Smith County teams with PATH to distribute $7 million in rental assistance

Community

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County will work with the nonprofit People Attempting to Help to distribute $7 million in federal funds for rental assistance to help people who suffered losses because of COVID-19.

The money is from the U.S. Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

“Smith County is excited to provide rental assistance to anyone financially affected by COVID-19, especially those facing eviction,” Smith County Commissioner JoAnn Hampton said in a statement released by the county. “We are also excited to partner with PATH to help us administer this program.”

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said PATH has the administration in place to process applications.

“That’s why we have strong partnerships with organizations like PATH,” he said, adding that Smith County will audit the transactions to keep track of how the money is being spent.”

PATH will receive 5% of the funds to help administer the program, the county said.

The money will help prevent homelessness for hundreds who lost their jobs and face financial hardship due to COVID-19, Andrea Wilson, executive director of PATH, said.

“We are grateful that Judge Moran and the Commissioners Court trust PATH and our successful track record with emergency assistance to provide the support our community needs during this ongoing pandemic,” Wilson said. “In the past 12 months, we have seen a desperate need for financial resources among Tyler and Smith County residents. This critical funding will be a blessing to so many.”

Smith County and PATH anticipate that the first payments could be made as soon as 45 days. Wilson said the funds will be available to tenants for rental and utility assistance, as well as to landlords.

Qualifying applications must meet annual income limits, must have been impacted by COVID-19 and have housing instability. Applicants will be required to provide necessary documentation to PATH for eligibility.

According to guidelines, found at https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/emergency-rental-assistance-program, an “eligible household” is defined as a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meets the following criteria:

·        Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;

·        Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and

·        Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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