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The Clay County Auditor’s office, in collaboration with Community Care Link, developed the assistance program to distribute nearly $3.6 million in federal funds for current and past due rent and utility bills.

CLAY COUNTY — Tenants in Clay County impacted by the pandemic and struggling to pay rent and utilities now have a lifeline from Clay County in the form of an Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

The Clay County Auditor’s office, in collaboration with Community Care Link, developed the program to distribute nearly $3.6 million in federal assistance for current and past due rent and utility bills. The county has partnered with local nonprofits, including United Way and Kearney Enrichment Council, to manage and allocate the funds.

Those eligible include households with an income at or below 80% of the area median income, that can demonstrate need via proof of past due utilities or eviction notice, and that have individuals who qualified for unemployment.

Clay County Auditor Victor Hurlbert said the effort is an important part of the ongoing process of providing relief to citizens.

“We have worked hard together as a county to stand up this $3.6 million program from scratch in a little over a month’s time,” said Hurlbert at a commission business session March 11.

Eligible tenants are those who live in the county, but outside Kansas City city limits as Kansas City received its own share of federal assistance and has its own program.

To apply for assistance, fill out an interest form available at {a href=”http://claycountymo.gov/transparency/erap” target=”_blank”}claycountymo.gov/transparency/erap. Sign-up can also be accessed under the Transparency tab on the county website. Those without internet access can call the United Way at 211 or {a href=”http://474-5111” target=”_blank”}474-5111.

Once a resident signs up, Hurlbert said an email will be sent to the resident and a case manager from one of the nonprofits will work with the resident to get the required documentation for needs. Eligible applicants approved for funding will see assistance payments for rent and possibility utilities issued directly to landlords and/or utility companies. Eligible applicants may receive up to 12 months of assistance.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com, 903-6001 or @myCTAmanda1 on Twitter.

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