Uncertainty over a new stimulus bill won’t stand in the way of rent and utilities help in Davidson Co.

Posted at 6:58 PM, Dec 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-23 19:59:50-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — We may be waiting on a new stimulus bill, but the remaining CARES Act funding is still being put to good use with programs across the state.

Lisa McCrady has her TV set to the news every day, knowing things can change at any time. She and the staff at the Metro Action Commission (MAC) expected the stimulus bill proposed by Congress to be signed as soon as possible.

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that legislators had to make adjustments before he would sign the bill. His biggest concern was that $600 was not nearly enough for a stimulus check and $2,000 was more appropriate.

“We’re looking at the stimulus package, we’re looking at unemployment, we’re looking at the moratorium. Things are just changing,” McCrady said.

Fortunately for MAC, they won't have to rely on the new stimulus bill to launch one program meant to help provide families with three to six months of rental assistance. The program began at the beginning of December and has proven to be a popular option as McCrady says it gives people a way out of their mounting debt.

“When you hear these stories, it pulls at your heart and so you want to do everything that you can,” McCrady said.

Last year about 200 families applied for a similar program where MAC offered to help with one month of back rent. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, they’ve now helped more than 800 families and counting.

Having an income is not a requirement. To qualify you simply can’t make more than the designated amount based on how many people are in your Davidson County home.

Household size and annual income max:

1 person: $46,100

2 person: $52,700

3 person: $59,300

4 person: $65,850

5 person: $71,150

This complements the help they offer through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP). This federally funded program provides energy assistance to low-income homeowners and renters.
That application can be found below.

If you’re not sure if you qualify, staff say call anyway and they may just have a program they can pair you with. Their offices will be closed through the holidays until Dec. 28. You can contact MAC offices at 615-862-8860.

You can find the application for emergency rental assistance at the link below. There you can fill out the application, email it to MAC at

A drop-box has also been placed outside their offices at 800 2nd Avenue North, Nashville TN, 37201.

The stimulus bill may have extended the moratorium on evictions another month, but attorney Nick Schulenberg of Freeman & Fuson Law Firm says the delay was inevitable.

The Tennessee Supreme Court made the decision Tuesday to suspend all in-person proceedings with only a few exceptions. Schulenberg says renters may have been expecting a moratorium, but this court decision will effectively do the same thing.

Landlords can still file but likely won't have their day in court until January 29 at the earliest. With the backlog of evictions expected, that day could be pushed back even further as most cases may not see a judge until March or even April.

“It’s important for all tenants to know the moratorium in no way absolves them from their obligations on their lease. So when the landlords do eventually get their day in court, no matter how delayed that maybe, they’re going to be expected to get right with their rent,” Schulenberg said.

Schulenberg says his firm represents both landlords and tenants. He says both groups are struggling to make payments and his hope is they understand it benefits everyone to work toward a solution before eviction.

McCrady echoes the same hope as they work to mediate between landlords and tenants. The ultimate goal is to keep families in homes, with their bills paid and the same goes for the landlord.