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Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Union County Emergency Rental Assistance ProgramUnion County is providing assistance with rent and utility payments to eligible residents who have been impacted by COVID-19 through our Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

The program is open to renters residing in Union County who have a household income 80% or less of area median income (see chart below) and have been financially impacted by COVID-19. In addition to rent, we can provide assistance with utilities, including electricity, water/sewer, trash removal, natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and internet. Households may receive up to 12 months of assistance with past due rent.

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Apply for Rental Assistance

Need help?

If you have any questions, please call us at 980.246.8181 (Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

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Eligibility Criteria | Priority for Assistance | Required Verification/Documentation
Frequently Asked Questions | Need Help?


Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for assistance, you must:

  • Be impacted financially by COVID-19:
    • Qualifies for unemployment
    • Reduction in income (furlough or reduction in work hours)
    • Had financial hardships or increased expenses (medical, food, etc.)

      AND
  • Household income 80% or less of area median income (See chart below)
Income Limits for Household Sizes 1-8
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
30% Income Limit $17,550 $20,050 $22,550 $26,200 $30,680 $35,160 $39,640 $44,120
50% Income Limit $29,500 $33,400 $37,600 $41,750 $45,100 $48,450 $51,800 $55,150
80% Income Limit $46,800 $53,450 $60,150 $66,800 $72,150 $77,500 $82,850 $88,200

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Priority for Assistance

Priority for assistance will go to:

  • Households with an income of 50% or less of area median income
  • Households that have been unemployed for 90 days or more due to COVID-19

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Required Verification/Documentation

  • Government-issued identification for each household member age 18 and older (driver’s license, military ID card, passport, state ID card, copy of a birth certificate, signed Social Security card, or Medicaid or Medicare card)
  • Proof of Occupancy (i.e. utility bill in the applicant’s or co-applicant’s name or identification that shows the same address as the rental unit)
  • Proof of financial hardship due to COVID-19 (letter of termination, written statement, etc.)
  • Proof of income for all household members
  • Landlord contact information, current Lease Agreement and detailed ledger (if requesting rental assistance)
  • Utility statements showing past-due amount, late payment notices, or payment plan (if requesting utility assistance)
  • W-9 from Landlord, if requested
  • Proof of other federal assistance received, if any.
  • Instructions to zip files from your computer or phone

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in "household income"?

The household income is the combined total income of all adults living in the home, including adult children age 18 and older.

I live by myself. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, provided that you are responsible for paying the rent and utilities where you live and that you meet all the other eligibility criteria.

I am a tenant; do I need to get my landlord to participate?

Yes, your landlord will be asked to complete documents during the application process. If you have questions/concerns, please call our customer service line at: 980.246.8181

Who receives the payment?

Payments will be made to the landlord/property management company and/or utility company directly, except if there are extenuating circumstances.

Is there a maximum benefit amount?

The amount of assistance will vary from household to household based on circumstances.

How long can I receive assistance?

An eligible household may receive up to 12 months of assistance (plus an additional three months if necessary to ensure housing stability for the household, subject to the availability of funds), from March 13, 2021 forward.

Is there a requirement that an eligible family has been in their current rental home since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?

No. There is no requirement regarding how long a family has been in their current rental.

Can these funds be used to help homeowners cover their mortgage, utility, or energy costs?

No. Emergency rental assistance may be provided only to eligible households, which is defined by statute to include only households that are obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling. However, homeowners may be eligible for assistance through programs using funds under the Homeowner Assistance Fund, which was established as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Will these funds help pay for my hotel and for how long?

Assistance may be provided to temporarily displaced households living in hotels or motels. The household must be temporarily or permanently displaced from its primary residence or does not have a permanent residence elsewhere. Total months of assistance are the same as mentioned in the FAQ above. The cost of hotel or motel stay would not include expenses incidental to the charge for the room.

Can these funds be used to pay my rent and help with my utilities, including water/gas/electric?

Funds can be used for rent and/or utilities, including electric, water, wastewater/sewer and natural gas/propane. Assistance may also be used in some circumstances for internet expenses.

Will these funds help pay for my car insurance?

No.

If I received help through the HOPE program, may I apply for this program?

Yes, but you cannot duplicate payments for the same month. For example, if you owed rent for October 2020 and it was fully paid by HOPE, you cannot request that amount through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

What is the difference between the HOPE program and your program?

The 2020 HOPE program created by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety is closed and no longer available for assistance. A second HOPE program opened on May 18, 2021, however select counties, including Union County received the funds directly to distribute. If you are a Union County resident, you should apply to our emergency rental and utility assistance program and NOT the state program.

If I am not currently behind on bills due to receiving help from other sources, but I anticipate getting behind on my bills next month, may I apply?

If you meet the eligibility guidelines, you may apply.

What documents would provide proof of financial hardship?

  • A copy of household member(s) notification of job loss/termination from employer during the pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • A copy of household member(s) notification of furlough from employer during the pandemic period (March 13,2020 to present)
  • Two pay stubs, one showing income before loss or reduction of income, and one paystub showing income after loss or reduction of income and dated after March 13, 2020
  • A copy of household member(s) application and/or approval for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • Income documentation for the household member who is self-employed, confirming economic impact on self-employment during eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • A signed self-certification that includes the name of the household member who is self-employed, the name and nature of the business, and narrative confirming economic impact on self-employment during eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • Documentation of sickness with COVID-19 or caring for a household or family member who is sick with COVID-19 during eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • Documentation of extraordinary out-of-pocket childcare expenses due to school closures, medical expenses, or health care expenditures stemming from COVID-19 infection of the applicant or a member of the applicant’s household who is ill with COVID-19 during eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • Documentation of compliance with a recommendation from a government health authority to stay home, self-quarantine, or avoid congregating with others during eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • Documentation of reasonable expenditures stemming from government ordered emergency measures during eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • Documentation of any additional factors relevant to the tenant’s reduction in income as a result of the COVID-19 emergency during eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • A copy of 2019 IRS form 1040 and a copy of 2020 IRS form 1040 showing a decrease in income
  • Attestations from employers, landlords, caseworkers, or others with knowledge of the household’s circumstances may be considered as approved documentation. To the extent that a household’s income, or a portion thereof, is not verifiable due to the impact of COVID-19 (for example, because a place of employment has closed) or has been received in cash, or if the household has no qualifying income, as a last resort a written attestation from the applicant regarding household income will be accepted with the approval of a program supervisor.
  • Self-attestation signed by the applicant regarding the household member’s qualification for unemployment benefits during eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)
  • Self-attestation signed by the applicant that one or more members of the household experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak during eligible pandemic period (March 13, 2020 to present)

Once I have submitted my application, how will I know what is happening?

Our team will reach out to you using the primary applicant’s email and/or phone number provided in your application within 7-14 days to review your application. Applications are processed in the order they are received. Emails will be sent to notify you/the primary applicant of your updated status at each of the six application review steps:

Step 1: Application Received
You will receive an email when your application was successfully submitted into the system and assigned to a Union County ERAP team member.

Step 2: Eligibility Review
Your application is currently being reviewed by the Union County ERAP team member. This part of the process takes the longest. During this time, a team member may be in contact with you and your landlord. We await the additional documents required of you and ensure overall compliance.

Priority levels:

  • Priority 1: 50% AMI and 90+ days unemployed (7-15 business days if all documentation is submitted)
  • Priority 2: 50% AMI or 90+ days unemployed (15-30 business days if all documentation is submitted)
  • Priority 3: All others at 80% AMI and below (30-60 business days if all documentation is submitted)

Step 3: Award Determination
Your application has met the compliance standards and a team member is determining the award amounts.

Step 4: Agreement
The documents have been executed for you and your landlord to review and sign to ensure that all parties are in agreement with the award amount and expectations.

Step 5: Payment
Your application has been fully approved and placed into the cue for payment to the landlord. Please keep in mind that if the landlord opted for a check it may take longer to receive payment as it goes through the U.S. Postal Service.

Step 6: Closeout
Once all of the steps for your application are completed, we will close the application.

If you have any questions, please contact our customer service line at 980.246.8181 Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

You can check the status of your application online at any time. You will need to enter the last name and date of birth for the primary applicant, along with the Application ID number.

What documentation do I need to apply?

  • Government-issued identification:  Examples include driver’s license, military ID card, passport, state ID card, copy of a birth certificate, signed Social Security card, Medicaid or Medicare card.
  • Proof of Residence: Applicant must provide proof that they live in the rental unit listed on the application; this could include a utility bill in the applicant’s or co-applicant’s name or identification that shows the same address as the rental unit.
  • One of the following to verify income:
    • IRS Form 1040 series for calendar year 2020 for each adult household member showing adjusted gross income;
    • Wage statement, interest statement, unemployment compensation for each adult household member over last 90 days (if this form of income documentation is provided, eligibility for assistance will be reassessed every three months for the entire time period during which assistance is provided);
    • Categorical eligibility: determination letter from another government agency that verifies the applicant’s household income; or
    • Under limited circumstances, Union County may rely on Attestations from employers, landlords, caseworkers, or others with knowledge of the household’s circumstances may be considered as approved documentation. To the extent that a household’s income, or a portion thereof, is not verifiable due to the impact of COVID-19 (for example, because a place of employment has closed) or has been received in cash, or if the household has no qualifying income, as a last resort a written attestation from the applicant regarding household income will be accepted with the approval of a program supervisor. If such a written attestation without further documentation is relied on, household income for such household must be reassessed every three months.
  • Evidence of economic hardship due to COVID (see FAQ above)
  • Copy of current Lease Agreement and contact information for Landlord/Property Owner (Rental Assistance)
  • Number of months past due, monthly rent amount, total amount of rent owed (Rental Assistance)
  • Landlord contact information (Rental Assistance)
  • Copies of utility bills, late payment notices or payment plan documents (Utility Assistance)

 

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