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Keep your home for Christmas

by MADISON HARDY
Staff Writer | December 8, 2020 1:00 AM

Idaho renters affected by COVID-19 have until Friday to apply for short term aid through the Housing Preservation Program, after which the funding will dry up.

Funded through the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association program provides rent and utility assistance to Idahoans in need. Since June, the Housing Preservation Program has helped more than 13,000 people and 4,300 households, the IHFA communications coordinator Benjamin Cushman said.

“People who might have been out of work briefly or struggled for any COVID related reason, this program has helped them stay in their home,” Cushman said.

Bankrolled with $15 million in CARES Act grants, time is running out to use the funding before it’s expiration on December 31. As of October, the five panhandle counties received 8% of the program’s budget, equivalent to over $888,967 in distributed aid.

To ensure the IHFA can process incoming applications in time, Cushman said renters who owe-part due rent or utilities because of COVID-19 must appeal to the program before 5 p.m. on December 11.

To be eligible, applicants must earn less than 80% of the Area Median of Income, be Idaho residents, and have at least one household member be legally eligible U.S. resident. In Kootenai County, the AMI varies from one person renters reporting under $39,050 in annual income to a five-person household with $60,250.

People who are already receiving a federal housing subsidy are not eligible for the program, an IHFA news release said.

Info: www.idahohousing.com/covid-19 or 1-855-452-0801. For more resources for Idahoans in a housing crisis, people can go to www.idahohousing.com/homeless-resources/.