RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — If you are looking for rent and utility assistance in North Carolina amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline to apply is right around the corner.
The application period for the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program will close at 6 p.m. tomorrow. Prior to the deadline, low- to moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 are encouraged to apply online or by calling 2-1-1 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. today or tomorrow.
Administered by the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency in the Department of Public Safety, the HOPE Program promotes housing stability during the ongoing pandemic by providing rent and utility assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections.
“The spread of coronavirus has affected every aspect of our lives. Many have lost jobs, had work hours cut back or had to care for someone who has become ill with COVID-19,” said Governor Roy Cooper at the inception of the program. “By creating this program to help with rent and utility bills, we can keep people in their homes where they will be safest during this pandemic.”
Officials say since the application period opened on Oct. 15, more than 37,000 people have applied for assistance through the program, which is expected to deplete currently allotted funds.
State officials say they are working to obtain additional funding to ensure that even more North Carolinians receive pandemic-related financial assistance.
HOPE Program funding is provided to the state through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant−Coronavirus Response and U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Relief allocations.
To date, North Carolina has directed $167 million to the HOPE Program and will close the application period to ensure necessary funds for current applicants.
Applicants who cannot access the online application can also call 2-1-1 and speak with a program representative, who will assist the caller through the application on the phone.
Callers can reach 2-1-1 Monday-Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Renters can apply for utility assistance, rent assistance or both programs.
Rent assistance is paid to the landlord on behalf of the applicant.
This includes overdue and future rent payments, for up to six months.
At least one month’s rent must be overdue at the time of application.
Utility payments will be made directly to the utility provider for up to six months of past-due essential utilities, such as electricity, water, sewer/wastewater, natural gas and propane.