COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A local program was designed for renters and landlords to keep people housed and owners paid during the pandemic.

According to the website’s About Page, Rentful614 is there to help stop the spread of evictions.

“In Franklin County last year in 2021, we had over 15,000 evictions,” said Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio Executive Director Carlie Boos. “That’s just a little bit shy of where we were pre-pandemic. So, any stall out that we saw, has come back.”

There are five organizations that make up Rentful614.com.

Boos said the money comes from federal pass-through funds that are hosted by the state, the city, and the county.

“Rentful614 is an information hub. It’s a one-stop-shop for all things rent assistance,” Boos said.

She said the site is open for renters and landlords to find the right resources to assist them with either making payments or getting paid. Landlords can apply for assistance for up to 18 months for rent and utilities. This can be used for past due payments and future payments.

Landlords can get assistance without filing an eviction.

“We don’t want landlords to have to pay for an attorney,” Boos said. “We don’t want tenants to have that appear on their credit record. We definitely don’t want everybody coming down to the courthouse in the middle of a pandemic.”

According to Rentful614, about one-third of Ohio’s renters are having trouble paying rent.

“Statistically speaking, if you know four renters, a cousin, or a colleague who rents, you know someone who is probably facing an eviction right now,” Boos said. “They aren’t talking about it because it’s terrifying and it’s embarrassing.”

To eliminate the stigma many renters may have, the program is set up to be private for both renters and landlords.

The site was launched in English at the beginning of the year. Since then, there are now translations in Somali and Spanish.