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Utah marks distribution of $100M in pandemic rental assistance

A "For Rent" sign in Salt Lake City is pictured on April 9. Utah announced Monday that it has distributed $100 million since March to help renters unable to pay rent and utilities because of the pandemic.

A "For Rent" sign in Salt Lake City is pictured on April 9. Utah announced Monday that it has distributed $100 million since March to help renters unable to pay rent and utilities because of the pandemic. (Annie Barker, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah on Monday hit a milestone of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program with the distribution of $100 million since March 2021 in assistance to help renters who are unable to pay their rent and utilities due to circumstances related to COVID-19.

Utah received $215 million in federal funds for the program, as a partnership of five entities: the Utah Department of Workforce Services, Salt Lake City and Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties. Including administrative costs, the state has spent more than 50% of its allocated funds.

The program has paid out more than 21,000 applications in Utah. Most applications cover more than one month of rent and other costs.

"We are pleased that we have been able to help so many Utahns, but of equal importance is that there is still assistance available," said Christina Oliver, director of the Housing and Community Development Division of Workforce Services.

Assistance is available for renters who have a household income of 80% or below of area median income and have been directly or indirectly financially impacted by the pandemic. These impacts could include reduced hours or job loss, medical impacts or caring for a family member. Rental assistance can cover current, past and three months of prospective rent, eligible fees, security deposits, utilities, internet and home energy costs.

Landlords are also welcome to apply on behalf of their tenants.

The number of adult renters reporting to the Census Bureau that their household was not caught up on rent has fallen from a peak of 15 million people — 1 in 5 adult renters — in January 2021 but has remained above 10 million people — about 1 in 7 adult renters — since the end of March.
The number of adult renters reporting to the Census Bureau that their household was not caught up on rent has fallen from a peak of 15 million people — 1 in 5 adult renters — in January 2021 but has remained above 10 million people — about 1 in 7 adult renters — since the end of March. (Photo: CBPP analysis of Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey tables)

"Emergency Rental Assistance has been an important program over the past year to help renters stay in their homes during a difficult time," said Tara Rollins, executive director of the Utah Housing Coalition. "Both on the Wasatch Front and in rural Utah, I've watched how hard government and community partners are working to assist those in need, and I encourage anyone who is having trouble paying rent to apply."

Each of the five partner entities received funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, but at the outset of the program, they determined to move forward as a single partnership to eliminate any potential confusion from those in need of assistance. People in any city or county in the state can apply via the application found here.

Regardless of whether the funds technically come from a city, county or the state, the experience for the applicant is the same.

"We're not in danger of running out of time or money, if people are interested in applying they absolutely should do it," said Christina Davis, communication director at the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

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