Governor Cooper Announces Rental & Utility Assistance Relief Programs
Governor Cooper announced three programs designed to provide rental and utilities assistance for qualifying North Carolinians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. $175 million dollars have been allocated to the following departments to facilitate and execute these programs: North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency ($94 million), Department of Health and Human Services ($53 million), and the Department of Commerce ($28 million).
- Eviction Prevention and Utility Payments: North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) will support rental and utility payments and prevent evictions for those with a demonstrated need. The funding will be distributed to eligible community agencies around the state that will work directly with North Carolinians on an application and disbursement process. The fund includes $28 million from federal Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funding and the remaining $66 million from CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) money.
- Crisis Response and Housing Stability: Through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) About $53 million of the funding will be designated for the Emergency Solutions Grant-Coronavirus (ESG-CV) Program. The federal ESG-CV money is intended for families experiencing homelessness or who face a more immediate risk of homelessness and will be distributed by similar community agencies handling NCORR’s program. This innovative model will help streamline the process for families. Once a person applies, local community agencies will determine which program they are eligible for and then complete the application quickly.
- Local Government Funds: through the North Carolina Department of Commerce, $28 million of federal funding will be administered by local governments. This money also comes from the federal CDBG-CV program and will be disbursed by incorporated municipalities under 50,000 residents and counties under 200,000 residents that apply to participate. Local governments are encouraged to prioritize the money locally to help their residents pay rent and outstanding utility bills. In addition, the funds may provide support for internet access, food distribution, COVID-19 testing and diagnosis and employment training for health care workers.
Programs are expected to be “launched in the coming weeks.” It is undetermined how this announcement will impact the viability of HB 1200. AANC will work with housing stakeholders over the next few days to gauge the application and eligibility requirements. HB 1200 calls for rental and utility assistance to North Carolina residents at 100% AMI and direct payment to landlords and utility providers. We hope these requirements will be adopted under the eviction prevention and utility program described above. As we learn more about the rental and utilities assistance programs, we will share them.