CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – North Carolina’s emergency rental assistance program opened a second application period this week for low-income renters that are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program promotes housing stability during the ongoing pandemic by providing rent and utility bill assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections. To date, the program has awarded over $133 million in assistance to help more than 36,000 families statewide.

“As we begin to turn the corner on the pandemic, many people are still struggling with rent and utility payments,” Governor Cooper said in a written statement. “This effort will help tens of thousands of families stay in their homes with the lights on.”

The HOPE Program will serve very low-income renters in 88 North Carolina counties. Very low-income is defined as earning less than or equal to 50 percent of the area median income for the county where the renter lives. Twelve additional counties and five Native American tribal governments received direct federal allocations to operate their own emergency rent assistance programs. A complete list of the counties served by the HOPE Program, county programs, and tribal government programs can be found online using the NC HOPE Interactive Map.  

In addition to first-time applicants, people who received rent and/or utility assistance funding from the first phase of the HOPE Program are eligible to reapply for additional help. Eligible applicants may receive up to 12 months of rent assistance, which may include up to nine months of past due rent. Rent assistance provided during the first phase of the HOPE Program counts towards the 12 months of total rent assistance that an applicant can receive.

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Utility assistance is available to applicants that apply and qualify for rent assistance. Utility-only applications will not be accepted in this phase of the HOPE Program.

Complete details about the HOPE Program, including eligibility requirements, program benefits, and an online application, are available at Applicants who cannot access the website may also call (888) 9ASK-HOPE or (888) 927-5467 to speak with a program specialist. The HOPE Call Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.