Nearly two years into the pandemic, many Salt Lake County families are still feeling the impacts and fear losing their housing. Because of Salt Lake County’s strong performance in distributing rental assistance funds to residents during COVID-19 thus far, the U.S. Treasury is providing the County with an additional $10 million in aid.
Salt Lake County is also forming a new program with Utah Community Action (UCA) and Centro de la Familia. The organizations will work with residents struggling to make rent by helping them apply for and complete applications for rent assistance. The program will extend much needed support to families of all backgrounds and situations dealing with housing insecurity.
“Housing stability continues to be critical for our residents as we navigate new COVID-19 variants and their impacts on our workforce,” Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said. “We are constantly striving to improve access to our most vulnerable and diverse populations and are grateful for UCA’s and Centro de la Familia’s commitment to provide application assistance.”
UCA and Centro de la Familia will provide direct help to residents interested in or working on applying for Emergency Rental Assistance. Salt Lake County’s goal is to make the emergency application process more user friendly and get money into the hands of people who need it.
“We’re trying to make Emergency Rental Assistance easier to access,” Lauren Littlefield, Salt Lake County’s Housing Stability and Recovery Manager, said. “We listened and learned we needed more dedicated application assistance and took steps to fill that gap.”
In 2021, one of the largest reasons for rental assistance application denials was the lack of response from applicants when documents or information was missing. By creating this new system, Salt Lake County is enabling partners to:
Increase communication to submit complete applications
Work together to secure necessary documents for qualification
Provide physical and virtual opportunities for application assistance in geographic areas across Salt Lake County
Provide application status updates
This will be enhanced by additional language assistance, education, and outreach efforts from other community organizations, which the County is currently working to procure.
“We understand that applying for rental assistance can be daunting,” Sahil Oberoi, UCA Director of Housing and Case Management, said. “Our goal is to simplify this process by walking clients through the application and helping them identify the necessary documents needed to successfully submit their application.”
For direct rental assistance application help and troubleshooting, Salt Lake County residents can contact Utah Community Action at (801) 359-2444 or Centro de la Familia at [email protected] or (801) 707-9986.
“We aim to make emergency rental assistance available to the families who need help the most but are often least able to access the program on their own,” Teri Peters, Centro de la Familia’s Program Design & Monitoring Manager, said.
Salt Lake County residents have received at least $64 million in Emergency Rental Assistance. In total, more than 48,000 Salt Lake County residents have been impacted by this program since March 2021. There are currently $93 million in funds available in the State of Utah for residents.
Residents who have been impacted by or during the pandemic can apply for rental assistance funds if their combined household income is at or below 80% of area median income. For a family of four the income limit is $73,750 or less. The application is available at https://rentrelief.utah.gov/.