Utah Residents Have $10 Million in Stimulus Aid Coming Their Way

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  • Salt Lake County is getting a $10 million sum in rental assistance funds.
  • The county is also taking steps to help residents apply for the aid they need.

It could be a much-needed windfall for some recipients.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit U.S. soil, many businesses had no choice but to shutter temporarily. That caused a massive wave of layoffs, and in 2020, many Americans experienced their share of income loss.

While some people have since recovered from the early financial blow of the pandemic, others are still in catch-up mode. At this point, many people have exhausted their savings and gone into debt just to make ends meet.

Because so many people were at risk of falling behind on their housing payments early on in the pandemic -- and ending up homeless as a result -- there were protections put into place to prevent a crisis of that nature. Those included the option for mortgage borrowers to put their home loans into forbearance, and a federal eviction ban that prohibited landlords from removing tenants on the basis of not paying rent.

Last summer, that federal eviction ban expired, subjecting many renters to dire consequences. The silver lining, though, is that the last two stimulus packages allocated a combined $45 billion in rental assistance funds to help struggling tenants catch up on their rent payments and stay in their homes.

Those funds were distributed to states individually. States were then tasked with opening up rental assistance programs and doling out funds as applications came in.

Some states and counties did a better job than others of getting that money into the hands of the people who needed it. Salt Lake County, Utah, stepped up in that regard. Now, the county is getting another lump sum of money to help tenants in need avoid eviction.

A $10 million pool of relief

The U.S. Treasury is providing Salt Lake County with an additional $10 million in aid for rental assistance purposes. So far, the county has given out at least $64 million in rental assistance funds since March 2021.

Not only is the county getting more money to distribute, but it's also forming a new program with Utah Community Action and Centro de la Familia, two organizations that work with struggling tenants to help them apply for the assistance they need.

The county's goal is to make the application process less cumbersome and more user-friendly in order to expedite the distribution of its new pool of funds. Last year, a big reason rental assistance applications in the county were denied came down to a lack of response from applicants for additional documentation or information. Salt Lake County's new initiative is aiming to overcome that barrier.

Don't wait to get aid

Residents of Salt Lake County who think they're eligible for rental assistance can actually get the ball rolling now -- and the sooner the better. Those who feel equipped to apply directly can do so by visiting the Utah Rent Relief website. Otherwise, they can contact the aforementioned organizations for assistance as follows:

Utah Community Action at (801) 359-2444

Centro de la Familia at [email protected] or (801) 707-9986

Those who can show that their finances were negatively impacted during the pandemic may be eligible for aid. To qualify, applicants also need a combined household income that's at or below 80% of Salt Lake County's median income. For a family of four, that's $73,750 or less.

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