New Hanover County launches program to help close the gap between income and rent, applications due September 20

Posted September 7, 2021 at 12:13 pm     Category: News ReleasePlanning and Land Use

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County launched its Workforce Housing Gap Rental Assistance Program today, September 7, and applications will be accepted through Monday, September 20, 2021. The pilot program, established through American Rescue Plan funds, is in response to the Board of Commissioners’ priority to address housing affordability and is intended to help close the gap between income and rent for residents.

An outline of eligibility and how to apply is included below and can be viewed at

New Hanover County will utilize $300,000 per year for this program to assist eligible moderate-income households earning 60 to 120 percent of the Area Median Income, providing subsidies of $200 per month for single-person households and $300 for multiple-person households, for a one-year term.

“Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over half of renters in New Hanover County were housing cost burdened, meaning they were spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, including utilities, insurance, and taxes,” said Rachel LaCoe, the county’s senior long range planner and the program’s coordinator. “And that number has only increased over the past year and a half. Most affordable housing programs focus on serving households making 60 percent or lower of the Area Median Income, leaving middle-income workers with increased housing insecurity. New Hanover County Commissioners have made housing affordability a priority and this program is specifically designed to help the county’s workforce with rental costs, and alleviate some of the increased housing insecurity that has been caused by the pandemic. It is intended to help close the gap, and help residents better afford adequate rental housing.”


To be eligible for the Workforce Housing Gap Rental Assistance Pilot Program, the person must be a New Hanover County resident, their rent must be current at the time of application and remain current, they must have experienced a financial hardship or reduction in household income due to the pandemic, total monthly rent must not exceed established limits based on bedroom size, and household income must be between 60 and 120 percent of the Area Median Income as defined by HUD for the program year. For additional eligibility details, click here.

Households that have previously received relief funds through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program are not eligible for this program. Assistance with other housing expenses including repairs, taxes, utilities, and other costs are not eligible for this program.

Application Process

Applications can be submitted online or over the phone, and must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, September 20, 2021.

  • Click here to apply online. Applicants must have an email address to complete the application. Once submitted, an account will be created and an email will be sent containing information needed to upload required documentation.
  • If residents do not have access to internet or do not have an email address, they can apply by calling 910-798-7442.

Applications will be reviewed for program eligibility and if demand for the program exceeds funding, households will be randomly selected through a process that gives weight to priority applications. Priority will be given to households with children and those improving their living situation (including moving from overcrowded or unsafe conditions, substandard housing, or a nonpermanent residence).

Applicants selected for the program will be required to submit additional verification documentation and New Hanover County will then enter into a contract directly with the landlord, as payments will be made directly to the landlord or property management company.

Eligible applicants not selected will be placed on a wait list for up to 120 days, and will be notified if funding becomes available.

The Workforce Housing Gap Rental Assistance Pilot Program is separate from the county’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program that has been underway since March. It is one of several programs the county is launching through American Rescue Plan funding to directly help residents and strengthen the community. You can view a list of the county’s current relief programs at


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Communications and Outreach: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 195 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7461 • Fax 910-798-7277
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