Published in Economic Development

Ottawa County organization receives $300K for eviction diversion

BY Thursday, October 15, 2020 03:13pm

HOLLAND — Good Samaritan Ministries has been awarded $300,000 from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to help 200 more Ottawa County households avoid eviction.

The additional $300,000 is on top of $767,898 Good Samaritan received in July from MSHDA to help households through the state’s Eviction Diversion Program, which was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial allocation is expected to run out by Nov. 13. 

Drew Peirce, executive director of Good Samaritan Ministries COURTESY PHOTO

MSHDA received $60 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for the program, most of which is for rental assistance.

Good Samaritan serves as the Housing Assessment and Resource Agency for Ottawa County, and has used funding from the state’s program to keep 124 households in their residence. An additional 200 households have applied for the program.

“We don’t see the need slowing down,” said Drew Peirce, executive director of Good Samaritan Ministries. “We see the numbers (of households applying) continuing to trend up. We can still foresee asking for another award depending on where we are in a month.”

The majority of the funding goes toward rent payments that are past due as well as paying rent forward for two months, depending on how people qualify for the program, Peirce said. 

“These are folks that all have seven-day notices and are really close to eviction,” Peirce said. “It’s an urgent need.”

Pierce added that many beneficiaries of the eviction diversion program are facing a housing crisis for the first time.

A year ago Good Samaritan helped about 20 families keep their housing. The organization has helped 124 families in the last seven weeks, Peirce said. 

The CARES Act funding must be spent by the end of the year, but Peirce sees an ongoing need for eviction prevention in the future.

“The Eviction Diversion Program was a reaction to COVID-19 that freed up a lot of public dollars as part of the CARES Act,” Peirce said. “It ends Dec. 30, but for us we’re thinking how we can have an eviction diversion program just as robust and effective a year from now as a permanent part of what we do.”

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