Wake County and the City of Raleigh are making more than $33 million in federal aid available to local renters who are behind on rent or utility bills. The House Wake! COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program will provide monetary support to tenants, landlords and utility companies to cover portions of rent and/or utility shortfalls resulting from a loss of income due to the pandemic.
“Like millions across the country, many in our community are struggling to make their monthly housing and utility payments,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Vickie Adamson. “COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for residents, and it is more important than ever to keep people safe in their homes. As a board, we’re committed to linking our residents with the resources they need to avoid eviction and utility disconnections.”
Assistance is available for up to 12 months of past-due rent and unpaid utilities dating back to April 1, 2020. Renters who continue to experience economic hardships after the initial agreement period may also qualify for additional financial support. Program staff will work with applicants individually to re-certify and create a payment plan based on income and assistance needed. All assistance provided through this program will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers.
Utilities covered by the program include:
- Internet Services
“In partnering with Wake County and Telamon, a major City of Raleigh objective was to point renters to a single source of assistance having the staffing and capacity in place to take care of past due rent and utility bills as quickly as possible and to provide on-going assistance as needed,” said Larry Jarvis, Director of the City of Raleigh Housing and Neighborhoods Department.
Telamon Corporation will act as administrator for the program. The organization will process applications, coordinate in-take of prospective clients and facilitate payments to the landlords and utility companies.
For households where financial assistance is not enough, House Wake! COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program is offering two additional services:
- Legal counsel, provided at no cost for tenants who cannot reach an agreement with their landlords or need legal counsel for mediation services; and
- Relocation Assistance, for households earning below 50% of area median income (AMI) unable to maintain payments for their current home and are at-risk of homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Raleigh will contribute to this effort $14 million in federal funding allocated by the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to be combined with the $19 million allocated to Wake County.
To qualify, a household must:
- Live in Wake County and be able to show proof of residency;
- Have a legally binding North Carolina lease that covers the assistance period;
- Demonstrate that they have suffered financially from COVID-19;
- Have an income that does not exceed 80% AMI, with priority given to households below 50% AMI, based on household size; and
- Be at risk of homelessness or housing instability if rent or utility bills remain unpaid.
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 plan uses and coordinates 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.