• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Thursday, April 1, 2021

Financial assistance is available for renters starting April 5

Forsyth County and the City of Winston-Salem are offering financial assistance to low-income residents who are behind with rent or utilities due to COVID-19 starting April 5.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) offers assistance to pay rent and utility bills, including electricity, water and sewer, natural gas, propane and internet. Beginning April 5, residents can apply at Forsyth.cc/ERAP or by calling 1-855-838-6776.

The United States Department of Treasury established the ERAP to assist with housing and utility expenses in order to prevent evictions due to the pandemic. Forsyth County received $4,052,179 in ERAP funds and the City of Winston-Salem has received $7,478,359. The city and county are administering ERAP as a joint program.

"Forsyth County is pleased to partner with the City of Winston-Salem to deploy the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP),” said Forsyth County Department of Social Services Director Victor Isler. “Collaboratively, we have intentionally developed a process that will allow renters and landlords to apply as efficiently as possible. Housing instability must be addressed to ensure we overcome the impact of this pandemic. ERAP is another intentional step in the right direction".

“The city is pleased to partner with Forsyth County to help many of our neighbors who are struggling with rent payments and payment of their utilities,” said City Community Development Director Marla Newman. “The availability of this money from the Treasury Department will go a long way to help people get back on their feet and be able to provide a safe, stable home for their family.”

The city is contracting with Tetra Tech to provide case management, eligibility determination services and dispute resolution. The city is also contracting with Benevate, Inc, dba Neighborly Software, to provide electronic application and data management services. The county will use contracted temporary workers through the The Resource Company, Inc., in addition to county staff, to provide application services, finalize assistance awards and distribute assistance.

To qualify for assistance, residents must:

  • Have incurred significant costs or financial hardships due to COVID-19.
  • Have a household income 80 percent or less of area median income.
  • Be behind in utility or rent payments.
  • Be named on a lease or utility account.
  • Qualify for unemployment OR be a household experienced a reduction in income through furlough or reduction in hours due to COVID-19.

Priority areas for assistance are households with an income of 50% or less of Area Median Income, households that have been unemployed for 90 days or more due to COVID-19 and households with a court eviction pending.

Required documentation to apply for the program include:

  • Have incurred significant costs or financial hardships due to COVID-19.
  • Current driver’s license or government-issued ID for all adults in the household.
  • All pages of the renter’s signed lease agreement.
  • Statement of financial hardship due to COVID-19 like a termination email or letter, proof of unemployment or other documentation.
  • Proof of income for all household members.
  • Eviction notice or late rental payment notice.
  • Utility statements showing past due amount in renter’s name.
  • Documentation of other federal assistance received, if any.

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