Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — The N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program recently marked its one-year anniversary of awarding pandemic relief funds to North Carolina landlords and utility companies on behalf of vulnerable families.
In total, HOPE has awarded $520.2 million to 135,213 families with more than $461 million of that amount already paid to landlords and utility providers across the state. The HOPE Program continues to rank No. 2 in the nation for number of households served, while North Carolina overall ranks No. 6 for spending of federal Emergency Rental Assistance money. The HOPE Program supports housing stability during the pandemic by preventing evictions and utility service disconnections.
“In its first year, the HOPE Program has helped more than 135,000 North Carolina families stay safe and warm in their homes during the pandemic,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “HOPE will continue to pay landlords and utility companies to keep low-income renters in their homes with the lights on as we recover in the months ahead.”
In addition to supporting safe housing during the pandemic, the HOPE Program has provided an economic boost to landlords who experienced financial setbacks due to COVID-19. During the second phase of HOPE that began May 17, the program has mailed checks to 30,727 landlords and more than 5,500 landlords have contacted HOPE to refer tenants. The program continues to accept landlord referrals of tenants struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic. Landlords may submit tenant names and contact information through the HOPE Program website or by contacting the HOPE Call Center at 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467). A program specialist will then follow up with the tenant to help start the application process.
HOPE is still accepting applications for rent and utility bill assistance from low-income renters in 88 counties. Applicants can apply online at HOPE.NC.gov or call 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both English- and Spanish-speaking representatives are available to assist callers.
The HOPE Program is managed by the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the Department of Public Safety. To learn more, visit HOPE.NC.gov.