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Emergency rental aid program now open

Thanks to the City setting aside CARES Act funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, qualifying Yuma residents may receive assistance paying their rent.

The City’s Emergency Rental Assistance program, approved April 15 by the Yuma City Council, is now accepting applications.

The funding – $370,000 from Community Development Block Grants – aims to help city residents who have lost income due to the COVID-19 coronavirus or public health measures put in place to alleviate the virus’ impact on the community. This includes people laid off, furloughed, or suffering a severe reduction in working hours.

Applicants must live in a property they rent inside city limits, and must also meet HUD income guidelines. Persons already receiving payment assistance vouchers or coupons are not eligible.

“COVID-19 caused so many of our residents to have their paychecks significantly reduced, and having to pay rent in that situation compounds the stress,” said Assistant Director of Community Development Rhonda Lee-James. “We hope this rental assistance can help our impacted workers hold on financially until they are back at work again.”

To apply, fill out the online form and return it to the City with all additional requested documents. For assistance, email Neighborhood Services or call 928-373-5187. Neighborhood Services staff can provide documents to prospective applicants who do not have computer or Internet access.

If dropping off paper application and documents, place it in a secured envelope with “Neighborhood Services Emergency Rental Assistance” written on the front and deposit in the mail slot near the main entrance to Yuma City Hall, One City Plaza.

Completed applications then go to the Western Arizona Council of Governments (WACOG) to determine eligibility. WACOG will then contact applicants to finalize assistance.

Rent payments will go directly to landlords or property owners on behalf of the participants. The property owner or property manager must agree to participate in the program. The landlord cannot live in the same household as a program participant. Rent due prior to March 2020 is not eligible.

The rent assistance program developed after the City consulted local nonprofit agencies, particularly those on the front line of the area’s COVID-19 response, for input on how CARES funds could best assist City residents who suffered economic consequences from the mass shutdown of businesses to halt the spread of the virus.