Any resident of Washington County who needs help paying rent because of the covid-19 pandemic can apply through one of two housing authorities handling applications.
The Fayetteville and Springdale housing authorities have information on their websites to apply for help. The county received $7.1 million for emergency rental and utility bill assistance from the federal government.
The money comes from a $25 billion federal emergency rental assistance program from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Arkansas received more than $200 million. The money is available only to renters, not homeowners. Landlords are paid directly through the program.
Washington County allocated $1.5 million each to the Fayetteville and Springdale housing authorities for distribution. Once each agency uses 75% of its share, it can ask for more, County Attorney Brian Lester said.
There are three requirements to qualify for the program:
• Households must earn less than 80% of the area's median income of $73,600. For a family of four, 80% is $58,900.
• The household must demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability in the form of a layoff letter, rent-owed statement, eviction notice, unemployment claim, tax documents or pay stubs.
• Someone in the household must have experienced financial difficulty because of covid-19. That means the person is eligible for unemployment benefits, has experienced a reduction in income or incurred significant costs because of the pandemic.
Each housing authority is handling applications differently. Any county resident can seek assistance from either organization.
Fayetteville will accept applications until 9 a.m. Feb. 22. It has a website, nwarentrelief.com, where people can fill out the required information. Paper applications are available at the Housing Authority office at 1 N. School Ave.
Fayetteville has requirements to help those most in need first, Executive Director Angela Belford said. Applicants will not be chosen on a first-come basis.
Maximum assistance is limited to the lower of $4,000 per household or three months' rent, arrears or current. The authority is not offering money for utility bills or late fees to landlords, according to its website.
If housing was lost because of covid-19, the money can help with a rental deposit or up to three months' rent, according to the website.
Belford said she hopes to start paying landlords within a week of the application period closing on Feb. 22. After the initial $1.5 million is distributed, the agency hopes to start a second round of aid March 8, she said.
Springdale has a contact form on its website that can be sent to [email protected] The actual application is a separate form.
In Springdale, completed applications for rent or utility bill assistance must be emailed or mailed to the housing authority's office. The office can be reached at 751-0560 to have an application sent in the mail. Applications also can be picked up at the office at 5 Applegate Drive. Staff members speak Spanish and Marshallese, as well as English.
The full application is available in all three languages on the city of Springdale's website at springdalear.gov/covid-19. Fayetteville's Community Resource Division at 125 W. Mountain St. is serving as a pickup/dropoff site for applications for Springdale and can be reached at 575-8260 or [email protected]
How To Apply
• Fayetteville Housing Authority 1 N. School Ave. 521-3850
• Springdale Housing Authority 5 Applegate Drive 751-0560
• Fayetteville Community Resources Division 125 W. Mountain St. 575-8260
[email protected] bit.ly/faycommunityresources
Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette