Rental help still available for Bernalillo County residents - Albuquerque Journal

Rental help still available for Bernalillo County residents

When the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was initiated in March 2020, the federal government faced many challenges, including helping the American people stay safe and preserving the economy. Immediately, federal legislation was crafted and put into effect. The first was the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in 2020, followed by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in 2021. Designed to remediate and strengthen an economy severely affected by the pandemic, these acts have been successful in pushing forward short-term recovery and long-term economic growth through investment in key areas such as affordable housing, public infrastructure, economic impact payments, business assistance and emergency rental assistance.

CARES and ARPA programs have allocated billions of dollars nationally to assist households that were unable to pay rent or utilities because of the pandemic. The programs have been a win-win proposition for renters and property owners and the overall economy. Remaining in one’s home nurtures emotional well-being and supports healthier home life and workforce stability. Tenant continuity helps property owners maintain their businesses.

With funds from the federal government, Bernalillo County implemented its Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and to date, more than 531 households have been able to alleviate rent arrears and prevent evictions. More than $3.7 million rent relief dollars have been distributed to county residents who live outside Albuquerque.

This is good news, and there is more good news. Funds are still available. If, since March 2020, COVID-19 has had a financial impact on you – loss of job, employment disruption, or reduced hours – or your income falls within certain limits, you may be eligible for assistance. Funds also help those who are vulnerable to becoming homeless or subject to housing instability.

Tenants should apply today for assistance as the moratorium on evictions has ended. While only residents can initiate the process, property owners, family members and community partners can help them submit their applications online. Payments are made directly to property owners.

Bernalillo County Economic Development administers this Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), distributing both CARES and ARPA funds.

“This federal assistance program requires enormous effort as it involves a complex review, recordkeeping, and payment process,” said Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas Baca. “We are proud of county staff for stepping up and stepping out of their assigned roles to assume additional responsibilities to implement and execute this program that supports key county initiatives such as safe housing, job retention, and enhanced quality of life.”

There are three emergency rental assistance programs in New Mexico. To qualify for the Bernalillo County ERAP, applicants must be renters living outside of the city of Albuquerque and tribal areas and within Bernalillo County. Before applying, use the map here: bernco.gov/rent or email your residential address to BerncoRent@bernco.gov to avoid application delays. Remember, the ERAP benefits renters and property owners. For more information, visit bernco.gov/rent.

Please reach out to us. We are here to help.

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