Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday announced $175 million to help North Carolinians with rental and utility payment support in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has strained family finances across North Carolina, and many people are struggling to make ends meet,” Cooper said. “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.”
Today’s announcement includes three programs designed to work together to help people avoid eviction and pay their bills, per Cooper’s direction:
Eviction Prevention and Utility Payments
Approximately $94 million of the funding will be disbursed by the N.C. 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 (CDBG-CV) funding and the remaining $66 million from CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) money.
Crisis Response and Housing Stability
About $53 million of the funding is designated for the Emergency Solutions Grant-Coronavirus (ESG-CV) Program through the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). 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. This innovative model will help streamline the process for families. Once a person applies, local community agencies will determine which program they are eligible for and then complete the application quickly.
“Families in crisis don’t have time to spare, and our state agencies are coordinating a plan to make it easier for people to get the support they need,” Cooper said.
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.
“During this crisis, it is more important than ever that government work smarter and faster to deliver relief to people facing eviction and utility disconnection. NCORR is proud to be partnering across agencies to make the most of federal funds in North Carolina,” said Chief Operating Officer Laura Hogshead.
”Having a stable, safe place to live is fundamental to well-being and health. We continue to prioritize supporting people in meeting basic needs as part of our COVID response,” said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy K. Cohen.
Local Government Funds
Another $28 million of federal funding will be administered by local governments through the N.C. Department of Commerce. This money also comes from the federal CDBG-CV program and will be administered by incorporated municipalities with under 50,000 residents and by counties with 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 Commerce Department has a long history of collaborating with our local government partners to administer federal resources during times of crisis,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland. “As a ready conduit for vital assistance to North Carolina communities, our CDBG program has proven its value many times over.”
]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.