WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Navajo Housing Authority is pleased to announce the extension of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) which will benefit eligible households who struggle with payment of their rent and utilities due to hardships created from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is funded by the U.S. Treasury through the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 which was signed into law by the U.S. Congress on December 26, 2020.
On Jan. 26, 2021, the NHA received an allocation of $93 million from the U.S. Treasury and has worked to setup the ERAP within the NHA. “The ERAP helps Navajo individuals that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have experienced loss of household income due to reduced work hours, hourly pay, or reduction-in-force,” said William Scott, ERAP Administrator. “The loss of income has to have affected their ability to pay their rental and utility payments.”
The program ended on Sept. 30, 2021, however, on Nov. 18, 2021, the ERAP Administrators received notice that the program would be extended through 2022. “We are pleased that the program and its funding are being made available through 2022,” said Scott. “We are still in the mist of the pandemic and many Navajo families are struggling during this time.”
Scott explains that the program is going through a marketing campaign and a redesign of its website which will include an application portal and is expected to be functional by mid-March 2022. “The ERAP is designed to assist eligible households on and off the Navajo reservation, therefore, households from across the country can access the online portal to apply for the ERAP,” said Scott. “The ERAP is currently processing applications manually so the portal will help speed the process up.”
According to Federal guidelines, to be considered an eligible household, a renter, where one or more individuals qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19; demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income.
The following are highlights of the program:
- Rental Assistance. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional three months if the grantee determines the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability. If a renter is subject to eviction, payments from the ERA Program can assist the household to prevent the eviction.
- Utility Assistance. Eligible households can also apply for utility payment or energy cost assistance.
- Payments for rental units and utilities will be made directly to the rental unit’s landlord and the utility provider. Both the landlord and the utility provider would be willing to cooperate in participating in the ERAP.
- Duplication of Assistance. The ERAP will not pay for costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance. However, the ERAP can cover the portion that a federal program left unpaid due to it being the portion responsible of the individual.
To find out more information about the ERAP or to apply please, call (928) 871-2669 or visit us online at www.NavajoRentHelp.org
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