By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
Hoke County officials planned to hold two grant clinics this week to administer a program that can help people affected by the pandemic to pay their rent and utility bills if they have fallen behind in payments.
The county is pursuing COVID-19 grant funding that would go toward helping Hoke residents pay rent to avoid eviction, and pay utility bills to avoid service disconnections. The program is known as the North Carolina Housing Opportunities Prevention of Evictions, or NC HOPE Program.
The county planned to hold two clinics this week to start taking applications from eligible people seeking some of the grant assistance. The first grant clinic was set for Tuesday, October 20 and the second one was set for Thursday, October 22 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Robert A. Wright Agricultural Building located at 645 Palmer Street in Raeford.
Each person must meet certain requirements to qualify for the assistance. Applicants must have been affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, have a household income that is 80 percent of the area median income or lower, and must be behind on their rent or utilities when they apply.
The program is a grant program, not a loan, according to program materials. The rent assistance pays rent payments on behalf of the applicant. It is available for up to six months, including back and future rent. The rent payment is paid directly to landlords that agree to participate in the program.
Utility assistance helps with essential utilities such as electricity, water and sewer/wastewater, natural gas and propane services. The utility assistance is available for up to six months of past due utility payments. It is paid directly to the utility provider.
The county posted a video about the program at the Hoke Emergency Management Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HokeEmergencyManagement.
For more information, call 211 or go online to see the application at nc211.org/hope.
The Hoke County Board of Commissioners and Emergency Management Coordinator Andrew Jacobs discussed the program at the commissioners’ meeting Monday night.
The meeting was moved to the courthouse annex building on Main Street as the commissioners’ room in the Pratt Building is currently being used for one-stop early voting.