RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Dozens of people filled the Wake County Human Services building in Raleigh Saturday using their weekend to ask for a hand up.

The county hosted a pop-up clinic to help those struggling to pay their rent and utilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that that is a fundamental basic and we want to make sure that everybody who can has housing,” said Nikki Lyons, project administrator for Wake County Health and Human Services.

Participants attended legal sessions to learn their rights if facing eviction and received help completing the HouseWake emergency rental assistance application.

The program has helped more than 2,000 area families stay in their homes since the pandemic began but thousands of applicants remain waiting.

Organizers hope events like this one will help get money to families in need faster, to help lighten the load during a challenging time.

“The housing crisis almost seems like a state of emergency right here in our county. We’ll provide some relief for you to say ‘Hey in a few days, weeks or a month I’ll be able to get some assistance to secure housing so my children know where to stay and we know that we have secured our home’,” said Lyons.

Assistance is available for up to 18 months of past-due rent and unpaid utilities going back to April 2020.

Organizers hope to hold a similar event in the future.