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Help is Available for Johnston County Residents Fiscally Impacted by COVID-19 - Emergency Rental Assistance Program

For Immediate Release:  September 7, 2021

Contact Number for this program is 844-243-7081

Starting today applicants and landlords can submit applications, qualify for assistance and receive funds online.

Smithfield, NC – Residents of Johnston County who have fallen behind on rent or utility payments because of economic factors caused by COVID-19 are urged to apply for financial relief through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). More than $12 million remains available to eligible Johnston County tenants through ERAP, which launched earlier this year as part of federal economic recovery legislation.

To apply for ERAP assistance in Johnston County, tenants and landlords should submit an application online at Staff are available to begin processing applications received online shortly after submission. Assistance is also available by calling 844-243-7081, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.

Landlords are encouraged to work with their tenants to secure this assistance, and landlords can apply for ERAP assistance on behalf of eligible Johnston County households and receive payments directly upon approval of the application to cover the household’s past-due rent. Regardless of who applies, if the tenant is eligible, then both the tenant and the landlord benefit.

The amount of a household’s monthly rent or utility bills does not exclude anyone from applying, and tenants can receive assistance even if their landlord does not participate in the application process.

"Johnston County is committed to providing federal COVID-19 relief funding as quickly and efficiently as possible to our residents," said County Manager Rick Hester."The ERAP program will provide critical financial support to Johnstonians behind on rent or utility payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Households may be eligible for 12 or more months of assistance to cover past-due rental and utility payments accrued on or after March 13, 2020 on a residential rental property. Households may also be eligible for help with future rental payments, and ERAP can also assist with rehousing costs for people who are experiencing homelessness or have unstable housing.

As of Friday, September 3 Johnston County has distributed $1,679,574.58 in Emergency Rental Assistance. Finance has processed over 630 applications and denied 61 applications. 

To qualify for assistance, a household must be responsible to pay rent on a residential property and meet each of the following criteria. 

  • One or more people within the household must have qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic; AND 
  • One or more individuals in the household can show a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; AND
  • The household has an income at or below 80 percent of area median income, which varies by county. 

Applicants should be prepared to provide the following information: head of household’s personal information, income information for all household members 18 and older, rental lease and amount owed, landlord’s name and contact information. If applying for utility assistance, applicants must provide utility expenses and utility provider information.

Individuals that need mortgage assistance must complete a paper application with the Department of Social Services. Funds for mortgage assistance are available through a Community Development Block Grant, but are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The Department of Social Services is located at 714 N. Street, Smithfield, N.C. 27577. Email for more information. 

For more information about ERAP in Johnston County please visit  


Johnston County Public Information Office

P.O. Box 1049
Smithfield, N.C. 27577
Phone: (919) 938-4700