Various Rent and Utility Assistance Programs Still Available in Nebraska
Renters and tenants in the State of Nebraska can still use various rent and utility assistance programs if they were impacted by Covid-19. According to Legal Aid of Nebraska Attorney Scott Mertz, there is an upward trend in eviction filings and some of these evictions are ordered on the same day. In this article, we reviewed some of these rent and utility programs that are still available in Nebraska, as well as their eligibility requirements and online application links.
The Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless (MACCH) administers the MACCH Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help renters, landlords, and property managers in the city limits of Omaha. The MACCH is a homeless services agency that serves Douglas and Sarpy counties in Nebraska, as well as Pottawattamie County in Iowa. Eligible applicants include those with a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income AMI. Priority is given to households with an income at or below 50%. They need to be US legal citizens or legal residents and have at least one household member financially impacted by Covid-19 (directly or indirectly). These impacts include being laid off, being underemployed, losing a business due to Covid-19, not being able to work because you had to care for a Covid-19 patient, and increased medical bills due to COVID-19. The funds received from the MACCH Emergency Rental Assistance Program can be used to cover future or past due rent, and current or past due utility bills. For applying visit the agency’s official site. For more information, call 402-939-0398 or email [email protected].
”We took a group of low-income households and we threw a pandemic at them and now they are really struggling to get back ahead,” said Lisa Vukov, Director of Programs and Compliance for the MACCH. “The ramifications of this are gonna last for years to come.”
People living in Douglas County, but outside of Omaha can also get assistance with their rent and utilities. The Douglas County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (DC ERAP), administered by Christian Outreach Program – Elkhorn (COPE), helps US legal citizens or legal residents behind on rent or utility bills due to Covid-19. The income requirement is at least 80% of the Area Median Income, meaning up to $48,750.00 for a single person; $69,600.00 for a family of four. Priority is also given to those applicants with a 50% income. Up to 12 months of past-due rent and utility payments, as well as 3 months of prospective payments, are allowed under the program. The maximum amount you can receive is $20,000.00 or up to 15 months of assistance. DC ERAP applications are available online. For more information call 402-616-2330 or email [email protected].
Lancaster County also offers assistance to its residents through its Emergency Relief Assistance (ERA). Income-eligible renters living in Lincoln and Lancaster County can apply for past and future rent assistance, as well as utilities including gas, water, electricity, and internet. The eligibility requirements include being directly or indirectly impacted by Covid-19 and having a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income. Applications for tenants and renters are available here. For more information call 402-441-4942 or email [email protected].
The rest of Nebraska renters can use the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program. This program expires in September 2022 or until funds are exhausted, so make sure you apply on time. This program covers past due and/or future rent and utilities paid directly to landlords and utility providers. The eligibility requirements are pretty much similar to the rest of the renters’ assistance programs in the state, including facing financial hardship due to Covid-19 and a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income. The maximum amount you can receive is $20,000.00 or up to 15 months of assistance. Residents in Lancaster County, Douglas County, City of Lincoln, and the City of Omaha are not eligible for this program and they can use the program mentioned above. Applications are available here. For more information and necessary documents call (833) 500-8810 (Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM CST).