This week, we want to direct your attention to a program that could help Arkansans struggling to pay rent and utilities due to the pandemic.
The Arkansas Rent Relief Program offers financial help to pay overdue and upcoming rent and utilities for eligible Arkansas renters. Landlords who have tenants unable to pay their rent because of lost income or the COVID-10 pandemic also may apply. The state of Arkansas has $173 million of federal funding for the Arkansas Rent Relief Program. Once an application is approved, money would go directly to landlords and utility companies.
The program covers overdue rent plus up to 5 percent of late fees dating back to April 1, 2020. It also covers overdue utility bills for gas, water, and electricity. This program does not cover overdue phone or internet bills.
Future rent owed through December 31, 2021, is also covered. Renters can apply for up to three months of future rent at a time.
You may qualify for help paying your rent and utilities if:
- Someone in your home qualifies for unemployment benefits OR
- Your household income decreased during the pandemic OR
- Someone in your home suffered significant financial hardship due to the pandemic (i.e. lost a job, has extensive medical bills) AND
- You meet income eligibility based on the residing county (Area Median Income) and the number of people in your home.
Arkansans renting in Benton, Pulaski and Washington counties are asked to apply directly through their county programs. Those links and a complete list of required documents to apply can be found on the DHS website www.ar.gov/rentrelief.
Call 855.RENTARK (855.736.8275) if you need help submitting your application or have questions. Representatives are available Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. DHS also has partnered with community organizations statewide that can help you submit your application.