MESA, Ariz. - One East Valley city is providing millions of dollars in relief for residents who have faced financial hardship during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In Mesa, officials are rolling out an emergency rental and utility assistance program to help residents pay their overdue bills. City officials say they have seen such a need that they are encouraging all city residents who have been hit hard by the pandemic to apply.
"We have continued to see that people might still be out of work, or have high medical expenses," said City of Mesa Community Services Director Ruth Giese.
The city received $15.7 million from the Treasury Department for this initiative, and residents who can demonstrate that they have been financially impacted by COVI-19 in some way - whether by job loss or by mounting medical expenses - and can also show they are behind on their rent or utilities are eligible.
"Depending on the applicant, if they have been out of work for several months and they are found eligible, we may be able to cover all of those months of back rent," said Giese.
2021's assistance program comes after the city provided more than $6 million in rental assistance to nearly 2,000 households in 2020. For the 2021 program, there is no minimum or maximum amount of help a resident can receive, and the city will have a team that reviews the applications to determine what is best for each resident.
"We have seen a greater need, said Giese. "Luckily, we were able to get additional funding to provide the services."
The program is only open to Mesa residents.
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