Talk about good news.
- Georgia has just launched a new program to catch residents up on rent and utility bills.
- The state received a recent allocation of $989 million in federal funds.
Although many Americans were struggling financially before the COVID-19 outbreak, the pandemic plunged a lot of people into an even more dire situation. When the outbreak first erupted, millions of jobs were shed within weeks as non-essential businesses were forced to shutter. Workers who became unemployed and didn’t have any savings to dip into immediately fell behind on expenses, including rent and utility payments.
At the time, many utility providers were willing to work with customers experiencing hardships. And a federal ban on evictions was put into effect to prevent landlords from kicking tenants out of their homes due to not being able to pay rent.
At this point, though, utility providers may not be as accommodating, and the federal ban on evictions has long expired. That’s the bad news.
The good news, though, is that many states are still getting money under the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which means they’re able to open up rent relief funds to more residents. Georgia is one of those states. It recently received $989 million in federal funds to help struggling tenants catch up on missed rent and stay in their homes.
More stimulus aid is on the way
Georgia recently launched a new program that could help tenants get current on past-due rent and utility bills. And that $989 million in federal funding couldn’t have come at a better time.
In Savannah alone, nearly 60% of tenants are rent-burdened and could use a financial lifeline. And so anyone in Georgia who’s still struggling with housing and utility costs should look at submitting an application for aid.
If approved, applicants can receive money to cover up to 18 months of rent as well as utility bills. Those funds are then paid directly to the landlords and utility providers who are owed that money.
To qualify for aid, tenants must meet the following criteria:
- Be on unemployment or have proof of a financial hardship that occurred since March 13, 2020
- Be able to demonstrate they’re at risk of homelessness or housing instability (often, notices of past-due rent will fulfill this requirement)
- Have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income
Tenants who apply for aid will also need to provide copies of leases and recent tax return information so their financial data can be verified. They’ll also need to provide pay stubs, if employed, to show what their recent income has looked like.
Don’t hesitate to seek relief
If you’re a Georgia resident at risk of losing your home, it’s imperative you apply for rent relief quickly. While the state may have just received a $989 million round of funding, that money could go quickly. The sooner you apply for aid, the earlier a spot you’ll have in the state’s queue.
Meanwhile, if you have questions about applying for rent relief, or if you’re not sure if you qualify, you can email any questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also call 833-827-RENT to speak to someone about your circumstances and get more guidance.
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