Memphis getting $24 million for COVID-19 rent, utility assistance

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis City Council is getting help to those still dealing with the financial impacts of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Memphis City Council passed a resolution to accept $24 million in federal funds for emergency rental and utility assistance. This is the second round of this type of federal assistance coming to our area.

The first round was for $19 million and $11 million of that was disbursed in a few months.

“I know a lot of people have been floating cash and money in different ways so we just really see this as an opportunity to get funding out on the street,” said Ashley Cash, the Director of Housing and Community Development.

Many Memphians are just trying to keep their heads above water. That’s the reality for thousands of people living in Memphis and Shelby County.

So many have been crippled by the financial and economic effects of COVID-19. City leaders hope additional federal funding will ease some of that burden.

The Division of Housing will soon begin the process of giving out another $24.5 million dollars in emergency rental and utility assistance.

It’s important to note this money can only go to renters who qualify.

“Those that are behind on their rent either in arrears, also have to have the COVID impact and then they have to be at 80% or below median family income,” said Mairi Albertson, the Deputy Director.

A website is already setup to walk you through the process of applying. You can access it by clicking here.

“The funding will be available back through March first of 2020 and then we’re paying three months of future rent for people who’ve found themselves out of work or unforeseen job loss due to COVID,” said Cash.

Since March of this year, more than 3,200 families have received rental assistance and 3,800 families received utility assistance thanks to these funds.

The money is prioritized to the areas in our community with the greatest need.

“This is helping them to stay in their home. Giving them ways to dig out of whatever ditch they’ve found themselves in over this time,” said Cash.

This is a rolling application but this current wave closes July 14 and will reopen in August.

If you don’t have internet access you can call 211 for help.

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