Salt Lake City calls COVID-19 financial assistance program a big success, some housing funds still available

Dec 9, 2021, 6:09 AM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 12:40 pm
FILE: The U.S. government announced Thursday that Social Security beneficiaries will see an 8.7% in...
FILE: The U.S. government announced Thursday that Social Security beneficiaries will see an 8.7% increase in monthly payments this upcoming year. (Pexels)

SALT LAKE CITY — Officials in Salt Lake City said their financial assistance program to help families during the pandemic was a huge success. And though one program ended, another one has a lot of money left on the table.

Over $1.4 million was given to Salt Lake residents through the Raise Up SLC program. It’s a program designed to help families going through economic issues because of COVID-19.

One of the most popular aspects of the program was the Salt Laker Card. The Salt Laker Card functioned like a gift card, with up to $1,000 people could use to make purchases anywhere that accepts MasterCard.

COVID-19: A major economic blow for the Hispanic community

“Exactly around this time last year, we started seeing a lot of requests coming in just for families to pay for hospital bills or to pay for funeral expenses for their family members,” Comunidades Unidas Executive Director Mayra Cedano said.

Cedano says they knew Utah’s Hispanic community would need a lot of help when cases started to rise in 2020. And that people in the Hispanic community were more likely to get infected, and lose their jobs.

“We were getting anywhere between 130 and 150 calls a day. We had to create our own line,” she noted.

The vast majority of the funding for the cards came from federal CARES Act money, but city officials also received private donations from residents of Salt Lake County and foundations, like the Muslim Civic League. 

Current COVID-19 financial assistance programs

The cards and the funds attached to them have all been distributed. However, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said there are tens of thousands of dollars still available for people facing housing issues from the pandemic. 

Mendenhall said their Neighbor Works mortgage assistance can give people up to six months worth of mortgage payments as long as they can prove COVID-19 had a negative impact on their family.

“There is up to $5,000 cash available for mortgage assistance and another amount available for a rental.  So, if somebody is in Salt Lake City, a resident here, and they know they’re not going to be able to make that payment coming up, please don’t wait.”

There are other financial assistance programs that can help city residents who are behind on their rent payments.

She added, “Reach out to Neighbor Works if it’s a mortgage issue and reach out to Utah Community Action if it’s a rental issue.”

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Salt Lake City calls COVID-19 financial assistance program a big success, some housing funds still available