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Posted on: October 20, 2020

Housing and Community Development receives HOPE grant to help with rent, utilities during pandemic

OCHPC logo - house with hands

The Orange County Department of Housing and Community Development has received a $797,133 grant from the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency to provide rent and utility assistance to county residents experiencing housing distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program is funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant−Coronavirus funds and U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Relief funds, which have been provided to North Carolina. The funds are administered by the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the Department of Public Safety, and will be distributed through community partner agencies across the state.

Up to six months of assistance may be provided to allow applicants to remain in safe housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This funding will allow us to continue to provide eviction prevention services to the county and continue the work being done through the Emergency Housing Assistance program established by the Board of Commissioners,” said Emila Sutton, Orange County Housing and Community Development Director.

Sutton noted differences between how the EHA and HOPE programs operate. In order to be eligible for assistance through the HOPE Program, applicants must:

  • Live in Orange County
  • Live in a rental property (be a renter) 
  • Earn less than or equal to 80% of the area median income (see income limits below)
  • Be late in rent and/or utility payments upon the date of application
  • Have an urgent need for rent and/or utility assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Current income limits for Orange County are below:

  • 1-person household: $50,900
  • 2-person household: $58,200
  • 3-person household: $65,450
  • 4-person household: $72,700
  • 5-person household: $78,550
  • 6-person household: $84,350
  • 7-person household: $90,150
  • 8-person household: $96,000

Rent Assistance

HOPE may pay for rent arrears and future payments. HOPE cannot pay for rent if no rent is past due as of the application date. If an applicant does have past due rent, HOPE can pay for those arrears, plus future recurring rent payments up to a total of six months of assistance (counting both past months being covered and future months). HOPE cannot cover application fees, security deposits, or other housing costs.

Utility Assistance

HOPE may pay for utility arrears. HOPE cannot pay for utility payments that are not at least 30 days past due as of the application date. 

HOPE can only pay for "essential" utility payments, defined as: electricity, water, sewer/wastewater, natural gas, and/or propane delivery for home use. Internet, cable, phone, and other "non-essential" utilities cannot be covered.

How to Apply

Visit https://nc211.org/hope/ for more information and to apply. Eligible callers to 211 will be routed to the Orange County Housing and Community Development Department for application processing.

The Emergency Housing Assistance fund has helped more than 700 households in Orange County to prevent eviction and/or homelessness since the start of the pandemic. The EHA fund is a collaborative community effort supported by local nonprofit providers and funded by the Towns and the County.

For more information on how the Orange County Housing Department is helping residents impacted by the pandemic, please see the OCHCD website and the OCHCD COVID-19 September Progress Report: OCHCD COVID-19 Response - September

If you need housing assistance, please call or email the Orange County Housing Helpline: 919-245-2655, Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 4 PM and Sunday – Thursday overnights, Midnight – 6 AM. Email HousingHelp@orangecountync.gov.

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