IDAHO — With two CARES Act protections expiring this week (the enhanced unemployment benefits and a federal ban on evictions), more Americans, including Idahoans, are at-risk of losing housing based on an inability to pay rent.
That's why, with the first of the month approaching, Idaho News 6's Rebound team is examining a critical rental assistance resource. It's called the Housing Preservation Program at Idaho Housing and Finance Association, and it's a lifeline that just might be able to help out Idaho's vulnerable population of renters.
How was it made possible? It all started this spring when the CARES Act awarded $1.25 billion to Idaho, and Governor Brad Little authorized $15 million of that funding to go toward a rental assistance program. That money was chosen to be funneled through the Idaho Housing and Finance Association.
“We can provide initially up to three months of assistance," said Brady Ellis, V.P. of Housing Support Programs, Idaho Housing and Finance Association. "And if there is still an additional need after that, we can evaluate and provide an additional three months."
Some households can potentially receive a total of six months worth of rental assistance.
“To be eligible you have to have a COVID-19 related circumstance that causes a challenge or inability to pay rent or utilities, you have to be earning less than 80% of the area median income, you have to be an Idaho resident, and also have to have one member of your household as a legal resident of the U.S.," said Ellis.
Ellis said they’ve spent more than $1.3 million up to this point, and that there have been over 1,700 Idahoans helped from 600 different households. But he said he expects that number to soon climb, "due to the eviction moratorium expiring, the unemployment benefits expiring," said Ellis.
As the US Census Bureau reports, in the eleventh week of the pandemic, as many as one in four Idaho adults became housing insecure.
If that’s you, you’re not alone. But please remember: there is help available if you need it.
Click here to learn how you can apply for this rental assistance. But don’t wait: the sooner you’re approved, the more months you can possibly benefit from this program since it ends at the end of December.