Gwinnett County expands emergency rental assistance program, accepting applications

Nicole

 

The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners(BOC) announced Tuesday(April 27) that the county is now accepting applications for Project RESET 2.0, an expansion of its emergency rental assistance program.

The county will use more than $28.1 million in stimulus funds from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program to make payments directly to landlords and utility providers for renters’ past-due balances.

Gwinnett County BOC Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson said she wants residents to know that the county is here to help.

“The past year has been a difficult one for everyone, but especially for those with the added stress of wondering whether they’ll be able to stay in their home or pay their utility bills,” said Chairwoman Hendrickson. “I truly hope anyone who has been struggling with past-due rent and utility payments will look into Project RESET 2.0.”

The original Project RESET program — developed last fall by Chief Magistrate Kristina Hammer Blum, District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque and HomeFirst Gwinnett’s Matt Elder — used CARES Act funding to make past-due rent payments directly to landlords in order to prevent imminent evictions and keep tenants stably housed. As of April 23, the program used $6 million to intervene in more than 1,300 potential evictions.

HomeFirst Gwinnett Director Matt Elder thanked the county for its collaboration on the original Project RESET program, as well as its expansion.

“The success we had with Project RESET 1.0 is a testament to what is possible when our County leaders and nonprofits work together to strategize and develop comprehensive solutions,” Elder said. “Despite being in the midst of a pandemic, we were able to come together and prevent more than 3,000 people from facing eviction. We’re looking to build on that success and go even further with Project RESET 2.0.”

Project RESET 2.0 will allow applicants to seek financial support for past-due utility payment assistance as well as past-due rent.

“We hope that with the Project RESET 2.0 program, we will help those who are facing housing instability, as well as those who may have fallen behind on their utility payments,” said Commissioner Fosque. “Utilities are used to take care of important everyday needs in our households, such as washing hands, washing clothes, cooking dinner for our families or even charging devices that keep us connected while we stay socially distanced.”

The original version of the program offered up to 6 months of assistance, whereas Project RESET 2.0 offers up to 15 months of total assistance, which may include rental and/or utility arrears (up to 12 months) and future rental and/or utility assistance if needed.

To receive assistance, applicants must be a renter in Gwinnett County; have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income; have either qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced

a financial hardship due to COVID-19; and demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability through having an eviction notice, past due rent notice or past-due utility bill.

Tenants and landlords interested in participating in this program can access the Project RESET 2.0 application portal and program resources at GCGA.us/RentalAssistance. Interested parties can also contact the Project Reset 2.0 Call Center at 770-822-7501.

 

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