There is no denying 2020 was tough – and by most standards, that is a gross understatement. For many, the pandemic brought unprecedented challenges, and for millions – devastating economic hardship.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 was signed into law last March and provided much-needed assistance to homeowners with federally backed loans. The Act offered six months of mortgage forbearance, forestalling (and hopefully preventing) foreclosure for those that qualified. It also granted immunity from eviction for late rent payments, which kept thousands of families off the streets.
According to the Nevada Housing Division, the CARES Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) has already helped approximately 29,000 Nevadans stay in their homes through temporary housing and rental assistance. Unfortunately, residents across the state are nowhere near to seeing the end of the financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic. As a result, many Nevadans are still struggling to pay their rent or home mortgage payments.
Good news is on the horizon, however. The Nevada Housing Division (NDH) recently reported that more Nevada households will receive assistance in 2021. With CHAP funds on their way, many Nevada residents, including those in rural counties, may be eligible to receive help paying rent and utilities.
Last month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury set to work putting $25 billion in emergency relief funds into the hands of Americans. through the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act. “The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will help to keep American families in their homes during this challenging time,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “Treasury is implementing this program with unparalleled speed so our state, local, and tribal partners across the country can provide assistance to families in need.”
The Nevada Housing Division recently reported receiving $124.8 million in rental assistance funding. The program will be administered by county and state agencies already responsible for distributing CHAP funds. Clark County is to receive $93.8 million.
Washoe County will receive $10 million, and the Nevada Rural Housing Authority, which serves Churchill and all other rural Nevada counties, is to receive $14.8 million. Five percent of the total CHAP funds ($6.2 million) will provide housing stability services throughout the state.
Governor Sisolak expressed his appreciation for the program, stating, “I am grateful for this additional relief to help thousands of Nevada’s families who are in need of emergency rental assistance.”
Priority will be given to Nevadans who are currently unemployed, have been unemployed for three months or more, and renters whose income is 50% or less of the area’s median income. However, households earning under 80% of the area’s median income are also eligible to apply.
According to Shannon Ernst, Executive Director for Churchill County Social Services, they partner closely with the Nevada Rural Housing Authority to ensure access for our residents to obtain assistance eligible for. “Through our partnership with many agencies we can assist residents in navigating programming that will best assist them in their time of need,” stated Ernst. “Churchill County Social Services has additional funds allocated to those in the community that are at risk of eviction, utility disconnect or falling behind on mortgage due to COVID-19 or other circumstances that do not qualify for other partner programs.”
In addition to CHAP funds assisting Nevadans renters, the Biden administration just extended the moratorium on mortgage foreclosures through June of 2021. Through the combined efforts of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture, fewer Americans will face losing their homes this year. This program not only extends relief for those with federally backed mortgage loans by keeping foreclosure at bay but allows them to also apply for forbearance that could reduce or defer their mortgage payments.
For more information on rental assistance, visit the Nevada Rural Housing Authority at: https://nvrural.org/renter-services/covid/