Emergency Rent Relief on Horizon

Gov. Mark Gordon
Gov. Mark Gordon (Photo: Cowboy State Daily)

Governor Mark Gordon issued an executive order Tuesday that allows the Wyoming Department of Family Services to begin its preparations for administering the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which helps qualifying residents facing housing emergencies by providing funding for overdue rent.

The program also covers late fees and court costs if a qualified household is facing eviction.

The order allows Wyoming to prepare its distribution plan for the program while also providing the opportunity for the state to work with the Legislature on details before officially launching the program, per a Feb. 9 release from the governor’s office.

“The need for this program cannot be understated,” Gordon said in the release. “But it requires significant work to run it effectively and that’s what begins now.”

The order comes as Wyoming’s network of nonprofit and community service organizations continue to report downward trending statistics demonstrating an increased need for relief, Gordon said.

The federal government has provided the State with $200 million in funding to assist those Wyomingites struggling financially due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the release further stated.

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Wyoming 2-1-1, a statewide information hub and hotline, is reporting a 280% increase in calls for rental assistance in 2020, per the release. Additionally, many Wyoming landlords are experiencing unpaid back rent, and in some cases, utility bills left unpaid by struggling tenants.

Gordon said he’d like to see these people get some help.

“I look forward to working with legislators to launch this program,” he said.

Applications for this relief are not presently available.