Gap Rental Assistance program to continue under updated guidelines

Posted September 12, 2022 at 1:56 pm     Category: News ReleasePlanning and Land UsePublic Health

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – To help lower income families in the community meet rental housing needs, New Hanover County will continue to offer the Workforce Housing Gap Rental Assistance Pilot Program for a second year, with several updates.  

Applications are open now through September 30, and an outline of eligibility and how to apply can be viewed at AccessHHS.NHCgov.com.  

Under the updated guidelines, households earning between 60 to 80 percent of the Area Median Income are eligible for the program and qualified households will be directly provided a $450 reimbursement subsidy per month to compensate for rental costs. 

“This program is an important service for our residents who need assistance closing the gap between their income and rental costs,” said Senior Long Range Planner Rachel LaCoe, who manages the county’s new Workforce Housing team. “Based on updated federal guidance for the use of these funds, we will be serving a slightly lower income range this year than we did the first year. We will also be increasing the monthly amount provided to households because we know there has been an increase in rent prices over the past year. We hope this updated stipend amount will bridge that gap even more and help provide greater access to stable and affordable housing – which is a foundational element for every person to thrive.” 

Eligibility 

Those eligible for the program must be New Hanover County residents and meet the following criteria:   

  • Total household income must be between 60-80 percent of the Area Median Income as defined by HUD.
  • Rent must be current when the application is submitted and must remain current while receiving assistance.
  • Total monthly rent cannot exceed 150 percent of the Fiscal Year 2022 HUD Fair Market Rent, meaning the maximum rents allowed are $1,400 for a one-bedroom, $1,700 for a two-bedroom and $2,300 for a three-bedroom dwelling.
  • Participants who previously received emergency relief funding related to COVID-19, including the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), are not eligible.
  • Households must have experienced a self-attested COVID-related hardship.

Participants who are selected will receive assistance for one year. 

How to Apply 

Applications for the program will be accepted from September 12-30, and can be submitted online or over the phone. 

  • 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 910-798-7180. 

Applications will be reviewed and screened in October. Priority will be given to households with children, along with circumstances where additional funding will help improve a living situation, such as helping a family moving into a space that reduces overcrowding or moving into safer living conditions. Up to 90 households can be assisted through the program, based on allotted money through the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding. 

The Gap Rental Assistance Pilot Program is one of several initiatives established by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners to help address housing affordability in the community. Most recently, Commissioners approved $15 million in affordable housing funding in the annual budget over the next five years to create and maintain affordable housing stock in the community. In addition, over the years, the county has invested millions of dollars in housing efforts, including funding water and sewer infrastructure for the creation of affordable housing, assisting nonprofit programs through the county’s annual budget, creating housing programs to help residents with rent, gap financing, and mortgage assistance, and donating land and properties to Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity for the creation of affordable homes. 

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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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