Gary L Herman
ALEXANDER COUNTY (July 27, 2021) – Renters who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic now have some HOPE. The NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program is currently accepting applications for rent and utility assistance.
The HOPE program serves low-income renters in 88 North Carolina counties, including Alexander County. Low income is defined as earning less than or equal to 80 percent of the area median income for the county in which the renter lives ($48,250 for a family of four in Alexander County).
To qualify for assistance, the applicant must: rent his/her place of residence; have missed rent or utility payment(s) since April 1, 2020, or been faced with possible eviction or homelessness; have lost income or been unemployed due to the pandemic or experienced significant costs or financial hardship from the pandemic; and meet the low-income requirements.
If the applicant qualifies, the HOPE program will pay the monthly rent owed to the landlord, up to the fair market rent for a two-bedroom unit in your county ($693 per month in Alexander County). Those eligible may receive up to 12 months of rent assistance, which may include up to nine months of past-due rent.
Landlords that accept HOPE funds agree to not evict the applicant for non-payment of rent during the period of assistance and for at least 60 days after that period ends.
Utility assistance is also available to applicants that qualify for rent assistance. The program covers essential utilities with the following maximum amounts: electricity – up to $510; natural gas, propane, or heating oil – up to $135; water – up to $105; and wastewater – up to $120. Utility assistance will be paid directly to the utility provider.
If you have questions or need help applying, program representatives are available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-888-927-5467. Applications may be completed online at www.rebuild.nc.gov/hope-program.