Federal funding will help Arkansans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic pay overdue rent and utility bills.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services will begin accepting applications for the Arkansas Rent Relief Program today. The state has $173 million in federal funding for the program, which offers financial help to pay overdue and upcoming rent and utilities for eligible Arkansas renters, according to the DHS website.
Landlords who have tenants unable to pay their rent because of lost income or the COVID-19 pandemic also may apply. Once an application is approved, money would go directly to landlords and utility companies.
You may qualify for help paying your rent and utilities if:
- Someone in your home qualifies for unemployment benefits OR
- Your household income decreased during the pandemic OR
- Someone in your home suffered significant financial hardship due to the pandemic (i.e. lost a job, has extensive medical bills) AND
- You meet income eligibility based on the residing county (Area Median Income) and number of people in your home.
The program will cover:
- Overdue rent plus up to 5 percent of late fees dating back to Apr. 1, 2020.
- Overdue utility bills for gas, water, and electricity. This program does not cover overdue phone or internet bills.
- Future rent owed through Dec. 31, 2021. Renters can apply for up to three months of future rent at a time.
- Up to 15 months of rent may be covered between Apr. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2021.
When applying for assistance, renters need to submit a government-issued photo ID, proof of renting a home in Arkansas, proof of housing instability, proof of income for everyone in your home who files taxes, proof of financial loss of hardship due to COVID-19, and your landlord’s email and phone number.
To submit a request for rent relief funding, landlords need to present a copy of the lease, a government issued photo ID, and the tenant’s email and phone number.
If you have questions or need help submitting your application, you can call 855-RENT-ARK (855-736-8275). Representatives are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.