The Wake County Board of Commissioners has approved using $19.3 million in federal funding to help struggling renters keep roofs over their heads and the utilities running during the pandemic.
Wake County will use these funds to extend and expand the House Wake! COVID-19 Eviction Prevention Program, launched in September 2020.
“Ensuring all our residents have safe, reliable housing during this pandemic is critical,” said Wake County Commissioner Dr. James West. “As a board, we’re committed to linking our residents with the resources they need to avoid eviction and utility disconnections. This additional funding will allow us to continue providing this service through the end of the year.”
Previous funding for House Wake! expired on Jan. 31. To finalize the details of the new funding, which comes from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, House Wake! has temporarily stopped accepting applications. The aid and support for renters who applied to House Wake! on or before this date will continue during the pause.
President Biden’s extension of the national eviction moratorium through the end of March ensures renters are not displaced and landlords can receive the assistance they need. The final details of the new funding’s allocation and rollout within House Wake! will be shared soon. Applications will reopen before the eviction moratorium expires.
Wake County will continue to work with Telamon Corporation on the eviction prevention program and will contract with them to administer the utility payment assistance.
“Using this already established program and application process, we hope to avoid confusion for those applying, get the new funding out to those in need quickly and maximize our ability to help,” said Wake County Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization Director Lorena McDowell. “The House Wake! COVID-19 Eviction Prevention Program has already received more than 2,000 applications from renters in Wake County, and I’m excited to see how many more families and landlords that this additional funding will enable us to serve.”
Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds can be used for the following purposes:
- Rent and rental debts;
- Utilities and home energy costs; and
- Other expenses related to housing incurred due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Assistance can be provided for up to 12 months. The county is working with the U.S. Treasury Department on guidance that defines eligible supplemental housing services costs, whether utility assistance can be provided as a stand-alone service, and how eligibility may be impacted by those who already received assistance under prior COVID-19 response programs. The new Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds come with slightly different income eligibility, verification and documentation requirements.