The Northern Marianas Housing Corp. has reopened a program that will help ease homelessness by extending aid to homeowners for rent, rental arrears, utility allowance, and security deposits for up to a year.
Addressing potential homelessness for households that were severely impacted by COVID-19, NMHC has reopened the distribution of pre-applications of the Hearth-Emergency Solutions Grant-COVID program, through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which will provide homeowners financial assistance for 12 months.
According to NMHC, they are reopening the pre-application process, and applicants can pick up an HESG pre-application form at NMHC Saipan Central Office in Garapan and its field offices on Rota and Tinian from last Oct. 28; distribution of pre-application forms will end on Nov. 30.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the CNMI a total of $1.09 million last July 19 in HESG-COVID funds that will help a household in rental assistance, rental arrears, utility allowance, and security and utility deposits.
About 25% of the grant has been set aside for the elderly and disabled population
The applications will be on a “first-come, first-serve” basis.
“The purpose of the HESG-COVID program is to assist individuals and families quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” said NMHC in a statement.
In order to be eligible for the grant, households must be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic (e.g. furloughed, reduction of hours, living in substandard conditions that pose an increased risk of exposure to the disease, etc.), must be a U.S. citizen or qualified alien, must meet the income limits (less than 50% of the area median income), and must be literally homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless and have no other housing options.
Individuals who are interested in applying can pick up a pre-application at the NMHC offices on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota or print an application available on the NMHC website, www.nmhcgov.net.
Once the pre-application is completed and submitted to the NMHC, caseworkers will assess the pre-application and determine whether the applicant is eligible for the program. If the applicant is eligible, the caseworker will schedule an appointment and notify the applicant of the date and time. If an applicant is ineligible, a notification will still be sent to the applicant. For eligible applicants, the caseworker will inform them of the next steps. (Justine Nauta)