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Emergency Rental Assistance Applicants Encouraged to Use Call Center if Served with Eviction Notice


December 10, 2021
For Immediate Release:

Smithfield, NC – Johnston County residents who have applied for Emergency Rental Assistance and have received an eviction notice are urged to call the Emergency Rental Assistance Program helpline at 844-243-7081. By notifying the call center, case managers are able to flag tenant accounts and help expedite the payment process to avoid eviction. The helpline is available Monday- Friday from 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.   

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is available for Johnston County residents who have fallen behind on rent or utility payments because of economic factors caused by COVID-19. Tenants and landlords can now apply for financial relief through the ERAP portal by visiting https://www.rentrelief.com/johnstoncounty/.

Johnston County has distributed over $4 million in ERAP funds since the beginning of this year as part of federal economic recovery legislation.

Landlords are encouraged to work with their tenants to secure this assistance. 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. 

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. 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.

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 dssassistance@johnstonnc.com for more information.

For more information about ERAP in Johnston County please visit https://www.rentrelief.com/johnstoncounty/.