York County Community Action to Administer Local Rent Relief Program for People Affected by COVID-19
York County Community Action Corporation is joining nine other Maine Community Action Agencies in administering funds from the COVID Rent Relief Program, which is for renters who cannot afford to pay their rent due to circumstances related to the Coronavirus pandemic. The program is designed to provide a one-time bridge payment of up to $500 for rent until households get stimulus and unemployment funds they need.
Governor Janet Mills announced the program on Thursday, April 16, for immediate activation.
“The Governor knows that with unemployment or reduced income comes significant financial hardships, including paying the rent,” said YCCAC Executive Director Barbara Crider. “As we see Mainers adapting to the Stay at Home mandate, to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus, we are here to help ensure they have a home in which to stay.” MaineHousing is funding the program using $5 million from the Housing Opportunities for Maine (HOME) Fund, after the Governor asked them for a plan to protect Mainers.
The COVID-19 Rent Relief Program does not act as full payment if rent is higher than $500, but is a bridge to other programs until they begin; however, landlords who accept the funds agree not to evict the tenants for that month. Households are eligible if they earn up to 100% of the state median income* and are not already in another subsidized program, which have other alternatives for rental payments.
The program is structured to get money to people who need it as quickly as possible through a streamlined application process. Applicants apply online at mainehousing.org/covidrent or, in York County, they can call YCCAC’s Rent Relief Program line (324-5762, Option 9) if they don’t have access to the internet or if they have questions about the program. YCCAC staff are also available to connect people to other programs for which they are eligible or newly eligible, including heating programs which were recently adjusted to respond to this crisis, and /or SNAP nutrition programs, and a host of other programs administered by YCCAC.
*State Median Income Guidelines