LAS VEGAS, NV (KTNV) — Our homes are supposed to be our havens where we feel safe and secure. But if you're sitting in your living room right now facing possible eviction, that safety and security may be fading if you're wondering whether you could be kicked out in a week or a month.
And though Clark County says help is available through the CARES Housing Assistance Program, known as CHAP, those trying to get that rental assistance are already facing frustration.
"It's just me and my wife who is wheelchair-bound and disabled," said Rodney Fife. "She's currently in the hospital. And a lot of it's due to the stress caused by the situation. We have nowhere to go, really."
Fife says he filed for CHAP in January. It took nearly four months for the program to respond and that response was denial.
"They gave no details at all. They didn't even show a breakdown where they did their math," Fife said. "We're three months behind on rent and we've been trying to pay what we can."
CHAP is not available to everyone facing eviction. You have to apply, provide financial and other documentation and fall under strict income limits.
If you are approved, there's no time frame as to when help may arrive.
Despite repeated questions during Thursday's press conference, no one would give a definitive answer.
Many we've spoken to have been in limbo for months. And even if approved, they're still awaiting a caseworker to be assigned and money to be disbursed.
"We're still in that limbo process," said Fife. "There's no way for us to get caught up. We've used our savings to pay what we can. We, you know, you can look here. We're not living a lavish lifestyle at all."
There are some starting to benefit. So far this year, more than 400 households facing eviction have received $3 million through CHAP to bring them current with their rent.
Although landlords do have the legal right to refuse to participate in the program and instead move forward with eviction proceedings, those who do participate get the back rent they're owed as long as they agree to drop eviction proceedings and promise not to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent for the following 60 days.
With additional recent funding, there is about $160 million now available for rental assistance, which is expected to be enough to help 40,000 more households.
With the state's eviction moratorium expiring on May 31, what does that mean for Rodney and thousands of others?
Governor Sisolak had this to say in March:
"At the end of May, the eviction moratorium for the state of Nevada will end while the CDC protections will stay in place for another 30 days. During that 30 day period, eviction case filings may resume in the courts but renters will still be protected from actual eviction through the end of the CDC moratorium."
Meaning landlords can start filing eviction notices after May 31, but no one can actually be locked out until July 1.
Renters like Rodney remain in the dark, hoping for help from CHAP that may never come.
"Well, who you know, who wouldn't be stressed?" said Fife. "Who wouldn't be losing sleep? You know, who wouldn't be, you know, crying and angry and frustrated. And we're about ready to lose our home."
If the tsunami of evictions many fear becomes reality, we know your concerns and questions will multiply. We've already started looking for answers and are committed to continuing coverage.