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Idaho renters might get $175M relief

| February 26, 2021 1:00 AM

Idaho renters struggling to pay their rent during the pandemic will very likely be able to take a $175 million breath of relief.

The funding — technically $175,746,400 — was unanimously approved by the Idaho Senate Thursday after the House passed the emergency funding by a 59-8 vote. The emergency measure, House Bill 176, now goes to Gov. Brad Little’s desk, where he is expected to sign the package.

The $175 million represents the first chunk of Idaho’s share of the $900 billion federal stimulus relief package signed into law by former President Donald Trump in late December. The federal funding, once signed into law, will go to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association for distribution.

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association offers forbearance programs, short-term loans to help renters and eviction relief resources. Idaho already funds a little over $4 million each year to rental assistance, but the economic impact of COVID-19 has threatened the housing security of millions of Americans in per capita levels not seen since the Great Depression.

The funds, not to exceed $10,000 per application, would go toward unpaid rent for eligible applicants, as well as past due utility bills and home energy costs. Checks would go directly to rental property owners or property managers.