Emergency Rental Assistance Program secures housing for local renters experiencing COVID-19-based hardships
The U.S. Department of Treasury awarded Cabarrus County Government more than $6.5 million to help local households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is available through the $25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.
For eligible households, the County can pay overdue rent and utilities (electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash removal and energy costs) that are not covered within rent dating back to March 13, 2020 and through the remainder of the year or until funding runs out.
Residents can apply online at erap.cabarruscounty.us using any internet-connected personal computer, tablet or smartphone. Paper applications are also available at County offices, including the Government Center (65 Church Street S, Concord), Human Services Center (1303 S. Cannon Blvd., Kannapolis) branches of the Cabarrus County Public Library System (Concord, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Midland and Mt. Pleasant) and the Cabarrus County Veterans Services Office (363 Church St. N, Suite 180, Concord).
Cabarrus leaders applied for the funding and received notification of the County’s grantee status in January. Funds are available through December 31.
An eligible household is defined as a renter household that has a household income that does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income (examples: $46,800 annually for a household of one, $66,800 annually for a household of four and $88,200 annually for a household of eight):
At least one or more individuals living in the household:
- Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability
The process requires documentation of need, including financial, housing and utility verification. Applicants who complete the application online can submit scans or photos of the documentation. Paper copies are required for the paper application.
If the applicant qualified for another federal or state program (example: HOPE) and has needs beyond the months covered by that program, they may qualify for the ERAP program.
‘A significant housing crisis’ looms
A national moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges is set to expire on March 31.
Cabarrus County Director of Human Services Karen Calhoun expects the rental assistance program could help more than 1,000 local households.
“We’re on the verge of a significant housing crisis,” Calhoun said. “We had to take a complicated process and make it manageable for the applicant and timely for the landlords. We are fortunate to have a solid technological infrastructure and a team that could think critically and act quickly on decisions.”
The County’s efforts have included:
- Expanding the County’s Economic Family Support Services division with four employees who are dedicated to the program
- Creating an interactive online application with real-time response
- Providing access to technology and in-person application assistance at branches of the Cabarrus County Public Library
- Building on recently revamped payment processes that will expedite payment to vendors safely and securely
- Capitalizing on communication tools such as a “text to know” feature, distribution channels including Cabarrus County Television and social media, and a responsive application portal on the County’s website
How to apply
Residents can apply online at erap.cabarruscounty.us using any internet-connected personal computer, tablet or smartphone. Free access to computers and scanners is available at each branch of the Cabarrus County Public Library.
Paper applications are available at several locations across Cabarrus, including the Government Center, Human Services center, branches of the library and the Veterans Services Office.
Branches of the Cabarrus County Public Library System and the Cabarrus County Veterans Services Office will hand-deliver applications through their curbside service. Simply park in a designated curbside space and call the posted number.
Completed paper applications, along with required verification documents, should be returned to the Cabarrus County Human Services Center (1303 S. Cannon Blvd., Kannapolis), branches of the library or to the Veterans Services Office. An after-hours drop box is available at Human Services.
To request more information on the program, text ERAP to 888-777. To speak with a representative, call 704-920-1400, option 4 then option 6.
Additional details on the ERAP can be found at Treasury.gov/CARES.