CARES Act funds are available to help eligible renters facing eviction

CARES Act funds are available to help eligible renters facing eviction
The temporary national eviction moratorium was implemented to help prevent homelessness that would otherwise force more people into congregate living and put them at increased risk of COVID-19 (Source: Karolina Grabowska)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Eviction Moratorium went into effect September 4; however, there is still some confusion about eligibility and availability of financial assistance for rent and utilities.

The temporary national eviction moratorium was implemented to help prevent homelessness that would otherwise force more people into congregate living and put them at increased risk of COVID-19.

People living in all forms of standard rental housing are eligible; however, the moratorium does not include individuals renting temporarily in hotels, motels or guest houses.

It is important to note the moratorium does not stop all evictions—see document at the end of this article for details—and certain criteria apply.

Tenants must provide landlord with a signed declaration

To be protected by the moratorium, individuals must be a tenant, lessee or resident of a rental property and must provide their landlord with a signed declaration form to stall their eviction confirming the following:

  • Have “used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing”
  • Expect to earn no more than $99,000 annually in 2020 (or no more than $198,000 jointly), or were not required to report income in 2019 to the IRS, or received an Economic Impact Payment
  • Are unable to pay rent in full or make full housing payments due to loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical costs
  • Are making their best efforts to make timely partial payments as close to the full rental/housing payment as possible
  • Would likely become homeless, need to live in a shelter, or need to move in with another person (aka live doubled-up) because they have no other housing options
  • Understand they will still need to pay rent at the end of the moratorium (Dec. 31, 2020)
  • Understand that any false/misleading statements may result in criminal and civil actions

Renters must also continue to pay any back-rent, utilities or fees when possible; CARES Act funds are available to help with rent and utilities if the household delinquency is a direct result of COVID-19.

City of Wilmington residents can access the Eviction Prevention Project (EPP), a CARES Act-funded effort available through Good Shepherd Center, by calling 910-763-4424, visiting Good Shepherd Center at 811 Martin Street, or by applying through eppwilmington.org

According to a news release, “With these funds, awarded by the City of Wilmington, Good Shepherd Center has already provided more than $100,000 in delinquent rent and utility payments to prevent the evictions of more than 50 households in our community.”

A spokesperson for Good Shepherd said they have received around 500 applications and many are still in process; however, some applicants were ineligible because they lived in public housing which is not covered by the rules established by the federal government.

Renters living outside the city limits are not eligible for EPP funds but can apply to the New Hanover County Rental Assistance Program by calling 910.798.3500.

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