Community Cares

Shannon Carr, Director of Communications with Community Cares Partners helped area residents apply for Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds at Woodward County Event Center & Fairgrounds on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Dawnita Fogleman)

Woodward County Event Center & Fairgrounds hosted an application station for Community Cares Partners on Tuesday afternoon.

“We provide rent and utility assistance to Oklahomans who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19,” said Shannon Carr, Director of Communications. “For example, maybe someone was laid off or had to be quarantined for several weeks without pay.”

Carr also said those with school aged children experienced hardship when schools shut down and went virtual, creating added expenses.

“If you really think about it, everyone has been directly or indirectly indirectly impacted by COVID,” Carr said. “Our denial rate for applications is less than five percent.”

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds are for households obligated to pay rent.

“We have just over $244 million to distribute to Oklahomans,” Carr said. “As of last Friday, we have distributed over $56 million to almost 14,000 families.”

Carr said Community Cares Partners has been able to help a household from every single county in Oklahoma.

“Everyone's struggling, and so we have a big influx of applicants right now,” Carr said. “We have over 13,000 that have completed applications that we're just waiting to process.”

With the influx of applicants, the current turnaround time for applications is about eight weeks, according to Carr.

“So we decided if we shut down (the website) for six weeks,” Carr explained. “Hopefully we should be able to get through a big chunk of those applicants that have already submitted their application, that are just waiting for us to process.

Hoping to decrease wait time, applications should open back up on October 15, according to Carr.

“Our goal is to be able to decrease that wait time,” Carr explained. “So maybe it'll be a couple of weeks versus eight weeks.”

According Carr, anyone who is facing eviction will still be processed if they bring in their eviction docket or summons with the court date on it.

“We recommend and encourage them to go to their court date,” Carr shared. “Because if they don’t, most likely it’s going to be a default judgement.”

Carr said the goal is to keep everyone home so they have housing stability.

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