FAQ: Need Help With Rent Or Utilites Due To COVID-19? Housing Assistance Is Available | New Hampshire Public Radio

FAQ: Need Help With Rent Or Utilites Due To COVID-19? Housing Assistance Is Available

Jul 1, 2020

Governor Sununu has set aside $35 million from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide housing assistance for individuals who have trouble paying their rent and utilities as a result of the pandemic.

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As the moratorium on evictions lifted this week, the application for this assistance opened on June 30, 2020. Here’s what you need to know:

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What financial assistance is available?

Starting June 30, 2020, anyone, regardless of income level, whose ability to pay rent, mortgage, or utilities has been impacted by COVID-19, may apply through their local Community Action Program for:

  • A one time grant of up to $2500,
  • Ongoing assistance with housing expenses if a one-time grant is not sufficient, or
  • Assistance finding and maintaining permanent housing if they are leaving a shelter.

Housing Action New Hampshire has more resources for those needing assistance with housing. 

Who qualifies?

There is no income eligibility to receive assistance. Anyone who is struggling to pay for housing or utilities from April 1, 2020 onward can apply. This includes those who have seen changes in income or increased expenses, including additional healthcare costs or childcare costs. 

A renter does not need to be currently in the eviction process in order to be eligible.

Where do I apply?

Visit CapNH.org to find your local Community Action Agency. More information about what you need to do to complete the application is available here

You can also call 2-1-1 to be directed to the correct agency. 

What information do I need to have?

To prove eligibility, you may be asked to provide some of the following: 

Income documents (paystubs, SSI, unemployment), non-income documents (food stamps, other benefits,) lease agreement, proof of loss of income (furlough or layoff notice), utility bills, any other documents related to COVID-19 expenses, or an eviction notice.

I received an eviction notice, or am a landlord looking to evict a tenant. What are my options?

Governor Sununu has ordered eviction notices to be extended for 30 days, instead of the typical seven, for any eviction notices due to nonpayment between March 17 and June 11, 2020.

According to Jeff Goodrich, staff attorney at the Legal Aid Resource Center, "The tenant will have the entire month to come up with the rent. If they can pay the rent, plus a $15 liquidated damages fee, the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction." 

However, any eviction notice served for unpaid rent that was due after June 11 (including the first of the month for July) falls under the 7-day eviction period. 

For more information about evictions, visit the Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC) website

How long will it take to receive assistance?

Gregory Schneider, of Southern New Hampshire Services, told NHPR earlier this week,“We want to turn it around as quickly as possible, so we’re looking at having a check out the door within a couple of weeks at most of somebody getting a completed application to us. Once a completed application is in, we’ll get back to the person or the household within two working days. We don’t want to drag the process out.”