New Hampshire will receive $200 million for emergency rental assistance as part of the federal government’s new COVID-19 relief bill.
Eligible renters will receive assistance to pay for rent and utility payments, and any unpaid utility bills or rent.
Elliott Berry, an attorney with New Hampshire Legal Assistance, said this relief is more targeted in who’s eligible to apply. Funds must be used for households that make 80% of the area median income, with a priority for those that make 50% of the area median income.
The new legislation also extends the CDC’s eviction moratorium through the end of January.
“Which will be of critical importance in enabling tenants to access the new money,” Berry said.
He said he’s seen many of his clients apply for and use the CDC moratorium.
“It’s prevented a substantial number of evictions, or at least postponed them,” he said.
But Berry said he’s concerned the extension will need to be longer, as states set up application processes for the new funds. He also said making those applications accessible will need to be part of the discussion. Earlier this year, Gov. Chris Sununu allocated $20 million of federal CARES Act money to an emergency housing relief fund.
The deadline to apply for those funds has passed, but Berry said there were issues with an online-based application for low-income families who may not have access to a computer or the internet.
As of mid-December, community action agencies had distributed about $9.7 million of this year's federal CARES act to more than 3,200 individuals and families in New Hampshire.