LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Late last year, Congress passed a relief package that did a number of things, including $600 checks for many Americans and boosted unemployment benefits.
It also gave money to states and local governments to provide rent and utility assistance.
It included $200 million to the state of Nebraska alone.
With the help of the $200 million from the feds, the state and the two biggest cities and counties will be launching rental and utility assistance programs.
The state will have 158 million dollars to spend, while Douglas and Lancaster County, along with Omaha and Lincoln, will split the rest of the $42 million.
The city of Omaha will receive around $22 million, with Lincoln getting about $13.5 million. Douglas County will get around $5 million, with Lancaster receiving around $1.4 million.
“That was calculated at the federal government level, at the treasury, who got what funds and how,” said Shannon Harner, executive director of NIFA.
Shannon Harner leads the Nebraska Investment Financial Authority, which will administer the state program. That money will not be available to those in Douglas and Lancaster county.
“The reason we can’t, through the state, assist with other jurisdictions at this time, is there is a prohibition regarding double-dipping,” said Harner.
So for those in Sarpy County, or any of the other smaller 90 counties, the program will be for renters and landlords financially impacted by COVID.
When you apply, you must show your lease agreement, provide contact information for your landlord and give documentation on how you’ve lost income due to the pandemic.
Any renter must be at 80 percent of the county median household income to get the money.
In Sarpy County, the median household income is just over $82,000 a year.
If the $42 million dries up quickly from the two largest cities and counties, the state will then allow Douglas and Lancaster County residents to apply through the state.
“At that point the state can consider taking excess funds and helping to support those, but until that time,” said Harner.
A spokesperson with the city of Omaha says the city-wide program will launch in a few weeks, pending city council approval.
Douglas County has had a rent assistance program in place since the summer of 2020. They will work to start back up with a new program soon.
To view Gov. Ricketts' full press conference: Federal government providing pandemic rent relief in Nebraska