KALAMAZOO, Mich. — $17 million in emergency aid is available for renters who qualify in Kalamazoo County, helping cover past-due rent and utilities, a news release said Monday.
The help is much-needed for individuals and families struggling from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Sara Jacobs, director of the Kalamazoo County Continuum of Care.
“While our community is making progress in the fight against the virus, many households have fallen behind on rent and utilities due to lost wages and other hardships,” Jacobs said. “CERA offers hope for many people to keep a roof over their heads, keep the lights on and stay connected.”
The COVID Emergency Rental Assistance program is part of $25 billion set aside for rental aid in the recent COVID-19 relief package.
Funds are being allocated to a network of local nonprofits through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
Support is available for rent and utilities, including electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, internet and trash if billed with another utility.
Housing Resources Inc has partnered with Open Doors Kalamazoo and Integrated Services of Kalamazoo.
Applicants living in Kalamazoo County can call 269-382-0287 to start the process.
An applicant can receive 10 to 12 months of rent supports – up to 150% of federal Fair Housing Rent – depending on household income, including up to three months for future rent.
One-time utility assistance ranges from $1,500 to $2,500, including $300 to $500 for future payment, depending on household size.
A one-time stipend of $300 is available for internet costs.
Eligible individuals need a household income under 80% of the area median income for their household size; qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the coronavirus outbreak; and can demonstrate, through a past-due utility or rent notice, that they are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
An eligible applicant also needs to be living in a rental unit, able to document past-due rent and utilities after March 13, 2020 and have a lease agreement in the tenant’s name if a written lease was completed.
Both renters and landlords can apply.