Changes to the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program mean households that qualify can receive the aid for longer than before.
The maximum allotment per household has increased from 15 to 18 months, according to the Wyoming Department of Family Services, which is administering the program for the state.
Funding is also now available to people who are homeless or lack a lease or rental agreement, the department said in a press release. That could include people who are living with friends, couch surfing or who are residing at a homeless shelter.
Wyoming created the program to help people struggling to pay rent or their utilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Wednesday, the program had paid $12.5 million in aid via 4,736 applications. The bulk of rental payments, $9.7 million, has gone to landlords. Renters have received $1.8 million, while $778,000 has been paid to utilities, according to the department.
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The state has received $352 million in federal money to help renters.
To be eligible for the program, a person must:
- be a renter or have unpaid rent on a Wyoming residence;
- have a household income of less than 80% of the area’s median income;
- qualify for unemployment benefits or show financial loss during or because of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- be at risk of losing housing.
People can get more information by calling 877-WYO-ERAP or visiting dfs.wyo.gov/erap.
Editor's note: This article has been corrected to include the proper amount of ERAP funds that have been paid to utilities.