Although many Americans were struggling financially before the COVID-19 outbreak, the pandemic plunged a lot of people into an even more dire situation. When the outbreak first erupted, millions of jobs were shed within weeks as non-essential businesses were forced to shutter. Workers who became unemployed and didn’t have any savings to dip into immediately fell behind on expenses, including rent and utility payments.
At the time, many utility providers were willing to work with customers experiencing hardships. And a federal ban on evictions was put into effect to prevent landlords from kicking tenants out of their homes due to not being able to pay rent.
At this point, though, utility providers may not be as accommodating, and the federal ban on evictions has long expired. That’s the bad news.
The good news, though, is that many states are still getting stimulus checks under the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which means they’re able to open up rent relief funds to more residents. Georgia is one of those states. It recently received $989 million in federal stimulus checks to help struggling tenants catch up on missed rent and stay in their homes.
More Stimulus Checks Are On The Way
Georgia recently launched a new program that could help tenants get current on past-due rent and utility bills. And that $989 million in federal funding couldn’t have come at a better time.
In Savannah alone, nearly 60% of tenants are rent-burdened and could use a financial lifeline. And so anyone in Georgia who’s still struggling with housing and utility costs should look at submitting an application for aid.
If approved, applicants can receive money to cover up to 18 months of rent as well as utility bills. Those stimulus checks are then paid directly to the landlords and utility providers who are owed that money.