Governor underscores final application deadline for pandemic rental assistance program

Gov. Jim Justice noted today that the deadline to apply for help from the Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program is rapidly approaching.

“The rental assistance program, once again I am telling you that tomorrow at 11:59 p.m., the rental assistance program deadline for making application will be over,” Justice said during a briefing.

That’s the hour on Friday when the Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program application portal will close.

Eligible first-time applications submitted before that will be processed and approved as funding allows, according to the West Virginia Housing Development Fund, which administers the program.

The program was established to help renters struggling to pay housing costs because of covid-19. The rental assistance program has distributed more than $139 million and processed more than 45,000 claims, according to the state.

The program has been supported through federal covid relief funding and provided emergency help to renters affected by the pandemic. The program launched in the spring of 2021 to provide eligible West Virginians with rent and utility payments.

Eligible expenses have included past due and current rent starting April 1, 2020, which was about the start of the pandemic, and up to three months forward rent, a maximum of 18 months’ assistance.

Eligible expenses also included past due and current water, sewer, gas, electric and home energy costs such as propane, for a maximum of 18 months.

And the program has provided support through a one-time $300 stipend for internet expenses for distance learning, telework, telemedicine or to obtain government assistance.

The program also paid relocation expenses such as security deposits, application fees, utility deposit/connection fees. And it helped with eviction court costs and recovery housing program fees.

“The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program has helped tens of thousands of West Virginians during this unprecedented health emergency,” stated Erica Boggess, executive director of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund.

“Millions of Americans were deeply affected by the pandemic, experiencing unemployment, reduced wages, and increased costs. Congress responded by making emergency funding available to address several issues, including housing so that people could maintain housing stability even in dark economic times.”

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