Residents facing evictions in Summit or Wasatch Counties can seek rent assistance from the Christian Center of Park City. The non-profit has spent almost $1 million on rent assistance since the start of the pandemic.
But Rob Harter, the executive director of the organization, said they’re reevaluating who they’re giving money to, and that’s because of a couple of new developments with evictions.
Harter said one of those reasons is because there aren’t many vulnerable people facing evictions right now. He said most landlords in the area have worked with tenants to ensure housing.
The Center for Disease Control issued a moratorium that will protect virtually all Americans from evictions. The order was filed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will be effect from September 4 until December 31.
Harter said the moratorium will help people stay put through the end of the year —though it doesn’t fix everything.
“Now it’s not a rent forgiveness, it’s a rent deferment," Harter said. "So, they still will owe penalties and rent at the end of the year.”
Now that most tenants aren’t facing imminent evictions, Harter said the organization’s priority is paying bills for people who are still at risk of immediately losing their homes and people with medical emergencies.
“Because we have a little bit of time with the eviction moratorium, we’re really wanting to have people meet with our case manager and our staff just to take the time to figure out what really are your biggest needs," he said. "So I guess the best way to put it is that we're really trying to invest more time, as opposed to just cutting checks quickly to keep from being evicted.”
But Harter said while their main focus is on people with imminent evictions, the organization will still work with families who need financial help.
“So maybe they’ve paid their rent, but they still have their heat bill or their water bill or their other bills that came up…medical bills perhaps," he said. "So, we still want to be a resource to help them.”
Harter said the Christian Center has also seen a high demand for more mental health services. The organization is expanding those resources and recently hired two more counselors.
Services are offered on a sliding scale, which allows patients to decide how much they can afford. And there is also a counseling scholarship, which pays for the costs of therapy.
This week The Christian Center is holding their “Hike 4 Hunger” event. During the event, participants can hike throughout the week either on their own or on a hosted hike. The organization is asking for a $20 donation, which will provide food to those in need.