March 16, 2023 Letter to Tenants and Landlords of Rockingham County
Rockingham County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“RC ERAP”) is accepting applications for assistance, though several program modifications are being implemented as Federal funding is running out for the Program. These changes are listed below in bold and also detailed in the link below regarding Program alterations approved by the Board of Commissioners on March 16, 2023. If you are a Rockingham County tenant in need of rental assistance, you will need to first set up an online account, which can be done by clicking on the “First Time Tenant User/Applicant” link below. Landlords who have Rockingham County tenants that are in need of rental assistance can initiate the application process, but will have to first set up an account by clicking on the “First Time Landlord User/Applicant”.
The source of funding for the RC ERAP comes from two different Federal laws: (1) ERA1 funds from the Continuing Appropriations Act, passed on December 27, 2020 and (2) ERA2 funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, passed on March 11, 2021. A primary difference between the two sources of funds is that under ERA1 funds, a tenant applicant’s negative financial impact must have been due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under ERA2 funding parameters, a tenant applicant’s negative financial impact only needs to have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic (after March 13, 2020). ERA1 funding ended September 30, 2022, and ERA2 funding is quickly running out.
Quick overview of the Rockingham County Emergency Rental Assistance Program:
- Eligibility guidelines are set by the Federal Government:
- One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- One or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability (a notice of past due rent or utilities qualifies as sufficient documentation of this item).
- The household has a household income at or below 80% of area median income (per HUD guidelines; this will be cross-referenced during the application process).
- Amounts disbursed to landlords can be for rental arrears going back to March 13, 2020. For applications submitted after March 16, 2023, total months of rental assistance (rental arrears + prospective rental assistance) is capped at two months and a maximum assistance amount of $1,000 per month.
- Prospective rental assistance is limited to three months at a time/per application for applications submitted by March 16, 2023. Prospective rental assistance paid after March 16, 2023 is restricted to two months and a maximum assistance amount of $1,000 per month. For applications submitted after March 16, 2023, total months of rental assistance (rental arrears + prospective rental assistance) is capped at two months and a maximum assistance amount of $1,000 per month.
- The maximum total months of assistance between ERA1 and ERA2 funds cannot exceed 18 months. This also includes any months of prior assistance provided by Southern New Hampshire Services (SNHS) as part of the State’s emergency rental assistance program. All rental assistance provided after September 30, 2022 comes from ERA2 funds.
- Applicants can qualify for utility assistance even if they do not need rental assistance, as long as the conditions set under #1 can be met. Due to decreased Federal funding, Utility and Internet assistance will no longer be available for applications submitted after March 16, 2023.
- Assistance payments will go directly to the landlords and utility providers.
- Assistance payments will be processed in weekly check runs, with prioritization of assistance given to households with incomes less than 50% of the Area Median income and/or have one or more members that have been unemployed 90 days or more prior to the application date.
While the goal is for the majority of applicants to complete the application directly online, Rockingham County has reached out to the welfare officers in each of its 37 communities to provide assistance in implementing its rental assistance program. Some of these individuals will be able to directly assist tenant applicants by applying online on their behalf, while others will serve an informational role. The Rockingham County Finance Office will coordinate timely payment of fully completed assistance applications for qualifying tenants.
If you have any questions about the program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jo Walsh, Case Manager, 603-679-9415. We look forward to providing this much-needed assistance to Rockingham County residents.
The RC ERAP is funded by federal award numbers ERA0294 (ERA1 funds) and ERAE0161 (ERA2 funds), awarded to Rockingham County, New Hampshire by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.