Sunday, October 2, 2022

Federal Covid-19 bill brings $7.7 million in local rent assistance funding

Eviction proceedings were put on hold since mid-March, but this week, the orders blocking the process expire. (Port City Daily/Photo courtesy Pexels, George Becker)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A recently approved Covid-19 federal relief package includes more than $7 million in emergency rental assistance funding for New Hanover County.

The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners accepted the funding Monday, which will go toward the county’s emergency rental assistance program.

Related: New Hanover, Wilmington win big on American Rescue Plan with $71m in expected stimulus funds

Signed into law just before the new year, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was the second Covid-19 relief package approved by Congress.

The funding package includes $25 billion in rental assistance, available to local governments with populations of 200,000 or more. The county accepted $7,072,025 to create a new or replenish an existing rent assistance program. Ninety percent of the financing must be used for direct assistance; the remaining funds may be used to administer the financing.

Funds expire at the end of 2021. Financing will be made available to applicants whose income have been impacted by the pandemic and are at risk of losing their housing.

Eligible applicants may be awarded funds to help offset rent, utility, or other housing-related expenses.

According to county documents, eligible households include one or more renters that: qualify for unemployment or experienced financial hardship due to Covid-19; is at risk of homelessness or housing instability; has an income at or below 80% of the local median.

Households with a recently unemployed individual or earning incomes at or below 50% of the local median will be prioritized, per federal requirements.

The county will announce more detailed information on how to apply in the coming weeks.

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