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Posted on: July 15, 2020

County Program Could Help As Many As 6,000 Households With Rent

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Maricopa County is beginning a new rental assistance program for residents outside of the cities of Phoenix and Mesa who have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.  The Human Services Department will administer the program, which will be funded with federal CARES Act dollars, and delivered through local community action programs.

“We have already seen an overwhelming demand for help as people struggle to pay the rent,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4.  “While no single government action or program can fully address the issue, we designed this program to prevent evictions and help as many people as possible.”

The Board of Supervisors allocated $30 million for the program, which would offer approximately 6,000 households in the region up to three months of rent, paid directly to landlords.  In addition, some households may qualify for utility assistance, another area of concern for renters, especially during the summer months.

“We want to keep as many people in their homes as possible because we know that family stability, safety, and health begin with a roof over someone’s head,” said Bruce Liggett, Director of Maricopa County Human Services Department.  “We understand the urgency and ask for people’s patience as we try to assist as many households as we can.”

The program was initiated on July 13.  Assistance will be delivered through 11 local public and nonprofit Community Action Programs and Human Services Department in two areas.  Funds have been allocated based on the percent of potentially eligible in each area. 

Residents of Phoenix and Mesa would not be eligible to apply because those cities also received significant funding through the CARES Act.

THE NEED

Maricopa County understands many residents are experiencing significant social, economic, and personal challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, the County is aware of the scheduled expiration of federal (July 25th) and state (July 22nd) eviction moratoriums as well as the end of federal Unemployment Insurance eligibility and supplemental payments at the end of July, unless extended.

As a result, Maricopa County expects a tremendous number of requests for assistance.   Applicants will be served on a first come, first served basis.  The County is committed to processing applications as quickly as possible and appreciates the patience of all applicants.

KEY FEATURES 

To address the need for rental assistance in the community, Maricopa County has designed the program to reach individuals and families who might otherwise not get help.  The program’s key features include:

  • Eligibility is set higher than typical rental assistance programs.  Eligibility starts at the Area Median Income, 300% of the federal poverty level, or roughly $65,000 for a family of 3.
  • There is a set payment amount of $1,500 per month.
  • Households will be eligible for up to 3 months of assistance for past due or owed rent between March and December 2020, based on funds available.
  • Payments will be made directly to landlords.
  • There is limited documentation required in order to speed up assistance.  Applicants will need to submit: 
    • Evidence of financial hardship due to Covid-19
    • Applicant photo
    • Lease agreement
    • Total household income
  • Bundling of services: When applying, households will also be considered for federal utility assistance and may be eligible for other local services and supports.  

HOW TO APPLY

Contact the local Community Action Program in your area for an appointment.  An in-person interview is NOT required.  

Households that applied for the Arizona Department of Housing’s COVID-19 rental assistance program (known as the Rental and Eviction Prevention Assistance Program, or REPAP) and provided necessary documentation will automatically be considered for eligibility for the County’s rental assistance program.   

To learn more about the program, visit Maricopa.gov/COVIDRentHelp.

To learn about utility assistance and other rental assistance programs, go to Maricopa.gov/HelpwithBills.


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