Black communities across the United States who have been fighting to stay afloat are now faced with another massive threat — mass evictions.
Last month, 32 percent of U.S. households were unable to cover their rent or mortgage payments, according to CNBC. The latest round of stimulus packages presented by GOP leaders excludes rent relief that many families need during this time, especially in the Black community.
WhoseYourLandlord — a Black-owned mobile platform that empowers and informs the rental community through landlord reviews and housing literacy content — is taking action on behalf of Black families across the country to provide grants and resources to help renters cover housing payments.
This week, the platform launched its new WYL Rent Relief Package, which both distributes rent relief funds and micro-focuses on assisting Black families, as they’re the most neglected group in the U.S. population.
Among other detrimental factors, COVID-19 has significantly impacted Black communities across the country both physically and economically over the past few months. The uphill battle between renters and landlords has proven to be a troubling burden on both parties.
WhoseYourLandlord founder and CEO Ofo Ezeugwu took a personal stance on this issue as someone who lost a family member to COVID-19.
“These are things that are affecting our communities and it’s important that we do something about it,” said Ezeugwu.
WhoseYourLandlord then partnered with Walmart to find a resolve to renters’ issues as a result of the pandemic.
“We need to do something for Black people specifically,” said Ezeugwu. “Walmart put their money where their mouth was and put up $25,000 to grant rent relief to Black families and households.”
#Juneteenth is a day to pause for celebration, to celebrate Blackness and culture, and to uplift community.
Today, with the help of the Walmart Foundation, we're taking our Juneteenth celebration to our community and are committing $25,000 to support renters facing eviction. pic.twitter.com/9kmLNUBJxT
— Whose Your Landlord (@wylcommunity) June 19, 2020
“These past few months have prompted waves of emotions: We’ve felt challenged, determined, exhausted, and hopeful, often at the same time,” said Tony Waller, Senior Director of Constituent Relations at Walmart. “Our strength has been tested. Families need us now more than ever and it is hopeful to see organizations like Whose Your Landlord finding creative ways to help people and families.”
As far as the overarching goal for WhoseYourLandlord, the mobile platform continues to advocate for housing and rental solutions for Black communities where affordable housing isn’t quite accessible.
“The initial goal was to curve eviction from happening for at least 50 families,” said Ezeugwu.”
Now working with the launch of their new rent relief package, WhoseYourLandlord is focusing on decreasing housing insecurity.
“$25,000 isn’t going to change the entire world, but it could change the world for these families,” Ezeugwu said. “We have to start somewhere and then go from there.”
WhoseYourLandlord has also teamed up with MakeSpace — who’s offering storage discounts at $75 off the first month. In addition, it has also teamed up with the U.S. Army Brooklyn and Philadelphia branches, who are highlighting (non-combat) job opportunities to WYL users and providing renter resources and tools via the Renter Commandments handbook.
WhoseYourLandlord has plans to relaunch its mobile app later this month and create an initiative to push U.S. citizens to exercise their voting rights.
The platform also has a podcast called WYL Take Ownership where it shares insightful stories and highlights individuals who stimulate mental & economic growth in U.S. communities.
For more information on how to apply for WYL’s Rent Relief Package, click here.