Why doesn’t Rowan have an emergency rental assistance program?

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, December 13, 2022

KANNAPOLIS — Cabarrus County Government has reopened applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program for a limited time, after closing the portal temporarily in September to process pending applications.

The funds for the rental relief program all originated from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s ERA1 and ERA2 programs, which were enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Jonathan Weaver, director of communications and outreach for Cabarrus County.

But what about Rowan County? Is there a rental assistance program as well?

During the pandemic, North Carolina enacted the Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions Program (HOPE) to provide “rent and utility assistance to low-income renters that are experiencing financial hardship due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

This is the program that renters in Rowan County could use if they needed emergency rental assistance, but the program stopped taking applications in December 2021. There has been no word if the program will reopen in the future.

There are a few other ways those who are struggling with paying rent can get the assistance they need in Rowan County. Organizations such as Rowan Helping Ministries, The Salvation Army, Rowan County Crisis Intervention Program and Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency can provide assistance.

Cabarrus County was one of 12 North Carolina counties that additionally received direct federal funding for rent and utility assistance programs. Other counties who received additional funds are Buncombe, Cumberland, Durham, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Johnston, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Union and Wake.

Since March 2020, Cabarrus County has submitted over $8.5 million in vendor payments on behalf of residents for overdue and future rent, as well as utilities that are not covered within rent: electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash removal and energy costs. The county also allocated $3.5 million to Cooperative Christian Ministry to administer a similar program that follows the same purpose.