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BMHA: Half of residents at some properties missed rent payments

Due to job losses, the BMHA reports many tenants could not pay their rent last month.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on those in public housing. 

The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority reports a spike in people unable to pay their rent, because of job losses, and that will result in a shortfall for the BMHA. 

According to the BMHA's four-year financial plan from 2021-2024, prior to the coronavirus pandemic hitting Buffalo, about 13 percent of their tenants missed rent payments.

But last month, that number jumped to 25 percent, and at some BMHA properties half their residents were not able to make rent payments. 

According to the report, the BMHA says that unpaid rent for the month of April comes in at more than $300,000 and estimates that if this trend continues, could cost more than a million dollars. 

The report says that residents haven't been able to make rent payments because they've been focused on food and medical expenses and personal protective equipment.

2 On Your Side requested an interview with the BMHA's executive director, Gillian Brown, but we were not granted one.

Instead, Brown said through text messages that rent payments depend on income and that when a tenant loses their job, their rent goes down and that rent payments overall, in recent days have been picking up.

Brown also says that the BMHA cannot accept debit and credit cards as payment, and that it took time for people to send payment after their rent was recalculated. 

The BMHA expects federal funds to cover any shortfall next year.

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