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New Housing Relief Programs Announced in DC Amid Public Health Emergency

by Nena Perry-Brown

Yesterday, Mayor Bower's office announced the introduction of new programs and funding to offer rent assistance to DC residents.

The programs and funds are outlined below:

  • The COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), which will make available $6.2 million via Housing Counseling Services, Greater Washington Urban League and United Planning Organization to give some low-income renters up to three months of back-rent owed since April 2020. Renters would be eligible for these funds if they earn at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Level; renters who earn less than 125% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for help from the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
  • DC's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will award another $2 million in grants to housing nonprofits for other COVID-19 support services.
  • $500,000 will be allotted for short-term homelessness prevention efforts and support services for people who have or are affected by HIV. This program will be administered by the city's Department of Health as Housing Opportunity for People with AIDS funds.
  • $23 million for Emergency Solutions Grants for those experiencing homelessness, via DHS. Administration of this program will be handled in part by the Interagency Council on Homelessness and the public will have a chance to review the program and give feedback before implementation.

“We know that this public health emergency has brought unexpected and difficult economic circumstances for many of our residents, especially our renters with low or reduced incomes,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “This federal funding will be directed to new and existing programs coordinated across multiple agencies to help residents get current on rent and ultimately keep people in their homes.”

The programs use $40 million in federal funds awarded through the CARES Act. The press release also intimates that part of the District’s Economic Recovery Team is working to expand the city's eviction prevention efforts. Additional information will be available here on Monday.

The city has been passing legislation since April enacting a moratorium on evictions, rent increases, and late fees, and requiring mortgage deferral and rent payment plan options during and for a period after the public health emergency.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/new-housing-relief-programs-announced-in-dc-amid-public-health-emergency/16982

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