ROCKLAND — Maine citizens who have been affected by COVID-19 and are having trouble paying rent can apply for rent assistance of up to $1,000 per month for three months through a COVID-19 Rental Relief Program.
The assistance would be payable directly to the landlord, according to Rockland’s Community Development director Julie Hashem, during the Aug. 3 agenda-setting meeting. Income eligibility requirements apply.
At the request of Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the City of Rockland will serve as lead community administrative agents for the Maine Housing Authority program, to be the conduit and help DECD manage the $2.2 million Community Block Development Grant.
This role will be similar to the role that Rockland plays with the Home Repair Networking program, which is also offered through community action agencies statewide, according to Hashem.
Rockland provides a small amount of administrative support, and the grant compensates the City for its time.
“It’s an opportunity for us to help bring this program forward,” she said.
City Councilors voted unanimously to accept the agent position during the agenda-setting meeting.
Normally, such a vote would transpire during a regular Council meeting, according to Hashem. However, DECD requested that the vote be expedited.
“There was a smaller assistance program timing out at the end of July,” she said. “And they’re seeing such demand for rental assistance – people in need – that they didn’t want to delay even the two weeks to wait until the next meeting.”
The program is a Maine Housing program offered through Community Action agencies.
On Aug. 10, Council will also consider two more assistance programs in First Reading: Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral Program, and Basic Income Program.
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