FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The pandemic has been hard on families and people across NWA are struggling financially to keep a roof over their heads. This is where the Emergency Rental Assistance comes in.
Washington County received a total of $7.1million. It distributed $1.5 million to the Fayetteville and Springdale Housing Authorities each to help Washington County residents impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and struggling to pay rent.
The Fayetteville Housing Authority tells KNWA/FOX24, it received over 800 applications for rental emergency assistance and hope to have checks out the first week of March.
Executive Director, Angela Belford says that because of the winter storm it’s extending its deadline to accept applications to Tuesday, February 23 at noon.
Belford says as of Friday they’ve gotten about 835 applications which is equivalent to about $4.5 million of need, if all of those people are eligible.
She says the need is much greater than the funding it received and she is encouraging residents to continue applying.
“We would love to see more folks that are outside of those two major cities apply for this because we know the need is out there. The more people apply the more data we have to make the case that we need to get more funding,” said Belford.
Residents who are eligible can apply at either office in Washington County or visit nwarentrelief.com.
This still leaves $4.1 million up for grabs for Washington County residents.
County Attorney for Washington County, Brian Lester says it’s looking into a software system to create a third point of access for people to apply.
He says the goal is to reach more people and distribute the funds as quickly as possible.
“Our plan is to have someone go out to those areas… some of those rural communities. We want to make sure to somehow get the message out that we will have somebody there. So, if someone needs assistance and can’t make it all the way to the courthouse that we have somebody that is going to be there and helping people,” said Lester.
He adds the county is responsible to account for every dollar distributed to its residents and collect all of the data required by the federal government.
He admits the biggest challenges are in finding the right software system that will do the job and getting to a place where it can distribute the rest of the money. Lester hopes to have the system up and running within the next couple of weeks.
Over in Benton County, it received $8.3 million. As of Friday, the county tells KNWA/FOX24 it has already gotten about 500 applications and distributed over $100,000. To apply for these funds, fill out the contact form on harknwa.com/getconnected or call 2-1-1.
Both counties have until the end of the year to disperse all of the money and again it is on a first come first serve basis.