Gwinnett County will use funds from the CARES Act to make past due rent payments directly to landlords in order to prevent many imminent evictions and keep tenants stably housed.
The first phase of the new Project RESET program will target 400 active dispossessory filings currently in Gwinnett Magistrate Court where eviction is imminent. Court staff has contacted both tenants and landlords regarding eligibility and how to apply.
Project RESET will also work with tenants and landlords who do not have an eviction filing but are in a pre-eviction stage, have filed a CDC Eviction Moratorium or are working through a payment plan. This flexibility allows the project to respond to homelessness proactively by preventing future eviction filings caused by the financial impact of COVID-19. HomeFirst Gwinnett is partnering with County government and Magistrate Court in the program.
"Project RESET lets us take a strategic and coordinated approach to the needs that have arisen out of COVID-19," said HomeFirst Gwinnett Director Matthew Elder. "This versatility and coordination will be benchmark best practices for how local governments, courts and nonprofits can work together for large-scale community impact."
Chief Magistrate Kristina Hammer Blum said, "We've built a resource pipeline to get CARES Act funding directly to tenants and landlords who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Our goal is to bring more social service resources directly into the court system to make them easily accessible by those most in need. This is a solution-based justice model that I am excited to build upon, not just in dispossessory cases, but in all of our court processes."
District 4 County Commissioner Marlene Fosque said, "This is another amazing example of how Gwinnettians partner together to address problems like homelessness and the pandemic. Thanks to U.S. Treasury funds, we are able to reduce the inevitable homelessness problem that would otherwise have a huge negative impact on our community."
The County has also awarded CARES Act funding to other nonprofit agencies that provide multiple layers of housing assistance and supportive services for residents affected by COVID-19. These additional agencies and services will coordinate with Project RESET to provide a complete continuum approach to respond to these needs.
Project RESET officially launched on Nov. 2 and will run through the end of 2020. Interested parties can get more information by calling 770-847-6765 or emailing MagistrateCourtProjectRESET@gwinnettcounty.com.