Some renters struggle as coronavirus pandemic continues

The coronavirus pandemic continues to strain renters who struggle to stay afloat and some have been threatened with eviction notices.

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Sami Bourma used to hold three jobs before the pandemic as a chef, an organizer for his local Union 23, and as an Uber driver. But now, he says: "I haven't paid my rent, I'm facing eviction, and have no income."

The unemployed father of two, who has a baby on the way, lives at Southern Towers apartments in Alexandria with this family. Since coronavirus, he says he wonders everyday how he's going to put food on the table.


"I have two kids, 11 years, and 11 months and they need stuff and I worry about things I can't bring to them. If every day they drink three cups of milk, and I tell them I have to cut it down to 1 a day and they ask me why? And if I don't have that answer, it's terrifying," said Bourma.

Mostafa Rahim also lives in the complex. He used to work as a post mate delivery driver, but says his car had issues and broke down, and he couldn't afford to get it fixed.

"I applied for unemployment three months ago and haven't received anything not even a penny... so four months of child support I haven't been able to pay, while struggling to pay rent, food and stuff," said Rahim.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Everything You Need to Know

Rahim and Bourma say there are hundreds of tenants in their apartment complexes who like them are desperate. They feel they have not received support from their landlord and managing group Bell Partners, including reasonable payment plan options. And dozens of tenants received eviction notices.

Bell Partners provided the following statement to FOX 5 on Friday evening: 

“Bell Partners knows this a difficult and concerning time. We have taken measures to help ease anxiety and potential financial burdens for our residents. Our team has regularly attempted to reach every resident who is experiencing rent challenges (by phone, email, and notices delivered to their apartments) to understand their situation and walk through their options. We have offered those residents the ability to enroll in a payment plan at no additional cost, extended due dates for rent and waived late payment and credit card fees. We are also working closely with the City of Alexandria and its Office of Housing to help residents evaluate additional options for assistance.

Bell Partners is absorbing any fees associated with enrolling in the payment plans, and residents who enroll will not pay more money than they would have otherwise.”

Just this week, the Virginia Attorney General said that lower courts can grant continuances on evictions. Bourma said the court did give many of them a 60 day extension on their evictions.

Meanwhile, in Maryland's Prince George's County district two, there's another challenging issue when it comes to rent:

"A lot of the people in my district are undocumented and don't qualify for these federal dollars," said Councilwoman Deni Taveras.

She adds, "We're probably going to see waves and waves of people being evicted, and buildings empty... if we don't work with these families to help them pay the rent."

Currently In D.C. no rent increases are allowed. There’s a moratorium on evictions, so no tenants can legally be evicted during the state of emergency and about 60-90 days after. Landlords must provide payment plan options, and they can’t charge late fees.

If you're facing any issues in D.C. go to

In D.C. there are also a number of assistance programs tenants can look into:

Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program
-Impacted by COVID-19-50 Unit or less buildings
-60% Median Family Income ($72,780.00 for a family of four) or less-At least 6 months of assistance
-Administered by two Community Based Organizations
-Housing Counseling Services – (202) 667-7713
-Latino Economic Development Center – (202) 588-5102 or (202) 540-7401

COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP)
-Impacted by COVID-19-80% Median Family Income ($77,600.00 for a family of four) or less-Up to 3 months of overdue rent
-Administered by three Community Based Organizations
-Greater Washington Urban League – 202-524-8175 or by email at
-Housing Counseling Services – (202) 667-7713
-United Planning Organization – (202) 231-7910 or (202) 231-7922
-Apply online at (same as ERAP program below)

202 Assists
-Ward 8 Residents-$1,000 one time payments per household
-Administered by two Community Based Organizations
-Lydia's House - 202-373-1050
-Housing Counseling Services - 202 667-67713

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
-Below 125% of the federal poverty level ($32,750 for a family of four)
-Up to five months of past due rent or $4,250 (whichever is lower)
-Up to $6,000 for households with a disability or more than seven children
-Up to $900 for security deposits or first months rent
-Apply online at (same as CHAP program above)
-Contact for additional information