LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A protest outside the Governor’s mansion was held Thursday evening where chants of “fight, fight, fight…housing is a human right” were shouted.
The protest was to demand that Governor Asa Hutchinson change his decision regarding rental assistance from the federal government.
In a press conference in April, Hutchinson said he plans to only accept 39% of the $146 million provided by the federal government for rental assistance.
The Governor’s reason for declining the money is because he says “our economy has returned, there’s jobs of plenty out there, and we have existing programs in place for rental assistance there were pre-pandemic “
Protester, Joyce Jones says this doesn’t mean people aren’t still in need. She adds that people were struggling before, during and currently after the pandemic.
“If one Arkansan, one child is homeless then that’s one child too many,” said Jones.
Studies show that there have been nearly 3,000 evictions in 2022 in the Natural State alone.
In response to the Governor saying there are jobs for people, Jones says the jobs “are paying not enough to sustain a living wage.”
Hutchinson says the nearly $60 million of the $146 million that the Governor did accept will go towards certain non-profit organizations. These organizations will be utilized to attack specific challenges people face to eliminate housing stability struggles as a whole.
Greg Moore with Arkansas Renters United says, it is unfair that there is money to help people, but the Governor won’t use it.
“I just want to ask him, like why would you deny this money? Why would you stand in the way of this?” said Moore.
Arkansas and Nebraska are the only two states that didn’t accept the full amount.
Governor Hutchinson says the remaining near-86 million dollars will be sent elsewhere where there are greater needs.