CHARLESTON, W.VA (WVDN) — The state’s program to help renters pay for housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic is winding down after paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in rent and utility payments. The application portal will remain available for a limited time to first-time applicants seeking help with rent and utility payments.
As of August 9, 2022, renters that have already received funding will no longer be able to reapply. The change is necessary because of the program’s success. Although the program is winding down, applications that were submitted before August 9 will still be reviewed for eligibility and processed, and new first-time applications will be considered in accordance with Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program and U.S. Treasury guidelines.
“The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program has distributed more than $139 million to satisfy over 45,000 claims in emergency federal aid to help tens of thousands of West Virginians stay in their homes and connected to utilities,” said Erica Boggess, executive director of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund. “Millions of Americans were deeply affected by the pandemic, experiencing unemployment, reduced wages, and increased costs. Congress responded by making emergency funding available to address a host of issues, including housing, so that even in dark economic times people could maintain housing stability.”
The Mountaineer Rental Assistance program was funded through federal COVID relief funding to provide emergency rental assistance to help renters cover rental costs due to COVID-19 related hardships. The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program launched in March 2021 to provide eligible West Virginia renters with funds to help with rent and utility payments.
Funding was also made available to help with security deposits, utility connections, and recovery program fees. Renters facing eviction and other housing stability issues now have access to free legal services through a unique partnership with Legal Aid of West Virginia in the Legal Help for West Virginia Renters program.
The West Virginia Housing Development Fund will continue working with Legal Aid of West Virginia and other nonprofit community partners around the state to address homelessness, prevent evictions, and create affordable housing.
“The mission of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund is to increase the supply of and access to affordable housing for all of West Virginia,” Boggess said. “That has been our focus long before the pandemic hit and will remain our focus going forward. We will continue working with other agencies and developers across the state to ensure all West Virginians have access to safe, affordable homes.”
It is vital that renters who have applied for assistance review their applications to ensure all requested documents are submitted and to reply to any communications from their caseworkers. Failure to do so will result in the application being rejected. Landlords must be registered in the system to be paid for a tenant’s application. Landlords and tenants can go to www.wvrentalassistance.com to review eligibility and document requirements. For assistance, call 1-866-623-6284 or visit https://help.wvmrap.com to login and view or track your application.