Emergency rental assistance program opens Monday in Chatham Co.

Chatham Co. receives $8.7 million grant for rental assistance program

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - More help is on the way for families struggling to pay rent and utilities.

For months, Chatham County and various organizations have stepped up to assist people who are impacted by the pandemic. The Chatham County Commission announced Friday that they will receive an $8.7 million grant to help people, who are eligible, financially stay afloat.

Board officials say the grant will first go toward helping people who are at risk of eviction. Folks can also qualify if they make less than 50 percent of the median household income for their city, or who are currently unemployed and who have been unemployed for 90 days prior to applying for assistance.

One person can be helped several times, but they must reapply every three months.

Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis says landlords can also reject the funds if they choose to. Organizations like the Economic Opportunity Authority of Savannah and the United Way will help with distribution. They’ll be available to answer phone calls and contact landlords on renters’ behalf to explain the situation.

“We can call the landlord and say, ‘listen we have determined that this person is eligible and it may be two weeks or a week before you get your money, but the money is coming,’” Economic Opportunity Authority of Savannah Interim Executive Director Terry Tolbert said.

“We created a COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund and the best use of those dollars at that time was to bridge that gap that has extended, unfortunately, for a much longer time than any of us expected,” United Way of the Coastal Empire President Brynn Grant said.

Ellis says the landlord can reject the funds.

“If we decide that a recipient is eligible and we’re going to do this for them, but the landlord says no then there’s nothing that we can do,” Ellis said.

Right now, it’s unclear how quickly it’ll be from the time an applicant is deemed eligible to when they’d receive the funds.

The board says all the municipalities will have a link to the application on their city’s website. The United Way and the EOA will also have a link on their websites.

REQUIREMENTS TO QUALIFY:

  • Be a resident of the City of Savannah
  • Provide proof of loss of income due to COVID-19 pandemic (from March 1, 2020- to August 30, 2020)
  • Provide verification of current household income (receiving unemployment benefits, returned to work, new employment, SSI and SSDI, child support and alimony where applicable)
  • Provide verification of past due rent/mortgage/utilities (copy of the most recent bill, copy of the mortgage statement, copy of the lease or statement from the property management company)
  • Provide identification of all members in the household applying for assistance

To apply online or learn more, click here. You can also learn more by calling 2-1-1.

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