New program offers assistance with rent, utilities
JACKSON, Tenn. — A new program can help people struggling to pay rent or utilities.
“As long as COVID is with us, as long as people are not returning to work, getting the jobs, or the hours they expected, somebody is going to have trouble making ends meet and to the extent that they cant pay their basic rent and utility expenses,” said Ralph Perrey, Executive Director at the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.
The THDA has created a new COVID-19 Rent Relief Program. Landlords and renters can now apply through an online portal to receive help with rent and utility payments.
“We have $384 million to put to work. There may be more coming later, but our back of the napkin figuring is that enough to help at least 25,000 or 30,000 people statewide,” Perrey said.
He adds that there are lots of variables.
“How many people, how far behind on rent are they, how long do we need to help them, but that’s a pretty good ballpark right there,” Perrey said.
The THDA can help for 12 months total. They can make up missed payments and can also go ahead an pay next month’s if it is an expected problem.
These payments are made directly to the landlord and are not subjective to repayment or taxes.
“There is no reason to wait. We opened the portal yesterday and we got 570,000 applications first day. That gives you an idea of how many people have been disadvantaged by all the COVID-related shutdowns,” Perrey said.
Go to thda.org and check to see if you are eligible for the program. If so, fill out an application. You will need to provide documentation, and both the tenant and landlord must participate in the process.
“There are literally tens of thousands of Tennesseans who have not been able to keep up with their rent and utility obligations, who without assistance like this, would face the very real prospect of eviction or utility cutoffs from the very near future,” Perrey said.
You can check your application progress through the portal.
To find more information on THDA’s COVID-19 Relief Program, visit the Seen on 7 section of the website.