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New rental assistance program application opens March 15

Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 01, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah residents will not be able to apply for pandemic rental assistance until March 15 while a new application is being worked on, a spokesperson for the Utah Department of Workforce Services said.

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In 2020, $26 million in rental assistance was given throughout the state. Now, more than $200 million from the federal government will help Utahns with rental assistance through the rest of 2021.

“Emergency Rental Assistance is an important program that can help Utah renters impacted by the pandemic to stay in their homes,” said Department of Workforce Services Deputy Director Nate McDonald. “While we recognize that a pause in accepting applications may cause concern, it will help to ensure the updated program runs smoothly and will allow local community action program agencies to work through their existing backlog of applications.”

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The rental assistance program has helped keep families in their homes and landlords able to pay their mortgages, Utah Apartment Association executive director Paul Smith said.

“Landlords have worked with renters with payment plans, they have been patient while they waited for rental assistance or unemployment benefits to kick in,” he said.

Most renters have worked closely with their landlords to make payment plans, but not all have, Smith said.

“There are two distinct type of renters. One is those that are trying, and one is those that are using the eviction moratorium and the excuses to ignore their landlords and ignore rent,” he said.

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Helping tenants helps landlords, McDonald said.

“We recognize the landlords are carrying a huge burden right now,” he said.

There have been about 15,000 applications for rental assistance, McDonald said.

The goal is to continue to help people through this difficult time and that many people are beginning to get back to work who have been impacted by the pandemic, McDonald said.

“Our hope is that Utah’s economy continues to move in the direction it is moving in,” he said.

According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, you may be eligible for rental assistance if:

  • Combined household income at or below 80% of area median income
  • Qualified for unemployment
  • Loss of income or taken on major costs due to COVID-19
  • Experiencing housing instability

People needing food or rental assistance can call 2-1-1 or CLICK HERE to apply for rental assistance.

Landlords can call the Utah Apartment Association for assistance at 801-487-5619 or head to the organization's website.