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Applications open for new rent and utility assistance program

Applications are now being accepted for the new North Carolina Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program, which will assist eligible low- and moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

The new program seeks to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic by providing rent and utility assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced the program Oct.15, 2020.

“The spread of coronavirus has affected every aspect of our lives. Many have lost jobs, had work hours cut back or had to care for someone who has become ill with COVID-19,” said Cooper. “By creating this program to help with rent and utility bills, we can keep people in their homes where they will be safest during this pandemic.”

The HOPE Program will provide $117 million for rent and utility assistance for renters who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have a current household income that is 80 percent of the area median income or lower and are behind on their rent or utilities when they apply.

Renters who need rent or utility assistance can apply online at nc211.org/hope. Applicants who cannot access the online application can also call 2-1-1 and speak with a program representative, who will assist the caller through the application on the phone. Callers can reach 2-1-1 Monday-Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Renters can apply for utility assistance, rent assistance or both programs. Rent assistance is paid to the landlord on behalf of the applicant. This includes overdue and future rent payments for up to six months. At least one month’s rent must be overdue at the time of application.

Utility payments will be made directly to the utility provider for up to six months of past due essential utilities, such as electricity, water, sewer/wastewater, natural gas and propane. For more information about the HOPE Program, visit nc211.org/hope.

The HOPE Program is funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus funds and U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Relief funds, which have been provided to North Carolina. The funds are administered by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the Department of Public Safety, and will be distributed through community partner agencies across the state.

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