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County extends rental assistance, hits milestone


As of Oct. 15, Doña Ana County has paid out $4.6 million in rental and utilities assistance to 793 households and encumbered another $80,000, which will be paid out by mid-November for a cumulative total of $5.47 million, the county said in a news release.

The money is part of $9.3 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds allocated to provide assistance to county residents impacted by the pandemic.

An extension has been granted for the first phase of ERAP to Sept. 30, 2022, the county said.

“This extension underscores the federal government’s commitment to allow us to help as many of our residents as we can,” county Manager Fernando Macias said.

Since a moratorium for rent and utilities disconnections ended, the county is seeing an influx of residents who still need assistance, the news release said.

“We are strategic in our methods and continually evaluate opportunities to streamline the process,” said county Grants Manager for ERAP Jonathan Macias. “We realize that even if someone does not seek out the help, we still can find ways to assist by making details about the program known. For example, we collaborate with the magistrate court on pending case files. Our team maintains communication with landlords and property managers so that we might identify those residents who need assistance and work together to obtain the documents required by the U.S. Treasury.”

The county continues to look for innovative ways to make the application process as easy as possible by providing multiple ways for qualified applicants to apply, the news release said.

ERAP helps eligible applicants in a rental dwelling for up to 12 months of owed rent and utilities and three months of future rent, the county said. These funds do not have to be repaid.

Along with a simple, step-by-step process in both English and Spanish on the county website (www.donaanacounty.org/ERAP); in-person application processing at the County Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd.; and assistance at community centers throughout the county, the county has now enabled the option for tenants and landlords to text and use video conferencing for those comfortable with the technology.

Applicants may call or text to 575-525-5898 or email ERAP@donaanacounty.org with ask questions or to inquire about their application status 10 days after their application has been submitted.

Doña Ana County rental-assistance