Deadline looms for rental and utility assistance for Idaho renters impacted by pandemic

Posted at 10:10 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 09:05:46-05

IDAHO — A nationwide eviction ban will expire on December 31, and if Congress doesn't pass a new round of COVID-19 relief funding, millions of people could be at risk of losing housing.

The pandemic has some Idaho renters struggling to pay rent, but the Idaho Housing Finance Association said the Housing Preservation Program still has funding to help.

"It does not assist homeowners that have a mortgage, but it does assist a variety of renters. It could be someone renting a portion of a home or full rental unit," Brady Ellis, Vice President of Housing Support Program IHFA said.

But a critical deadline looms. IHFA will stop taking applications on Friday, December 11.

"We started this program in June. Right from the get-go every week, we had an increase in applications, an increase in the funds disperse every week. It just went up and up. Now that we are winding down, we expect another jump and interest in the program; I hope that's the case," Ellis said.

The program has helped thousands of people across the state.

"Assist about 4,300 households, which is nearly 14,000 individuals, with rental assistance and utility assistance, and that has been around $12.5 million that has been dispersed to help that group of individuals," Ellis explained.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's current eviction moratorium prohibits landlords from evicting tenants, but the order will expire at the end of the year.

"Certainly, some concerns about what we are going to see in December. COVID is still happening. The impact of it is still happening. There is certainly a lot of people that will continue to have some type of financial hardship in January and beyond," Ellis said. "Unfortunately, we don't have a resource to supplement or feel the loss of funding for the housing preservation program. We hope there's going to be another resource available, some type of COVID response."

To apply renters can also call 1-855-452-0801.

The Intermountain Fair Housing Council said they provided more than $20,000 to families for rent assistance while joining Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance's efforts.