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Idaho Enterprise

Rental assistance still available in Salt Lake County

Jul 06, 2021 03:33PM ● By Bridget Raymundo

Since March 2021 12,000 county residents have received $17 million in rental assistance according to Salt Lake County. (File photo City Journals)

By Bridget Raymundo | [email protected]

Down the streets of downtown, homeless people can be found around nearly every corner. The less fortunate are not often at the forefront of thoughts, however, with the effects of the pandemic still in motion, many residents still struggle with affording basic living costs. The economy is on a slow path to recovery from the shutdowns in efforts to maintain social distancing. Many people have lost their main sources of income and numerous [small] businesses have closed. Rental assistance and stimulus checks have been issued to help. The question is whether they are improving circumstances or not.

In January Millcreek government took initiative to release awareness campaigns about financial aid. At that point, the pandemic had been reigning chaos into personal lives for nearly a full year.

Curious as to the effects of the stimulus checks issued by the US federal government? As expected, at the shadow glimpse of an approaching financial crisis and the increased unemployment rate, anyone who could afford to save, did. The rest was spent on necessities such as food, water, rent, electricity and other household bills. Entertainment and dining were mostly closed, thereby reducing needed cash flow. Handing out government funds is tricky in and of itself; claims arose stating some stimulus checks were not received, unnecessary in some cases, and a cause for further economic inflation.

The Salt Lake County Regional Development Department issued a press release on June 17 about rental assistance. It reported more than 12,000 county residents have received $17 million in rental assistance since March 2021. 

Data shows women are more likely to apply for aid than men since 60% of applicants are female. The Director of Salt Lake County Housing & Community Development, Michael Gallegos, states there are still funds available to applicants even as the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium approaches its end scheduled for June 30.

“The demand for rental assistance funds this spring has exceeded our expectations,” Gallegos said in the press release. “While we’re ahead of where we thought we would be, there are still plenty of funds available, and we encourage residents to continue to apply.”

According to the press release, race demographics from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program match or exceed County demographics, showing that rental assistance funds are getting into traditionally underserved populations. 

“We know there are geographic areas of higher need, and diverse populations that may require support to apply,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “We are addressing those needs as they’re identified by the community and data. We are also utilizing organizations in our outreach grant program to assist disproportionately impacted individuals in tapping into this critical resource to avoid eviction.”

So far, 52% of rental assistance provided in Salt Lake County were applied for by landlords on behalf of their tenants. While 62%  of all rental assistance funds in Utah are being paid out to Salt Lake County residents. 

Further data on the effects of rental assistance can be found here: slco.org/slcomunidata

To apply for rental assistance, please visit rentrelief.utah.gov/ .


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