Miami-Dade County launched a new program this week that has could help tenants struggling to make ends meet and landlords desperately awaiting rent payments.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) for COVID-19 would help renters pay their rent by sending money directly to their landlord.
ERAP addresses some of the criticism levied against other pandemic-era assistance payments, which directed money to lessees rather than property owners.
Under some programs, once the infusion dropped, renters had to decide how to allocate a limited amount of cash to their mounting expenses. At times, landlords — many of whom aren’t flush with cash — were given the short end of the stick.
Miami-Dade has tapped Indelible Solutions to help ensure program funds are directed to where they are most needed.
The Black-owned, Florida-based national consulting firm will work with the county to validate applicant eligibility and verifiy timely delivery of funding, among other efforts.
Program eligibility is tied to the renter’s income and their ability to pay back rent. Approved applicants can get assistance for up to 12 months in of overdue rent payments.
“Making sure the ERAP process is not only timely but efficient, will make a world of difference,” said Jerome Byers, chairman and CEO of Indelible Solutions. “Our work together with the county will make a world of difference to a young mother caring for her children, a father struggling to make ends meet, and every family.
“This pandemic has hit so many communities, so many families, so many businesses. We are proud to have an impact on helping keep a roof over someone’s head.”
Indelible Solutions was founded by two Florida A&M University graduates with a proven track record of working with state and local governments.
“Indelible is not some company that has just come in. You are talking about a company who has worked with top 3 companies in the nation,” said Commissioner Kionne McGhee. “Diversity is a major ingredient that is needed in order for Miami Dade County to realize its true potential.”
Their involvement in ERAP comes as part of a deliberate effort to move contract procurement in a direction that is more reflective of the county’s diverse population.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and County Commissioners highlighted the Indelible Solutions contract during a roundtable this week.
“This is what we can do when we have an intentional, purposeful leadership, extraordinary capacity and good public administrators. When you bring those things together, you can create opportunities that didn’t exist before,” Commission Vice Chair Oliver Gilbert III said.
Levine Cava added, “We’re setting a precedent that we want to do this wherever possible to create new opportunities, new inroads, new pipelines to build a more inclusive community that lifts up everyone in our economy.”