Gov. Cooper announces $175 million in assistance for rent, utility payments

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced that $175 million be made available to North Carolina residents struggling with rent and utility payments amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“COVID-19 has strained family finances across North Carolina, and many people are struggling to make ends meet,” said Cooper. “People need a safe, stable place to call home, especially during this pandemic, and we must help keep people in their homes and keep their utilities on while our economy recovers.”

Tuesday’s announcement includes three programs designed to work together to help people avoid eviction and pay their bills, officials say.

Eviction prevention and utility payments

Approximately $94 million of the funding will be disbursed by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) to support rental and utility payments and prevent evictions for those with a demonstrated need.

The funding will be distributed to eligible community agencies around the state that will work directly with North Carolinians on an application and disbursement process.

The fund includes $28 million from federal Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus funding and the remaining $66 million from CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund money. 

Crisis response and housing stability

About $53 million of the funding is designated for the Emergency Solutions Grant-Coronavirus Program through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The federal ESG-CV money is intended for families experiencing homelessness or who face a more immediate risk of homelessness and will be distributed by similar community agencies handling NCORR’s program.

Once a person applies, local community agencies will determine which program they are eligible for and then complete the application quickly.

Information about how people can apply for the NCORR program and the ESG-GV program will be shared once the programs have launched in the coming weeks.

Local government funds

Another $28 million of federal funding will be administered by local governments through the North Carolina Department of Commerce. This money also comes from the federal CDBG-CV program and will be administered by incorporated municipalities under 50,000 residents and counties under 200,000 residents that apply to participate.

Local governments are encouraged to prioritize the money locally to help their residents pay rent and outstanding utility bills.

In addition, the funds may provide support for internet access, food distribution, COVID-19 testing and diagnosis and employment training for health care workers. 

The application process for local governments to apply for the Commerce-administered funding has opened. Eligible local governments who would like to apply for the Commerce CDBG-CV program can click here to learn more.

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