000 from the organization on behalf of several of his residents. He’s awaiting payments for five or six more.
“Wayne Metro has been hands down a huge help,” Yahiayan said. “If it weren’t for them, I don’t know where we’d be right now.”
Yahiayan and his tenants are some of the more than 9,000 households who have received CERA assistance from Wayne Metro since the program’s launch in March. The organization has distributed more than $80 million in Wayne County through this program in the last seven months, with another $30 million obligated.
Wayne Metro is working hard to keep Wayne County residents in their homes and help alleviate some of the financial burden renters are carrying as a result of the pandemic. Renters with past-due rent and utility balances and those with subsidized housing can receive assistance if they meet other eligibility requirements. Tenants or landlords can apply on behalf of a household. Depending on a renter’s income, they may be eligible to receive up to 12 months of past due rental assistance and three months of future rent.