Local News

Struggling to pay rent? State has $800 million to distribute, offering families HOPE

Posted July 20, 2021 6:00 a.m. EDT
Updated July 20, 2021 6:54 p.m. EDT

Pandemic-related evictions continue to be a hot issue, but there’s help for some renters and landlords. Many aren’t aware the HOPE (Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions) program is an option. It provides help for those with bills piling up or past due.

"Being not able to pay your bills, it’s like a stomach ache," said Selina Lunsford of Wayne County.

She’s receiving help; HOPE makes federal money available to eligible residents. So far in North Carolina, 70,000 people have been helped, and the state has $800 million to spend.

WRAL’s 5 On Your Side is teaming up with the
Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program
to raise awareness of and extend the time in which you can find out about the federal aid available to help with bills.

Call 888-927-5467
any weekday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

HOPE funds can cover rent, past-due rent and some utilities for residents in 88 counties across the state.

HOPE helped Lunsford and her family stay afloat when she lost clients because of the pandemic.

"Due to no work, I could not pay my rent," she said. "I was on the verge of being evicted."

To quality for HOPE help with bills and rent:

  • Live in one of the eligible counties
  • Rent your home
  • Have missed a payment or faced eviction
  • Been impacted financially by the pandemic, whether you lost a job or your pay was cut.
  • This map shows you which counties qualify.

The HOPE program makes direct payments to landlords and some utilities.

There are limits on how much is paid per month, but the help can last up to 12 months.

"Some elderly people need to hear this. Some single-family homes need to hear this, multiple family homes need to hear this," said a grateful Lunsford.

Hear that the HOPE program might help pay some bills, allowing you to stay in your home.

HOPE program representatives are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 888-927-5467. Residents can also apply online.

What if you rent somewhere else?

Here are links to resources in other counties:

Durham County residents can find help through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Wake County residents can find help through the House Wake! COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program

Johnston County residents can find help through the county Department of Social Services

Cumberland County residents can contact Rent Assist IQ.

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