Three Oakland County Orgs. Distributing Rental Assistance Funds
(CHN, May 9, 2021)
In these challenging times, Community Housing Network (CHN) is on the front lines of working to keep folks in their homes – and off the streets.
Currently, Community Housing Network is one of three Oakland County agencies distributing funds via the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (or CERA) program. These funds, being provided at this critical time, will help people who continue to be impacted by the Covid pandemic stay in their place of residence by supporting them with rent, utilities and other assistance.
The state of Michigan’s CERA program is designed to keep Michiganders who have fallen behind on rent and utilities during the pandemic in their homes. It uses a collaborative community process to get assistance to these tenants – and their landlords.
“It’s important for individuals and landlords to reach out to us as soon as they see a need for support,” said Lisa Chapman, CHN Director of Covid Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA). “The funding we’ve received is available to support individuals as well as landlords with residents that are unable to pay their rent. All they need to do is reach out.”
In Oakland County, in addition to Community Housing Network, Lighthouse of Michigan and OLHSA are also helping to distribute CERA funds.
In addition, legal services for renters will be provided by local legal aid organizations, including Lakeshore Legal Aid funded by grants made through the Michigan State Bar Foundation.
The program began March 15, 2021. There are eligibility requirements and those who need assistance are encouraged to apply online via a soon to be developed portal.  The online application portal is available now and can be accessed through CHN’s website.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put even more financial strain on low-income families in Michigan, but this program will help ease the burden of homelessness by keeping people in their homes,” said CHN President and CEO, Marc Craig. “Millions of Americans are struggling to pay their bills and this program will help keep them on their feet.”
In 2020, Community Housing Network saw a more than 40% increase in requests from those needing assistance to remain housed. More than 2,600 people have been helped to remain in their homes during COVID-19 in Oakland county. In contrast, in 2019, CHN helped 114  households with emergency housing and homeless prevention assistance during the same time period.
Those who want more information on eligibility for the CERA program can call Community Housing Network at 248-824-7425 or the Oakland (toll-free) hotline at 1-888-441-1742 and a housing specialist will call back to provide an intake screening.
For more information and resources, visit MSHDA – COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) (michigan.gov) or RENTAL ASSISTANCE – CERA | Mysite (oaklandhomeless.org)