TEMPE, Ariz. - People struggling to keep a roof over their heads in Tempe during the COVID-19 pandemic now have access to a pot of two million dollars.
The city rolled out a new program on Tuesday, Nov. 24 to help those impacted by the pandemic by covering rent and mortgage expenses. The money came from federal grants aimed at helping struggling workers who’ve lost income because of the pandemic.
Those who live or work in the city of Tempe can apply.
The city of Tempe expects the emergency funds they’ve made available for rent and mortgage payments will benefit about 200 families.
A struggling mother of two, who wanted to remain anonymous, was one of the first applicants. She said, "I have been off of work for a little bit less than two weeks, so that’s a big chunk of pay that I didn’t have."
She’s had to care for her eight-year-old who is sick with COVID-19.
"Nobody wants to be in the hospital making sure that their children are OK, but at least I know we’re still going to have a roof and our bills and everything paid," the mother said.
Levon Lamy with the Tempe Housing Services talks about the impact the funding will have.
"That’s a horrible choice to have to make. Do I not go to work or do I not pay my rent? So as long as we’re able to show that whatever the financial impact is has a direct relation to COVID-19, we are able to check that box and move forward."
There is an income cap at $43,600 a year for a single person or $62,250 a year for a family of four. The program is designed to provide assistance for the next several months.
"We will qualify you for that $10,000 or six month period. We set it up. The payments will be recurring on a monthly basis," Lamy said.
Payments will be directly made to a landlord or bank that services the mortgage. Applications will be processed in the order received.
The timing worked out for the Tempe mom of two who coincidentally reached out for help the day the program began.
"I was like, seriously, God has answered my call," she said.
If you live or work in Tempe and would like to apply for rent or mortgage assistance, you’re urged to do so right away. You can apply here, or call the city of Tempe for more information at 480-350-8950.