Cristina Pagano is property manager at the Columns of Oakwood and she said Hall County's Emergency Rental Assistance Program has helped one of her tenants get the help she needed when she was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was a great experience for me as a landlord," Pagano said. "And I believe for the tenant as well, because she got the relief that she needed."
The county began taking applications for the program in April and sent out the first round of checks on May 6.
Katie Crumley, Public Information Officer with Hall County Government, said she hopes more people will apply so they can continue giving out federal funds. The program is supported by a federal award given to the county by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Households in Hall County who have individuals qualified for unemployment benefits, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic are highly encouraged to apply.
Walter Lavender is a tenant who found himself overwhelmed by other bills when he was unable to work for a time during the pandemic. He said the Emergency Rental Assistance Program helped him pay for a year of rent. Although it was difficult to admit he needed help, he said he is glad he did.
"A lot of people probably never want to reach out like that because it really plays a part that you are used to doing so much on your own," Lavender said. "And then when you get in this type of situation, you know, you have to turn to someone. So it was very hard and meaningful to me because I was taking care of myself a lot."
Lavender said the application process was pretty easy, and Pagano had a similar experience. She said her positive experience was due in part to the kindness of those with the county.
"The people who [are] doing this from Hall County are so kind and so thoughtful about people," Pagano said. "[The process] wasn't bad at all."
She explained that it has been difficult to be a landlord throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but she believes things will get better.
"Especially that I have a small community, and I have a good relationship and I know pretty much everyone here," Pagano said. "So, I know that the residents have been struggling because of the pandemic... Some people have a financial hardship. Some people went through other things... I do recommend everyone that is having issues, ask their landlord to apply."
More information on how to apply can be found on the county's website.