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Window for COVID-19 rental assistance applications closes soon

Michigan renters, landlords encouraged to apply as soon as possible ahead of deadline
Housing in Marquette
Housing in Marquette(WLUC)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 3:12 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Community Action Alger Marquette is reminding residents that the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program’s application window will close this month.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) announced that it will soon have enough applications through the CERA program to encumber all funds available. Applications for CERA through the online portal will stop being accepted at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

In a Monday press release, CAAM and the MSHDA said Michiganders with past-due rent should apply immediately for potential consideration and that more applications will be received than funds available. Applications submitted before the deadline will continue to be processed until all the available funds are utilized.

Funding for the CERA program came from the federal coronavirus aid package passed in December 2020 and the American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $1.1 billion to the State of Michigan to be used directly on rental and utility assistance for individuals and families financially impacted by the pandemic.

Since the CERA program’s introduction in March 2021:

• Statewide, over 250,000 applications were received for assistance, with over 130,000 being approved.

• To-date over $750 million has been disbursed in assistance

• Over 142,000 Michiganders have been helped by this assistance, with an average of about $5,600 per household.

• In Marquette and Alger Counties, applications have been received and over $1,543,984 million disbursed.

The MSHDA said CAAM’s efforts in partnership with its own have made the CERA program accessible for thousands.

“Thanks to federal funding, we have been able to facilitate much-needed peace of mind to residents, helping them catch up on their rent and utility costs while also ensuring landlords can recoup owed rent,“ said Kelly Rose, MSHDA’s chief housing solutions officer. “Though that funding will be fully expended later this year, MSHDA and Community Action Alger Marquette remain committed to helping residents with housing needs where possible.”

Once the CERA portal closes on June 30, CAAM said Marquette and Alger County residents who have not applied and are facing eviction should reach out to their organization. Those seeking legal services can reach out to Michigan Legal Help for potentially free legal representation.

MSHDA said it is also evaluating other eviction prevention funding options like HOME-ARP and the Housing and Community Development Fund.

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