MACCH is working to distribute $50 million in rental assistance

The Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless (MACCH) has until September of this year to distribute $50 million in emergency rental assistance. This September deadline is set by the federal government which first allocated the money to the state of Nebraska. On Tuesday, the Omaha City Council unanimously approved that the organization will administer the funds for this second round of aid. As a Spanish interpreter, Janet Bonet said she translates heartbreaking stories in deportation court every week. She recounted one from a family who recently fell victim to a rent-to-own scam. “They were having trouble getting it back, or at least getting the money they thought they were paying,” Bonet said. “Because they were paying the taxes and making the payment to the landlord and fixing the house, thinking it was theirs.” But in Bonet’s position, she can’t give them advice. Nor can she act as their lawyer. “I sometimes feel helpless, caught in the middle, because I can’t cross that line,” Bonet said. But on Tuesday, she showed up to give her two cents on the city council’s decision. “This money is absolutely essential to help areas like mine in South Omaha,” Bonet said. “But, I’m amazed to hear that only 7% of applicants were Hispanic, or identify as Hispanic, because I see people getting kicked out all the time.” In less than a year, MACCH has helped distribute more than $37 million in rental assistance to more than 8,000 homes. City Council Speaker Pete Festersen applauded the group’s efforts in the first round. “It’s a difficult balance of being quick, getting the funds out as quickly as possible but making sure they’re going to those who really need them, and making sure there’s no no more fraud or abuse in the program,” Festersen said. “I think they struck a good balance with that.” Acting MACCH Director Lisa Fox sent this statement to KETV Newswatch 7 on Thursday: “In a short period of time, MACCH was asked to create systems to determine eligibility, distribute funds, track payments and mitigate fraud,” Fox wrote. “There were lessons learned and areas of improvement identified for future funding.” A native of South Omaha, Bonet said these program improvements could help more of his neighbors who are struggling to pay their rent.” That’s why I’m involved, because I care about my community. I care about the people here,” Bonet said.

The Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless (MACCH) has until September of this year to distribute $50 million in emergency rental assistance.

This September deadline is set by the federal government which first allocated the money to the state of Nebraska. On Tuesday, the Omaha City Council unanimously approved that the organization will administer the funds for this second round of aid.

As a Spanish interpreter, Janet Bonet said she translates heartbreaking stories in deportation court every week. She recounted one from a family who recently fell victim to a rent-to-own scam.

“They were having trouble getting it back, or at least getting the money they thought they were paying,” Bonet said. “Because they were paying the taxes and making the payment to the landlord and fixing the house, thinking it was theirs.”

But in Bonet’s position, she can’t give them advice. Nor can she act as their lawyer.

“I sometimes feel helpless, caught in the middle, because I can’t cross that line,” Bonet said.

But on Tuesday, she showed up to give her two cents on the city council’s decision.

“This money is absolutely essential to help areas like mine in South Omaha,” Bonet said. “But I’m amazed to hear that only 7% of applicants were Hispanic, or identify as Hispanic, because I see people getting kicked out all the time.”

In less than a year, MACCH has helped distribute more than $37 million in rental assistance to more than 8,000 households.

City Council Speaker Pete Festersen applauded the group’s efforts in the first round.

“It’s a difficult balance of being quick, getting the funds out as quickly as possible but making sure they’re going to those who really need them, and making sure there’s no no more fraud or abuse in the program,” Festersen said. “I think they struck a good balance with that.”

Acting MACCH Director Lisa Fox sent this statement to KETV Newswatch 7 on Thursday:

“Within a short period of time, MACCH was asked to build systems to determine eligibility, distribute funds, track payments and mitigate fraud,” Fox wrote. “There were lessons learned and areas of improvement identified for the next grant.”

A native of South Omaha, Bonet said these program improvements could help more of his neighbors who are struggling to pay rent.

“That’s why I’m involved, because I care about my community. I care about the people here,” Bonet said.

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