Arkansas Community Organizations campaign Director Loriee Evans sends word of a protest planned over Governor Hutchinson‘s refusal to accept millions in federal money meant to help Arkansans make the rent. Arkansas and Nebraska are the only two states who turned down millions in federal rent dollars that are part of the a COVID-19 relief package. Arkansas is a poor state, consistently in the bottom 10, and we could certainly put the money to good use.
Arkansas was slated to get $146 million, but Hutchinson said he wanted only a portion of that, which he would use for job training, drug treatment and other programs geared toward putting people to work so they can pay their own rent. No word on what people who already work full-time but still struggle to cover the bills are supposed to do.
On the heels of a Democrat-Gazette investigative analysis that shows evictions are rising in Arkansas, central Arkansas renters will rally at the Governor’s mansion on Thursday at 6:30pm. Renters will be demanding Governor Hutchinson stop refusing millions in federal funds to help tenants avoid eviction.
In April, the Governor made Arkansas one of just two states that would refuse such federal rental assistance funding. In doing so, the Governor claimed that “there are economic opportunities available for our citizens.” Unfortunately, too many of these “opportunities” are minimum wage or low-paying jobs that do not cover the rent.
An eviction is devastating for families and leads to long term or even permanent housing insecurity. Renters and supporters will release statistics about the spike in evictions during the spring in Washington, Benton and Pulaski counties. Arkansas Renters United will also release a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
WHAT: Rally for Rental Assistance at the Governor’s Mansion
WHEN: 6:30pm, Thursday, May 26
WHERE: in front of the Governor’s Mansion, 1800 Center Street, Little Rock
WHO: members of Arkansas Renters United, tenants who are facing, or who have faced, eviction in Arkansas
Arkansas Community Organizations (ACO) is Arkansas’s largest grassroots organization. ACO organizes low-income and working families across the state to enable them to fight for social and economic justice, including for secure housing, affordable healthcare, a living income, and stronger neighborhoods.
A statewide chapter of ACO, Arkansas Renters United (ARU) is a thousand-strong membership of low-income tenants who organize together to fight for better landlord-tenant policies and healthier living conditions.