Orange County NC Website
1 <br /> ORD-2020-011 <br /> ORANGE COUNTY <br /> BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS <br /> ACTION AGENDA ITEM ABSTRACT <br /> Meeting Date: June 2, 2020 <br /> Action Agenda <br /> Item No. 6-a <br /> SUBJECT: Eviction Diversion Program and Approval of Budget Amendment #9-A <br /> DEPARTMENT: Human Rights and Relations, <br /> Housing and Community <br /> Development and Criminal <br /> Justice Resources <br /> ATTACHMENT(S): INFORMATION CONTACT: <br /> None Annette Moore, (919) 245-2317 <br /> Emila Sutton, (919) 245-2490 <br /> Caitlin Fenhagen, (919) 245-2303 <br /> PURPOSE: To: <br /> 1) Approve the development of an Eviction Diversion Program in Orange County to help <br /> eligible Orange County residents avoid eviction, preserve tenancy, address substandard <br /> housing conditions and maintain the affordable rental housing supply; <br /> 2) Allocate funds to pay housing costs necessary to prevent imminent eviction and <br /> foreclosure, assist in securing affordable homes, and prevent homelessness; <br /> 3) Authorize staff to seek funding for the Eviction Diversion Program from the Towns, and <br /> donations from the communities and businesses; and <br /> 4) Approve Budget Amendment #9-A. <br /> BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a devastating effect on the global <br /> economy. In February 2020, Orange County along with Buncombe County led the state with the <br /> lowest unemployment rate of 2.9%. Because of COVID-19, Orange County's unemployment <br /> rate in March 2020 increased to 3.4%. With the increase in unemployment, staff have seen an <br /> increase in requests for food and housing assistance, particularly in the communities that cannot <br /> receive government assistance. The Orange County Housing and Community Development <br /> Department (OCHCD) in particular has seen the number of requests for emergency housing <br /> assistance through the Housing Displacement Fund more than quadruple in April (table below) <br /> and calls to the Housing Helpline (aka Coordinated Entry) have increased sharply from 250 in <br /> April to more than 650 in May. The Housing Helpline receives approximately three to five calls <br /> per week from residents specifically seeking legal counsel for a housing issue, and this number <br /> is rising. Finally, the Clerk of Court's Office has seen a dramatic increase in eviction filings and <br /> is adding additional court hearing dates to address this increase. <br />