City Council authorizes $1.2 Million for residents affected by COVID-19

The Visalia City Council has voted to authorize $1.2 million dollars in federal coronavirus funds for a new program to help those who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.

A portion of the City’s allocation of Community Block Development Grant Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CDBG-CV) dollars will fund the new COVID-19 Residential Rental/Mortgage and Utility Assistance Program, thanks to a 4-0 vote at the Monday, October 5th meeting.

“With the City Council’s authorization, we will now be working on the disbursement of federal COVID-19 funding to assist those struggling here in Visalia,” shared Margie Perez, City of Visalia Housing Specialist. “Households who have both experienced financial hardship and meet income limits may receive assistance to help with rent/mortgage and/or utilities payments during this difficult time.”

The new program, entitled the COVID-19 Residential Rental/Mortgage and Utility Assistance Program, has a maximum assistance cap of $5,000 per household for up to six consecutive months.

Applicants must have experienced a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and their households must be at or below 80% Area Medium Income limits. Those who are already receiving housing assistance through a local or federal program are not eligible, as payments cannot be a duplication of benefit.

“We have partnered with two, local service providers to administer the program Self-Help Enterprises and Proteus, Inc.,” adds Perez. “Interested applicants should contact one of the two agencies directly and they’ll be walked through the application process.”

COVID-19 Residential Rental/Mortgage and/or Utility Assistance Program payments can be used to assist with current and/or past due monthly rental or mortgage payments, and/or utilities such as electric, gas, water, sewer and trash. Payments will be paid directly to the service provider and are only for the resident’s primary residence.

Those looking to apply for the COVID-19 Residential Rental/Mortgage and Utility Assistance Program can contact Self-Help Enterprises at 802-1273 or Proteus, Inc. at 627-0100.

Assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds are exhausted or until March 31, 2021, whichever comes first.

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