Funds for rental assistance to prevent eviction based on non-payment are available. How does someone in need access them and what do the funds cover?
What funds are available?
NC operates HOPE funds that assist 88 counties. Twelve counties in NC, including Durham, met a threshold to manage their own distribution program. The fund in Durham is called ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program).
Who can apply?
Renters, not landlords, must complete the application. Landlords are encouraged to inform renters about the option of rental assistance, but it is not required. Landlords must be part of the agreement process, but they can refuse to participate—even when a renter is eligible for assistance.
Who is eligible?
For HOPE and Durham ERAP funds, renters must meet two requirements: 1) Experienced a direct or indirect Covid impact and 2) Be at risk of homelessness or housing instability. This means that a person has either qualified for unemployment benefits, experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced another financial hardship related to Covid-19. In Durham, clients up to 80% of AMI (Area Median Income—see previous post on AMI) qualify for assistance, while the threshold for HOPE is 50% AMI.
How much assistance can someone receive?
Eligibility is up to 12 months’ rent, including nine months of arrears payments. In Durham, there are some special circumstances where you can obtain an extra three months.
Who receives the funds?
Funds are given to the landlord or utility company in the name of the applicant.
Can someone still be evicted?
Renters who obtain ERAP/HOPE funds and landlord cooperation cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent during the period covered by the rental funds and 60 days after that. However, it is unclear whether they can be evicted for other reasons during this period and up to 60 days after. They can be evicted for any reason including nonpayment more than 60 days after the covered rental funds period. Despite the eviction moratorium, evictions have continued since March 2020 for those who do not have a CDC declaration form claiming a Covid-19 hardship or those who are evicted for reasons other than nonpayment. In Durham, the Chief District Court Judge has stepped in and extended the eviction moratorium through August 31st—two months beyond the State of North Carolina deadline, and one month beyond the CDC order.
How can I apply in Durham?
Go to https://durhamerap.dconc.gov/cares to apply. You need a valid email address. In addition to Durham County Health and Social Services, you can also contact the following community partners for assistance: El Centro Hispano, CAARE, Centre for Home Ownership, Community Empowerment Fund, and Church World Service.
For questions or immediate assistance, please call 919-560-8000 Option 7 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out other posts in our Eviction Moratorium Series.
Post 1: The Warning Signs
Post 2: How Bad Could It Be?
Post 3: Where Do People Go?
Sessoms, Ben. “NC has COVID money for tenants behind on the rent. Here’s what you need to know.” News & Observer. June 6, 2021. <https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article251901533.html>.
“COVID-19 Information for Landlords and Tenants.” North Carolina Judicial Branch Website. <https://www.nccourts.gov/covid-19/covid-19-information-for-landlords-and-tenants>.
“Durham Emergency Rental Assistance Program now accepting applications.” City of Durham News Website. <https://durhamnc.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2822&ARC=3949>.
“Durham Rental Eviction Moratorium Extended Through August.” WRAL News. <https://www.wral.com/durham-rental-eviction-moratorium-extended-through-august/19752893/?fbclid=IwAR1d0tIWUwuFKJOLA_QpcZJ6LjhF83goGePlMrSl8sL0bBp5MQxdM6eUjV0>.
“Welcome to Durham Rental Assistance Program.” Durham County Website. <https://durhamerap.dconc.gov/cares>.