STATEWIDE- MaineHousing announced a new $200 million dollar rent relief fund on Monday.
For those economically struggling due to the pandemic and are at risk of becoming homeless, a new relief program called the Emergency Rental Assistance Program might be what you need.
The federal program has funded the state of Maine with $200 million to help cover up to 15 months of rent payments for people who qualify.
“The program allows for people to apply for past due rent and any past due utilities. Then they can apply for prospective rent for any three months,” said MaineHousing Director Dan Brennan.
He added thousands of people needed to access similar versions of the program last year.
“We’ve helped about 10,000 households around Maine through three different stop and start iterations of the program in 2020. We expect at least that amount this time around. People have been patient, landlords have been patient, but people have been pretty stressed financially,” Brennan said.
There’s 10 community action agencies statewide that will help people who qualify for the assistance.
Brennan added those agencies will help limit any chances of anyone trying to game the system or scam Maine housing for the relief funds.
“So if there’s anything bad going on we find out about it we have our avenues. In large part this is good money going for a good cause and we’ll try to keep the bad actors out of it,” he said.
To qualify household income must meet certain limits and those limits can vary based off of location and household size.
You must also have had your income reduced, had significant costs, or had other financial hardships because of COVID-19 or qualified for unemployment benefits between March 13 2020 and the date of your application.
“Nobody should be losing their housing because of COVID-19 and we want to keep people in their rental units, staying away from the eviction courts and just be able to get people through this period of time in our history,” Brennan said.
Visit MaineHousing’s website to apply or call the state agency directly at 1-800-452-4668.