By REBECCA HAZEN
Dade County citizens who have fallen behind on their rent and/or utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to apply for financial aid through the Georgia Rental Assistance Program, administered through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
The Georgia Rental Assistance Program pays up to 18 months of past due rent and utilities to qualified tenants and landlords. There is no limit on the amount of money that can be received for rental arrearages and utilities.
“This emergency assistance is available to every needy Georgian,” said Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Christopher Nunn, in a press release. “Since March 2021, Georgia Rental Assistance has provided nearly $67 million to more than 15,000 Georgia families.”
Georgia received $522 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and an additional $437 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The funds are used to provide relief to landlords and tenants whose finances have been negatively impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic by bringing past due rent and utility payments current up to 18 months.
Eligibility includes those who qualify for unemployment or who have experienced a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and those who demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
Those who are not eligible include those who have a household income above 80 percent of the area median income, and those who cannot show a COVID-19 hardship or risk of homelessness or housing instability through an eviction notice or a past-due rent statement.
To apply, a tenant will need identification, income documents for every adult (age 18 and older) in the household, past due rent notice or utility bills, provider and account number, and a copy of the lease.
A landlord will need the following documents: identification, proof of ownership or authorization/agreement to act on behalf of owner of management company, statement of delinquent rent, and a W-9 and bank information for Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs hopes to process applications within 3-4 weeks if all required documents are uploaded and complete.
If someone has already received assistance before, but still needs help and has not received up to 18 months assistance, they are able to submit a recertification request.
Commissioner Nunn said he and the Department of Community Affairs team are committed to helping qualified renters remain in their homes.
“I encourage Georgians in need to apply for assistance with the confidence that we will continue to work diligently to provide up to 18 months of past-due rent and utility payments, regardless of the amount. I also encourage Georgians to take advantage of the recertification process that allows for future rental assistance,” Nunn said.
For more information, and to submit an application, visit georgiarentalassistance.ga.gov. For additional help and resources, visit paymyrent.ga.gov or call (883) 827-7368.