Renters in Genesee County, Michigan, facing eviction due to the coronavirus pandemic, can now get federal rental assistance through a county program.
The Genesee County Community Action Resource Department (GCCARD) has received more than $12 million in federal funds for tenants. Residents who have a household income less than 80% of the area median income. According to M-Live, residents also must have experienced a reduction or loss in income or include at least one person who qualifies for unemployment insurance or financial hardship due to the pandemic.
Residents must also show they are at risk of eviction or housing instability. Those who qualify for rental assistance can receive up to a year’s worth of back rent and three months of projected rental assistance. Those who apply can also receive funds for paying off utilities including electricity, heating, water, sewer, and trash collection.
GCCARD Executive Director Stephanie Howard told M-Live the county could receive future funding for the rental assistance program and added the help is needed by many.
Applications for the program can be picked up at GCCARD or can be printed at the GCCCARD website. According to MarketWatch, researchers estimated by the end of last year more than 1.3 million households will be behind on their rent as a result of pandemic-related job losses. Altogether, researchers estimate U.S. households will owe approximately $7.2 billion in rent by December 2020.
Researchers added households of color and households run by women are more likely to be behind on rent. According to the Aspen Institute, an estimated 30 to 40 million Americans are currently facing the threat of eviction because they have been unable to make full, on-time rent payments due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Without additional rental assistance, what was already considered a significant homeless crisis in the U.S. could be thrown out of control.
Several initiatives to help homeless residents are growing in popularity including designated parking spots for homeless residents with a car they can sleep in and converting shipping containers into micro-apartments for homeless residents. Other innovations include a jacket that doubles as a sleeping bag and a reversible tent that can keep users cool in the summer and collect and retain heat in the winter.