State creating rental aid program for impacts from pandemic
PHOENIX – Arizona will launch a new federally funded program to provide rental assistance to people in need of housing help due to unemployment and certain other circumstances caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Doug Ducey announced Feb. 9.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program “will keep families and those in need in their homes and help them get back on their feet as we overcome the effects of the pandemic," Ducey said in a statement.
The state program will be run by the Department of Economic Security and provide help in 12 of the state's 15 counties. The three other counties – Maricopa, Pima and Yuma – are receiving federal funding directly, and plan their own rental assistance programs, Ducey's statement said.
DES will direct renters living in those three counties to the local jurisdictions, the statement said.
The assistance will provide direct payments for rent, rental arrears, utilities, utility arrears, and other expenses related to housing stability, the statement said.
Applications can be submitted online at des.az.gov/ERAP starting Feb. 23, the statement said.
The $25 billion federal program awarded $492 million to Arizona, with $292 million going to the state and the rest to large cities and counties, the statement said.
In another development, the state on Tuesday reported 4,381 additional known COVID-19 cases and 231 additional deaths, increasing the state's pandemic totals to 787,268 cases and 14,286 deaths.
The virus' fall and winter surge in Arizona has slowed since January and the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients continued to drop, with 2,755 occupying inpatient beds as of Monday. That's down from the pandemic peak of 5,082 on Jan. 11, according to the state's coronavirus dashboard.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases dropped from 6,944.7 on Jan. 25 to 2,963.1 on Monday, while the seven-day rolling average of daily deaths dropped from 139.1 to 133 during the same period, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.
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