I-TEAM: Why haven’t relief funds for Cleveland renters and landlords been distributed yet?

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM is investigating to find out what happened to $11.3 million dollars promised to help people struggling to pay their rent during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the first week of May, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said the city would give out that money to aid renters and landlords in need.

Liam Hanrahan got laid-off from two jobs and fell behind on rent. He can’t understand what’s causing the delay.

“I’m looking for any kind of help I can get. I mean, you’d think there’d be a little urgency. I mean, how long is this going to go on?” he said.

We also spoke to Annie Datillo about the money. The landlord says she and her husband rent out about 30 apartments.

“It sure sounded good. Now, let’s come up with the money. The big question is, how do we find it? How do we get it?  We have people who are struggling and really need the money,” said Datillo.

*Read more on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, here.*

The I-TEAM first started asking about this days after the big announcement. A worker at City Hall told us at that time no one had been appointed yet to oversee that program.

Now nearly a month later, we’ve learned City Hall still has not handed out one dime of that eleven million dollars.

At a recent meeting, Mayor Jackson spoke about money for businesses and renters. The city has promised to make the “largest category of assistance available to renters.”

But, we’ve learned City Hall will have an outside organization manage the rent assistance program, and officials are still deciding on someone to do that.

So for now, there’s still no way to even apply for help, yet the mayor talks of moving quickly.

At that recent meeting he said, “We will expedite it in order to get the money out.”

The city has not offered any timetable for getting the money into the hands of renters and landlords. 

*Click here for more investigative stories from the I-TEAM.*

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