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The original item was published from 8/1/2022 5:02:00 PM to 8/12/2022 3:01:44 PM.

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Office of Communications

Posted on: April 14, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Regional Partnership Provides $200 Million in Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance

  • Maricopa County, Town of Gilbert, Cities of Phoenix, Glendale, Chandler, and Mesa Collaborate 
  • Jurisdictions Meet Weekly to Share ‘Best Practices’ to Ensure All Entities Benefit from Knowledge 
  • Financial and Free Legal Assistance is Still Available for Renters Across Maricopa County

Phoenix, Ariz. (Apr. 14, 2022) – A collaborative, regional approach to sharing best practices has facilitated the issuance of $200 million in emergency rental and utility assistance to more than 28,000 households in Maricopa County since January 2021. 

"The rising cost of housing is the #1 issue for many individuals and families in our region. The fact is, rents are rising faster than wages for many folks, and coupled with other cost-of-living increases, people are finding that jobs that used to pay all the bills are coming up short," said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates. "The long-term solution is more affordable housing, and Maricopa County has invested millions of dollars as part of that effort.  But many people can't wait, and that's why this $200 million in rent and utility assistance is so significant.  I am grateful to cities and towns for partnering with us to make sure help is available regardless of where in the county a person lives." 

Working Together
 
Since the announcement of the Emergency Rental Assistance federal aid programs in January 2021, six local jurisdictions have met weekly to share best practices and approaches to standing up procedures, information technology infrastructure, and a workforce to effectively manage, vet, and process a large volume of requests. 

"Families and individuals are facing financial hardships they never expected, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Too many people are facing a situation in which just one unexpected bill could make it impossible to pay their rent," said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. "The Emergency Rental Assistance Program has been, and will continue to be, an important lifeline for thousands of people who might otherwise face eviction. I'm proud of what we've accomplished - in the City of Phoenix and as a region - to keep people in their homes." 

The ability to collaborate and share knowledge gained from implementing new federal funding streams has allowed participating jurisdictions to save time while operating effectively to ensure that funds are distributed to people with the greatest need.  In addition, the practice allowed for those searching for assistance to be quickly directed to the rental program serving that area. 

“These funds have been a lifeline for Mesa residents grappling with financial strain, rising housing costs and more, and I’m incredibly proud of how Mesa has facilitated a quick and efficient process to get these resources into the hands of those most in need,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles. “This is a great example of how collaborating on a local level can shorten the time it takes to deliver services to our residents, and I hope we’ll continue to work in this way, leveraging partnerships and sharing best practices to address housing issues in our region.” 

The regional collaborative took an innovative approach to leverage all available flexibilities in program implementation, and as a result, utilized census tract data to help qualify households for service. The successful strategies to distribute federal funding were lauded by President Biden at a recent event. The U.S. Department of Treasury also recognized the effectiveness of efforts within the region to provide aid efficiently on the national stage as a best practice. 

“Often times, crisis assistance programs are the only thing preventing a family from becoming homeless, said Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers. “I am extremely proud that my city has an incredible team that collaborates with other regional providers to implement a service delivery model to make it easy for our residents to access rent and utility assistance. If there is one take-away from the pandemic, it is that our region has a large number of households that are living on the edge of poverty, and we need to continue collaborating on strategies to improve lives for our residents.” 

Free Legal Assistance Available Countywide
 
In addition to providing funds to landlords and utility companies on behalf of renters, free legal services are available to Maricopa County renters facing eviction due to non-payment of rent. Announced in September 2021, renters can receive no-cost legal assistance to better understand their rights and also receive representation in landlord negotiations and at any of the County Justice Courts and/or the Superior Court to help prevent eviction. 

  • Walkthrough application process 
  • Reach out to people who did not finish the application 
  • Assistance from Community Legal Services for evictions 
  • Recognition from President Biden & U.S. Treasury 
  • Evaluate claims, ensure appropriate documentation 

Federal Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Distribution Totals
January 2021 – March 2022* 

Jurisdiction

Dollar Amount

Households Served

City of Chandler

$8.2 Million

1,085

City of Glendale

$16.6 Million

2,204

City of Mesa

$27.4 Million

5,554

City of Phoenix

$74.4 Million

10,171

Maricopa County

$67.0 Million

8,222

Town of Gilbert

$7.2 Million

1,044

TOTAL

$200.8 Million

28,280

*Figures estimated to include paid and pending payments through March 15, 2022 

How Renters in Need Can Apply
 
Renters interested in applying for emergency rental and utility assistance must submit a completed application in the jurisdiction where they reside, which might be different than the assigned postal service mailing address. 

Renters interested in applying for emergency rental and utility assistance must submit a completed application in the jurisdiction where they reside, which might be different than the assigned postal service mailing address. 

  1. Maricopa County Services the Following Jurisdictions: Avondale, Buckeye, Carefree, Cave Creek, Chandler, El Mirage, Fountain Hills, Gila Bend, Goodyear, Guadalupe, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Sun City, Sun City West, Sun Lakes, Surprise, Tempe, Tolleson, Youngtown, Wickenburg, and other Unincorporated Areas 
  • Town of Gilbert: AZCEND, 480-892-5331, azcend.org 

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