Rent assistance now available for Durham County residents amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Jacqueline Jones is months behind on her rent, and trying hard to catch up.

"Unfortunately, I lost my job back in August, and I've been looking but just haven't found anything yet," Jones said.

The Durham Emergency Rental Assistance Program could provide help for her and others at risk of homelessness after job cuts. Durham County is offering the service to county residents.

Who is eligible to apply?

"People having a financial hardship that's related to COVID. Could be unemployment, could be medical bills, could be your kids had to come home because schools are closed and now you have to pay for internet, and you have to pay for computers," said Janeen Gordon, the county's assistant director of aging and adult services.

Jones said her out-of-state landlord's mentioned raising the rent as she falls farther behind, even as she's attempted to make payment arrangements through another assistance program.

"I had promissory notes that it would be paid through four to six months." said Jones. "They were gonna start in December, through January, February, March. Now it's May!"

Durham County's aiming for a swifter solution.

"Our goal is to turn it around in five to 10 business days. It needs to be very fast. We want to get that money out there. But a lot of it depends on when we get the minimum documentation that we require," Gordon said.

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