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The Doña Ana County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), funded by the U.S. Treasury Department, served its 1,000th household Dec. 10 by helping with rent or utilities payments.
ERAP staff has processed more than $5.9 million in past-due rental assistance and utilities payments, responding to more than 1,000 applicants and providing an average of $5,800 in assistance per household.
“Doña Ana County’s ERAP program has done an exceptional job supporting constituents,” County Manager Fernando Macias said. “The team was the first to launch in New Mexico and among the earliest in the nation. We received the funding from the U.S. Treasury on Jan. 26 and started accepting applications and helping residents within two weeks, on Feb. 10.”
Over the past nine months, the ERAP team has grown to eight employees dedicated to the program, including a grant manager, within the county’s Finance Department.
Besides setting up a customized portal for applications, the team rigorously aligns with the U.S. Treasury and state guidelines to meet the increased needs in the community.
“What we learn from residents’ individual needs also helps us provide feedback to the grantors and adapt the program locally, as our community’s needs shift,” said county Finance Department Director Asma Dawood.
The ERAP team has partnered with Doña Ana Magistrate Court, which is responsible for evictions. Working closely with court personnel, Dawood’s team increases awareness of ERAP and helps residents during and before eviction proceedings take place.
“We prioritize households facing evictions and alert landlords and courts, as soon as we have a completed and approved case, to help prevent evictions,” Dawood said.
The team also collaborated countywide with utility companies and nonprofits to help postpone disconnections.
For assistance and more information, call 575-525-5898 and email ERAP@donaanacounty.org.
To determine eligibility and apply, visit www.donaanacounty.org/rent-utilities-assistance.