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Pima County set to receive federal funding for rental, utility assistance soon

Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 11:51 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -More help is on the way for families facing homelessness. With Congress passing a new COVID-19 relief bill, Pima County is set to receive crucial funding soon.

“It’s an urgent situation; someone facing an eviction or utility shutoff,” said Daniel Sullivan, the director of Community and Workforce Development. “This has been probably the most challenging year the Community Action Agency (CAA) has faced. It’s without precedence.”

In 2020, thousands of local renters struggled to keep their lights on and their rent paid due to pandemic-related job losses.

However, a new year hasn’t brought a new outlook … yet.

“Unfortunately, most of the clients we serve with COVID-19 funds are working families, families with children,” said Erina Delic, the CAA program coordinator. “We do have many stories where people found themselves – for the first time in their lives - [needing] help.”

Last year, Pima County received more $10 million from the CARES Act to avert evictions and utility shutoffs.

“That has gone to more than 5,000 houses,” said Sullivan. “[Exactly] 5,368 people in Pima County.”

The first round of federal funding has been used up, however, more federal dollars are headed this way. The relief bill also extends the eviction moratorium until Jan. 31st.

“The bill said the funding should be available to states 30 days after it is implemented,” Sullivan said.

More than 200 people are already on a waiting list to receive help.

County officials say the eviction prevention program will likely see the following upgrades;

-More funding than the CARES Act

-Landlords should be able to apply for rental assistance on behalf of tenants

-Multiple months of rent covered at one time (in certain cases)

-A more streamlined process, making it easier to access help

Sullivan says they also plan to offer aid to undocumented immigrants if funding stipulations allow.

“It almost seems like the work that we have done before is a dress rehearsal for the big show coming up,” he said.

To apply for rental assistance in Pima County, click HERE.

For information on programs available in other counties, click HERE.

If you are a landlord, click HERE.

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