Los Angeles

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The Resident Relief Foundation has launched anew nationwide initiative to support residents impacted by theCOVID-19 pandemic. The new initiative, eponymously named theResident Relief Initiative, will pay one month ofrent in emergency financial assistance to renters and helplandlords who are at risk of foreclosure and bankruptcy. Thefoundation is partnering with Mynd PropertyManagement, Veritas Impact Group,GSH Group, Luxer One andDomuso to raise $10 million to keep renters intheir homes.

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"We've successfully helped more than 100 residents remain intheir homes over the past two years, but we realized very quicklythat layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis would impacthundreds of thousands, if not millions, of renters," TinaM. Oswald, executive director of the Resident ReliefFoundation, tells GlobeSt.com. "The Resident Relief Initiative wascreated to proactively mobilize the multifamily industry around anational fundraising objective to ensure we can help residents wheneviction moratoriums are lifted and renters begin to struggle withtheir repayment plans."

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The foundation, which is based in Los Angeles, was originallyfounded to help renters respond to unexpected financial hardship.The coronavirus pandemic certainly fits the model, but on a widescale. Generally, assistance through program is availablenationwide to renters that qualify, but qualifications have beenadjusted in response to the crisis. "Anyone who has received aneviction notice and meets the program criteria whichincludes no violations of the terms of their leaseagreement is eligible, if they can provide the requireddocumentation and demonstrate a clear path to financial recovery,"Oswald says. "In response to the current crisis, we have loosenedrequirements for how long they have lived in their community andthe acceptable number of late payments."

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This initiative is meant to augment federal programs, like theCARES Act—which have been criticized for delays in issuing funds torenters—and provide gap resources once those programs end. "Federalstimulus programs are great and hopefully will carry rentersthrough the crisis, but no one knows how long it will last or itstrue economic impact and none of those funds are tied specificallyto rent obligations," says Oswald. "Even after the worst haspassed, when eviction moratoriums are lifted and federal funds havedried up, there will be residents that may be back to work orcollecting unemployment but unable to meet their repaymentobligations. As an industry, we want to be prepared for thateventuality so we can be there for renters who are otherwise in agood position to recover financially."

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In fact, the program will be crucial to providing assistanceduring the recovery period, when the emergency orders and therelated protective measures are lifted. This is true for bothrenters and landlords, particularly mom-and-pop landlords, who own49 million apartment units across the country. "Most owners areindividual or smaller landlords for whom the fallout would befinancially devastating and the Resident Relief Initiative is oneway to help them avoid collection problems and even bankruptcy,"says Oswald. "Keeping responsible residents in their homes is ofparamount importance for everyone. Besides preventing an increasein homelessness, the eviction process is expensive for owners ofall sizes. The largest ownership groups are in a position tocontribute financially, plus it's good for their business and it'ssimply the right thing to do."

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As an experienced entity in providing relief, the foundationalready has a line-up of stakeholders to participate in theprogram. "Support for the Resident Relief Foundation comesprimarily from multifamily industry stakeholders, including banks,agents, brokers, vendors, owners and operators," says Oswald."Mobilizing the multifamily industry not only generates neededfunds, it shows we care for our communities and demonstrates tolarger foundations and individual and corporate benefactors that weare unified around this important common cause."

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Ultimately, the Resident Relief Initiative will help toboth prevent eviction and homelessness that may result from thecoronavirus pandemic.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.