Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Rental Assistance Program Announced
Winston-Salem and Forsyth County both received funds directly from the federal government's Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by Congress in January. The city and county agreed to run a joint rental assistance program and over the past couple of months they have been working on designing the program and finding vendors to implement it. At a meeting of the city's Community Development, Housing & General Government Committee on Tuesday (3/16/21) the head of the city's Community Development department, Marla Newman, reported that the program has a planned launch date of April 5, 2021.
Some highlights from her report to the committee:
- Households of up to 80% area median income (AMI) will be eligible, but lower income households (50% AMI) will be given priority (see table below for AMI amounts in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County).
- Households that have been unemployed for 90 days or more due to COVID-19 will also be prioritized.
- The program will be administered by the city's Department of Social Services (DSS). They have retained a firm, Tetra Tech, that will staff a call center along with DSS temporary employees.
- Applications will be accepted on an ERAP web portal, which will be linked to the city's website; over the telephone with a dedicated ERAP phone number; in-person by appointment with the Department of Social Services.
- Landlords will also be required to complete an application in order for assistance to be provided to the tenant.
There are some additional requirements on landlords that PTAA will be seeking some more detail/direction on:
- Provide a W9
- Confirm ownership of the property through the County Tax Assessor (we will get clarification about what 3rd party managers will need to provide)
- Not evict the tenant after payment of the rent has been provided (we will get more details on this, particularly the length of time this provision would be applicable)
- Not charge late fees for rent owed that was paid on behalf of the tenant
PTAA will provide updates and more details as they become available.