Wake County Invests Additional Funds in House Wake! COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program

Wake County doesn’t want to see anyone struggling financially due to the pandemic get evicted from their homes or have their utilities turned off. That’s why the House Wake! COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program was created.

To date, it’s helped more than 2,600 local households on the brink of homelessness by using more than $25 million in Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds to pay their rent and utility bills since September 2020. With more than 9,000 applications currently in the queue for approval, the need for assistance from House Wake! remains great.

“We see the challenges facing our community as COVID-19 continues to impact our most vulnerable residents, and we are here to support them in their time of need,” said Wake County Board of Commissioner Vickie Adamson. “That’s why we're allocating an additional $15 million in federal funds to keep this important program operational into January.”

The new dollars will expand the amount of available House Wake! funding and ensure that any resident who applies and meets the requirements of the program by the end of 2021 will have their rent and/or utilities paid into the new year. Without the extra $15 million, the program would have been forced to stop accepting new applications in early December.

The City of Raleigh is also considering adding more funds to the program.

Roughly 700 new applications come into the House Wake! portal every week, and the county and city don’t expect submissions to stop at year’s end. The municipalities are actively applying for additional funding from the federal government to meet the community’s ongoing needs in the new year.

The federal government is offering more funding to communities that have met certain benchmarks in spending their existing ERAP funds. Wake County and the City of Raleigh are among the top communities nationwide whose successful administration of current funding qualifies them to request the additional funds. The Wake/Raleigh partnership ranks second in the state for processing applications, second only to Mecklenburg/Charlotte.

“We project we’ll spend or obligate the funds currently available by Dec. 31, and while we know this program can’t last forever, we want to make sure we don’t leave anyone out in the cold this holiday season,” said Wake County Deputy County Manager Duane Holder. “We are diligently working to make the strongest possible case to receive the dollars we need from the federal government to continue protecting thousands from being forced out of their homes and onto the streets.”

For residents needing assistance with their utility bills beyond this program, there are some Wake County programs that may be able to offer help. This includes the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) and the new Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). More information about these programs can be found at wakegov.com/energyassistance.

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.

Press Release