Clark County plans to help up to 15,000 households struggling with housing payments due to the coronavirus pandemic, using $50 million in federal relief dollars earmarked by commissioners or provided by the state .
As expected, the county commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a deal with the Nevada Housing Division for $20 million in CARES Act funds for the county’s housing assistance program, adding to the 30 million dollars that the county had already set aside.
But there’s also reason to believe the pool of funding for such aid could grow: Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick said the county lobbied the state’s interim finance committee to get more money.
“We’re always looking for extra dollars and we’ve tried to do that,” deputy county manager Kevin Schiller said.
For now, the county is moving forward with $50 million in its CARES Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) in hopes of keeping more people in their homes as a statewide eviction moratorium — extended in late August — expires in a month. A recent federal order, however, could extend the freeze until the end of the year for residents who commit to it.
If the statewide moratorium had been lifted on September 1, some 250,000 county residents were at risk of eviction, according to research and advocacy groups.
The county, which Schiller said was “initially overwhelmed” with inquiries when its program went live in July, has so far processed about 1,700 applications for funding of about $4 million. . That’s about the same amount of federal money the city of Las Vegas used to help between 1,000 and 1,500 households this summer before funding ran out.
About 3,000 more applications are still being processed, Schiller added, meaning about $11.5 million in program funding will soon be spent.
Based on those numbers, Schiller said he expects the county could help between 14,000 and 15,000 households with $50 million in funding.
The commission also recently prohibited discrimination against renters based on their source of income, strengthening protections for people who participate in the county’s housing assistance program.
The assistance program is administered by 14 nonprofit organizations and provides direct payments to rental, utility and mortgage companies for eligible households. To be eligible, applicants must be county residents, have a household income no more than 120% of the area’s median income, and must not be in receipt of federal housing vouchers.
The county will resume accepting applications for the program in about two weeks after its first cycle closes, a county spokesperson said.
Visit HelpHopeHome.org for more information about the program, including eligibility criteria and how to apply.