Program offers low-income families rent assistance in Memphis area

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — While COVID-19 numbers are dropping and businesses are opening back up, the financial toll of the pandemic continues to hurt thousands of Mid-South residents.

But the city of Memphis is putting together a plan that could help low-income families and landlords with rent issues.

Close to $30 million will be offered in rent assistance, but only to those who need it most.

“These funds are much needed all across the country. So our hope is that it will provide the relief that is needed to help families get on their feet and be able to have a secure, stable lifestyle post-COVID 19,” said Paul Young, Director of Memphis Housing and Community Development.

It’s been nearly a year since COVID-19 landed in the Mid-South and, for some, close to a year without work. For others, close to a year where tenants can’t pay rent.

The city of Memphis and Shelby County are using more than $28 million in emergency rental and utility assistance from the federal government to offer an historic level of aid to those that need it most.

“We are hopeful that this significant amount of money that we have will get people stabilized and will actually stop that cycle. I think that when we do intervene in that cycle, we do have long-term success in reducing poverty,” said Dorcas Young-Griffin, Shelby County Director of Community Services.

To be eligible, city officials say households will need to make less than 80 percent of the median income, which could vary based on the size of the family. They’ll also need to show proof of a COVID-related hardship that has affected their ability to sustain employment.

Landlords will also be able to apply for assistance, including rent aid for their tenants.

Officials hope the program will “add weight to those in the deepest levels of poverty,” providing assistance for an extended period of time, with hopes that families will return to a level of normalcy.

If you or someone you know might be able to use this new rent assistance program, you can apply online at home901.org.

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