Emergency Rental Assistance Program begins for New Hanover County residents

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — On Monday, New Hanover County Health and Human Services’ Department of Social Services began administering the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

The program is designed to aid households impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic with rent, utilities and other household costsAn outline of how to apply is included below. 

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The Emergency Rental Assistance program is made available through a $7.1 million allocation to New Hanover County from the COVID-19 relief package included in the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted to accept the funding to administer the program on March 15.

Starting today, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is available to New Hanover County residents facing housing instability because of the pandemic, and we are working with landlords, community partners and individuals to make sure people who need help get it,” said Department of Social Services Director Tonya Jackson. “This program will make a big difference for those in our community who are in need, and help us on the path toward recovery from this pandemic.”  

Eligibility 

To be eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, households must meet three criteria:  

  1. Have one or more individuals who has qualified for unemployment benefits, or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., reduction of work hours, job loss/furlough, COVID-19 illness, child care costs due to loss of schooling or daycare); and
     
  2. Have one or more individuals that demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;and
     
  3. Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income, although those making 50 percent of the area median income will be prioritized.
MedianFamily Income Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
$81,000 50% Income Limits $27,500 $31,400 $35,350 $39,250 $42,400 $45,550 $48,700 $51,850
80% Income Limits $44,000 $50,520 $56,550 $62,800 $67,850 $72,850 $77,900 $82,900

US Citizenship is NOT an eligibility requirement for this program. For full eligibility details, visit SocialServices.NHCgov.com. 

Application Process 

Applications can be submitted online or over the phone. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, applying in-person is not required. To apply: 

  • Go to AccessHHS.NHCgov.com to apply online (the application is a fillable PDF on the New Hanover County Health and Human Services’ Customer Portal AccessHHS). Applicants must have an email address to complete application. Once submitted, an account with AccessHHS will be created and an email will be sent containing information needed to access the account and upload required documentation. 
  • If residents do not have access to internet or do not have an email address, they can apply by calling 910-798-3650. 

After submitting an application, residents will be asked for required documentation, including pay stubsverification of job or income loss, rental lease, proof of residency in New Hanover County, form of identification, and late notice/documentation from landlordDetails of required documentation can be found at SocialServices.NHCgov.com. 

Once your application is processed and reviewed, you will be notified of whether or not the application was approved, and how much assistance you are eligible for. 

This new program goes into effect just as the White House extended a moratorium on evictions through June.

Kyle Abrams, assistant director of the Good Shepherd Center in Wilmington says it comes at a good time. The center had its own Eviction Prevention Project that ran through February, and Abrams says people are still reaching out for help.

“It’s families, it’s individuals, it’s people with children, it’s couples who are older,” Abrams said.

41 percent of New Hanover County homes are occupied by renters. Abrams says many families live on the edge of the poverty line, and the pandemic worsened their situations even further.

“There’s still a huge need and we’re getting calls all the time asking when’s the next round of payments going to be eligible,” Abrams said. “And so the announcement of this program is really exciting, because I think it’s going to be able to help a lot of people.”

For more information on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, call or text 910-798-3650, or visit SocialServices.NHCgov.com. For more information on AccessHHS, visit AccessHHS.NHCgov.com