His agency has also doled out nearly $2.7 million from several other funding sources to 1,135 households, including homeowners — for help with mortgages and property taxes — and renters.
There are restrictions on the $11.4 million, recipients must be able to demonstrate their inability to pay their rent is due to COVID-19. Eligible renters must make below 80% of the area median income, which equates to earnings of around $45,000 for a family of two.
Diver said the first round of funding must be spent by next September, but the county would have until 2025 to use the second allocation.
“I would encourage the county to access those resources to help additional renters and their landlords,” Diver said. “There are a number of landlords that own a small number of properties that are also struggling because their tenants are struggling. So it’s helping both the tenant and the landlord to maintain their properties.”
The pandemic is not over, with new cases of the virus and its variants continuing to surface, there is still a need. SELF contracts with the county to manage the program but it is under the auspice of the county’s development department.
Development Director David Fehr said the county would not have to take the entire $9 million and the U.S. Treasury has started to “claw back” funds from communities that aren’t spending them.
His department is managing some other COVID-related programs and has had to do it without Desmond Maaytah, who left in the summer. The commissioners approved hiring Community Development Administrator Susan Ellerhorst — at an annual salary of $67,496 — to replace Maaytah on Monday. She starts Dec. 6.
The county received $1.78 million in Community Development Block Grant funds — separate from the usual CDBG federal allocations — that must be used to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Fehr received 25 applications totaling $6.8 million and will be making recommendations to the commissioners soon. They also expect to receive $3 million in coronavirus HOME Investment Partnerships Program funding but haven’t started the application process, according to Fehr.