The Human Services Department will administer the program, which will be funded with federal coronavirus relief dollars, and delivered through local community action programs.
“We have already seen an overwhelming demand for help as people struggle to pay the rent,” said Clint Hickman, the District 4 board of supervisors chairman, in a release. “While no single government action or program can fully address the issue, we designed this program to prevent evictions and help as many people as possible.”
The Board of Supervisors allocated $30 million for the program, which would offer approximately 6,000 households in the region up to three months of rent, paid directly to landlords, according to the county. Additionally, some households may qualify for utility assistance, another area of concern for renters, especially during the summer months, according to the county.
“We want to keep as many people in their homes as possible because we know that family stability, safety and health begin with a roof over someone’s head,” said Bruce Liggett, director of the Maricopa County Human Services Department, in a news release. “We understand the urgency and ask for people’s patience as we try to assist as many households as we can.”
The program was initiated on July 13. Assistance will be delivered through 11 local public and nonprofit community action programs and human services departments in two areas. Funds have been allocated based on the percent of potentially eligible in each area.
Residents of Phoenix and Mesa would not be eligible to apply because those cities also received significant funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
"Maricopa County understands many residents are experiencing significant social, economic, and personal challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic," the news release said. "In addition, the County is aware of the scheduled expiration of federal (July 25th) and state (July 22nd) eviction moratoriums as well as the end of federal unemployment insurance eligibility and supplemental payments at the end of July, unless extended."
As a result, Maricopa County expects a tremendous number of requests for assistance, according to the county. Applicants will be served on a first come, first served basis.
To address the need for rental assistance in the community, Maricopa County has designed the program to reach individuals and families who might otherwise not get help. The program’s key features include:
- Eligibility is set higher than typical rental assistance programs. Eligibility starts at the Area Median Income, 300% of the federal poverty level, or roughly $65,000 for a family of 3.
- There is a set payment amount of $1,500 per month.
- Households will be eligible for up to 3 months of assistance for past due or owed rent between March and December 2020, based on funds available.
- Payments will be made directly to landlords.
- There is limited documentation required in order to speed up assistance. Applicants will need to submit:
- Evidence of financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Applicant photo
- Lease agreement
- Total household income
- Bundling of services: When applying, households will also be considered for federal utility assistance and may be eligible for other local services and supports.
To learn more about the program, visit Maricopa.gov/COVIDRentHelp. To learn about utility assistance and other rental assistance programs, go to Maricopa.gov/HelpwithBills.