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Utah rental assistance rent deferral
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Utah rental assistance program launches for those who can’t pay their rent

Rendon Terrence Apartments. Credit: Tanner Siegworth

UTAH — A new financial aid program is available for Utahns who are falling through the cracks, especially on paying rent.

Jonathan Hardy, the Housing Community Development director at the Department of Workforce Services told KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic (D2) that the Rental Assistance Program is only for those who don’t qualify for unemployment insurance.

Hardy said, “Those whose salary was cut, but not their hours, are among those who can apply for the aid.”

Workers who have taken a pay cut but still work full time, or those who work more than one job and only lost one of them because of coronavirus restriction, may not be eligible for unemployment.

Additionally, undocumented workers, who have had little relief throughout the pandemic, can qualify for help.

Hardy told D2 they have $4 million in rental aid to hand out. One million is from existing federal HOME funds, which usually go to affordable housing construction or ongoing housing vouchers.

Utah obtained a waiver from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to use the funds for short-term rental assistance instead. The other $3 million comes from the CARES Act.

Tenants who cannot pay their rent can call 2-1-1 to get information on how and where to apply. If accepted, the funds are sent directly to their landlord.

Gov. Gary Herbert signed an executive order in March prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants if they’re unable to pay rent. But that moratorium ends on May 15, 2020.

And, it only applies to those who lost their income due to coronavirus restrictions and illness. It’s not for those who were already behind on their rent payment.

Small business owners could also get rental assistance

Those establishments with less than 100 employees, independent contractors and those who are self-employed could qualify for the COVID-19 Commercial Rental Assistance Program

The Legislature set up $40 million in grants to provide relief to those small businesses which lost revenue because of coronavirus restrictions.  An eligible applicant can receive up to $10,000.