Emergency Rental Assistance Program aims to help people financially-stricken by pandemic
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A state-wide program is helping thousands of New Mexicans keep a roof over their head in a variety of ways.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program assists New Mexicans in making rental payments, either retroactively or up to three months in-advance. The program is geared specifically toward people experiencing pandemic-related financial trouble.
"Many folks were furloughed, some folks lost their jobs, some had to reduce their number of hours working, some folks faced financial hardship by having multiple deaths in their family, all attributed to Covid," ERAP Director Donnie Quintana said.
According to Quintana, eligible participants can receive up to 15 months of rental and utility assistance. The program also helps cover temporary lodging costs at a hotel for anyone who has recently been evicted.
"In addition to that we also provide first month, last month, and monthly deposits so we can help folks moving to a new rental unit," Quintana said.
To qualify, applicants must be a New Mexico who is at risk of homelessness or housing instability and is either at or below 80% of the average median income for their respective county.
The application requires multiple documents demonstrating the extent of the applicant’s financial hardship. Applicants must also provide paperwork showing how they have been impacted – either directly or indirectly – by COVID-19.
Currently, around 17,500 New Mexicans are receiving rent and utility assistance through ERAP – totalling to $43 million. New Mexico received $170 million from the federal government to use between now and September of next year, which means there is still around $127 million in funding left and no set deadline to apply.
"We recently are working with nonprofits that are targeted for at-risk populations, folks like domestic violence or youth that have lost their jobs and are now living in shelters, working with them as well to get them to apply for the program, “ Quintana said. "It’s casting that safety net as wide as we can to be able to include everybody that we possibly can to apply, learn about the program and ultimately be assisted by the program."
For more information on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, visit renthelpnm.org. Some community-based organizations are also partnering with the state to help people, who live in hard-to-reach areas, apply for rent help.
This month, four in-person rental help events will be taking place:
|Thursday, Sept. 23||12 to 4 p.m.||New Mexico Community Capital Office||301 Gold Ave. SW, Suite 102 Albuquerque, NM 87102|
|Saturday, Sept. 25||9 a.m. to 1 p.m.||Grant County Public Health Office||2610 N. Silver St., Silver City, NM 88061|
|Monday, Sept. 27||5 to 8 p.m.||Cesar Chavez Community Center||7505 Kathryn Ave SE #5260 Albuquerque, NM 87108|
|Tuesday, Sept. 28||8 a.m. to 12 p.m.||NMCC Office||301 Gold Ave. SW, Suite 102 Albuquerque, NM 87102|