DETROIT (FOX 2) - Some Detroit residents are able to get help paying their rent and utility bills.
A $50 million eviction defense and rental and utility assistance was approved last week after $96 million was appropriated for the city as part of a COVID-19 relief bill that Congress passed in December. The remainder of the funds is expected soon, officials said.
Residents do not need to be facing eviction in order to qualify for up to 12 months of assistance. Those eligible include renters with a court order summons, complaint, or judgment against them, renters who are behind on rent or utilities and have a past due notice, and landlords with tenants behind on rent.
How much money you qualify for will be based on your income.
Detroiters are eligible for the program if they meet any of the below criteria:
- A member of the household has qualified for unemployment.
- A member of the household has had at least a 10% reduction in income.
- A member of the household has incurred significant costs of more than $500.
- The household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability evidenced by a past due notice for utilities or rent.
- Household income is below 80% area median income -- $44,000 or less as an individual or $62,000 for a family of four
Additionally, tenants earning up to 50% of the area median income can get an additional $500 to help pay utility bills.
The program requires that in order for the landlord to receive the entire past-due amount they are owed, the property must be free from imminent threats to health and safety. Examples include holes in the roof, lack of hot water or heat, sewage backups, vermin, or black mold. Up to 50% of the amount approved for payment of past-due rent may be released to the landlord if funds are needed for the repair.
"Landlords have been significantly impacted by missing rent revenue while they still have mortgages to pay, so I have some sympathy for them," said Mayor Duggan. "But if the health or safety of their tenants is at risk, making repairs has to be their first priority."