Rent is due, but some are having difficulty making payment due to coronavirus pandemic

For many, the first of the month means rent is due. However, as COVID-19 continues to spread, some renters are in financial trouble. Despite Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announcing a new program to assist tenants, one tenant may still lose her home.

FOX 10's Justin Lum spoke with Crystal Solis, a Phoenix mother who said she has five days to pay rent, or her landlord will kick her out.

"I’ve been out of work since [March 16]. Now we’re in a situation where my landlord is about to kick us out," said Solis.

Solis, a wife and mother of five kids, doesn't know what to do. She claims the temp agency she worked with is not being used by Talking Stick Resort and Casino, where she had been working. The casino is temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

"[The landlord] text me. She told me that the government was issuing out money, and it was gonna be more than three weeks and that I need to figure out to pay, to collect some rent money, which I’ve been doing," said Solis.

Solis says she has applied for the Rental Eviction Prevention Assistance Program that was launched by the Arizona Department of Housing. There is $5 million in funding to help affected tenants like Solis.

Courtney Gilstrap Levinus with Arizona Multihousing Association, which represents landlords across the state, says renters and property owners need to work together during this crisis.

"Property owners also need to be aware that relief is coming, so renters applying for unemployment, we know that direct assistance should be hitting bank accounts, or residents should receive checks in the next three to four weeks," said Levinus.

Solis says she also applied for unemployment as her family is out of work, but time is ticking, and hopelessness is setting in.

"Stuff like this is not under our control sometimes, and it’s overwhelming when you have a landlord who don’t want to consider stuff like this, and it’s hard," said Solis.

FOX 10 has reached out to Solis' landlord. The landlord has not returned our call.

It should also be noted that Gov. Ducey has issued an executive order that delays evictions for renters impacted by COVID-19. (In Spanish/En Español)

That executive order will remain in effect for 120 days.

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Additional resources

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - How it spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ (In Spanish/En Español)

Arizona COVID-19 Response - Public resources, FAQ, webinars (In Spanish/En Español)

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