This story originally appeared on The Philadelphia Tribune.
The owner of a mobile platform is stepping up to help families struggling to pay their rent amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ofo Ezeugwu, the CEO and founder of Whose Your Landlord, has partnered with Walmart and other companies on a rent relief program.
He said he is targeting his efforts toward Black households because they have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“Sadly there is going to a lot more economic distress and housing insecurity over the next six to 24 months and so we just want to do our part in putting a dent in that in some capacity,” Ezeugwu said.
Walmart is providing $25,000 that will be distributed through WYL’s nonprofit arm to provide 50 Black families with $500 each toward their rent.
“These past few months have prompted waves of emotions: We’ve felt challenged, determined, exhausted and hopeful, often at the same time,” said Walmart spokesman Tony Waller.
“Our strength has been tested. Families need us now more than ever. And it is hopeful to see organizations like Whose Your Landlord finding creative ways to help people and families.”
WYL is a mobile platform that empowers renters through landlord reviews and housing literacy content.
Ezeugwu encourages other companies to join in helping families financially impacted by the pandemic.
“We want other brands out there to see what we’re doing and to tag team with us — whether that is donating or providing some kind of resource to our community of renters,” said Ezeugwu, who started his platform in 2013.
“That’s the goal in getting the story out — one part of it is making sure it is amplified for people who are in need of applying and the other part of it is inviting more organizations to join and keep it going.”
As part of the rent relief initiative, MakeSpace, a storage unit company, is offering $75 off to WYL users for their first month and the U.S. Army is highlighting non-combat job opportunities and providing copies of the Renter Commandments handbook.
WYL will randomly select 50 recipients by the end of August for September’s rent. Households can apply for rent relief by visiting wyl.co/relief.