[This is a joint press release with the City of Raleigh.]
After helping more than 3,800 households avoid eviction, the House Wake! COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program will stop accepting applications at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 21. Funding from the federal government is running out, and this proactive move ensures that approved applicants in the queue by this date will have their rent or utility payments covered through April 30, 2022.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury provided funding directly to territories, states, and local governments to assist eligible households through existing or newly created rental assistance programs. The County contributed an additional $4 million in county dollars in 2020. The total budget for the program is $101 million, with $75.5 provided by Wake County and an additional $25.5 million provided by the City of Raleigh.
“The assistance this program has been able to provide to thousands facing an eviction or utility cutoff is incredible, but unfortunately cannot last forever. We need to embrace the reality of the program ending,” said Wake County Commissioner Vickie Adamson. “We want to be good stewards of this process and only accept applications that we know we can fund with the federal dollars currently available.”
Both County and City of Raleigh staff applied for additional funding from the federal government to offer continued support, but both agencies were notified this week that the program would not be receiving any additional federal funds.
Closing applications will allow Telamon, the administrator of House Wake!, the necessary time to work through the applications still in process. By not accepting new applications, it can shift more resources to focus on households already in the queue and speed up the processing timeline.
“Over the past year, we’ve helped thousands of renters and landlords avoid evictions and keep the lights on,” said Deputy County Manager Duane Holder. “Our work isn’t ending here; we’ll continue working to find solutions for those who may need help outside of the House Wake! program.”
The program's application deadline will not impact anyone who has already applied or is currently receiving aid. Any application submitted by Jan. 21 will be eligible for assistance if approved.
Help Beyond House Wake!
While House Wake! is ending, support for those struggling will continue.
“Our top priority is working with our residents to prepare them for what life after House Wake! may look like,” said Lamont Taylor, Community and Economic Development Administrator for the City of Raleigh’s Housing and Neighborhoods Department. “By giving them a timeframe for when the financial support will end, they can begin to proactively seek out alternative assistance from other community organizations or programs.”
In December 2021, Wake County announced the creation of Bridge to Home, a service expansion program aimed at helping move as many people as possible to permanent housing. The program will award a total of $10.5 million to homeless service providers to increase successful permanent housing outcomes in our community.
The County and City are also actively working with Capital Area Workforce Development and local chambers of commerce to find a way to connect those who may have lost their jobs during the pandemic with employers.
For residents needing assistance with their utility bills, several Wake County and City of Raleigh programs may be able to help. They include:
- The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program,
- Crisis Heating Assistance,
- The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, and
- Assistance Program for Water and Sewer Utility Customers (For Raleigh residents).
For residents who are experiencing homelessness or about to become homeless, the House Wake! Access Hub can also help connect them to the right resources.
The Access Hub will determine eligibility for a referral to the following programs:
- Emergency shelter,
- Street outreach, and
- Financial assistance programs to prevent homelessness.
About House Wake!
House Wake! is a strategic plan to minimize the effects of COVID-19 on homeless and precariously housed Wake County residents, while maximizing opportunities for positive long-term outcomes.
This program uses federal, state and local funding to address the COVID-19 crisis within our homeless and precariously housed populations and aims to move the maximum number of people possible to housing stability.