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Lifespan Opportunities in Washington and Hancock Counties

Downeast Community Partners - COVID-19 Rent and Utilities Relief Program

Thu, Feb 25th, 2021

by DCP Staff

Downeast Community Partners - COVID-19 Rent and Utilities Relief Program

MAINEHOUSING REOPENS COVID-19 RENTAL RELIEF PROGRAM

ELLSWORTH, Maine, February 25, 2021 — The Maine State Housing Authority announced the reopening and expansion of the anticipated COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Program. The program will begin accepting applications at noon on March 1, 2021. 

“We have been working with the Community Action Agencies every day to craft a program to meet federal guidelines, but more importantly the needs of Mainers,” said Daniel Brennan, Director of MaineHousing. “We are eager to get these funds to those who need it. …we are doing our best to incorporate lessons learned and customer feedback. This has been a huge lift, and we’re honored to do it.”

Earlier versions of the program were useful but had limitations. Under the previous program, many people could not get help because their property owner would not cooperate. Under the new rules, eligible applicants will receive funding regardless of the property owner’s willingness to provide information.

The program’s initial and early pandemic release of funds provided rent assistance up to $500, the second release raised the amount to $1,000, and the third version has removed any maximum per month limit. The third version is an effort to help people in a more comprehensive way.

When asked about the newest program, Downeast Community Partners’ executive director, Mark Green said, “We are pleased to be working with Maine Housing to offer this new rental assistance program to the people of our region. We hope that this program will make it easier for people to pay their rent and associated expenses as we all work to rebuild our economy and way of life.” 

Under the expansion, renters can apply for up to 15-months of rent and utility aid. This includes retroactive payments spanning from March 2020 to current, plus three-months.

The most notable changes to the program are listed below.

·       Previous and new applicants are welcome to apply.

·       There is no monthly rent maximum.

·       The program does not require property owner/landlord participation or agreement to receive aid.

·       The program can pay for some utilities owed back to March 13, 2020. Utilities include electricity, water, sewer, trash, and heat.

·       The program can also pay some late and legal fees.

·       The program can cover internet or relocation expenses.

·       Qualified applicants can receive up to 15-months of assistance.

·       Aid is awarded to qualified recipients on a first come, first served basis.

·       Section 8 participants can now apply for assistance.

People who want to learn more or who are interested in applying please visit,

https://www.mainehousing.org/programs-services/rental/rentaldetail/covid-19-rental-relief-program.

DCP received hundreds of calls per day concerning COVID rent assistance. Applicants living in Washington or Hancock counties, who have submitted an application and have questions, are encouraged to contact Downeast Community Partners via email rentrelief@DowneastCommunityPartners.org.  

If you reside in a different area, please visit the MaineHousing website for more information.