Rent assistance coming to Douglas County residents hit by COVID-19

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 19:16:31-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Douglas County Board passed a plan Tuesday that allows county residents hit by COVID-19 help paying rent.

They ultimately decided to put in 10 million of their $166 million in CARES Act money to those needing rent assistance.

Those that enter the program will get four months rent, or $4,000 towards rent, whichever comes first.

The online portal will open up July 27th.

The board will then vote to allow the money, a little over a week later. So by early August, residents can begin receiving the rent assistance.

To qualify:

-You must be a county resident

-US citizen

-Make at or below the area median income ($60.9k for a single resident)

-Job affected by the pandemic

-Unable to pay rent due to pandemic

-Listed on rental/lease agreement

A few weeks ago the county plan included a qualification that you could not receive assistance if you received the extra $600 in unemployment benefits.

The board voted against that on Tuesday.

The board also considered allowing non-citizens to get rent assistance. They decided against it because they believe the CARES Act does not cover it.

"What I’m being told is that congress is saying we’re not going to revisit it, we’ve already addressed it. That is the message we were sent, it does not go to undocumented residents,” says Patrick Bloomingdale, Chief Administrative Officer, Douglas County.

The board agreed to later re-evaluate the rent assistance program, possibly adding more money into the program in the coming weeks.

The meeting lasted four and a half hours, with frequent arguing among board members. The meeting ended when the board needed to leave the legislative chamber to make way for the Omaha City Council.

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