WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – New Hanover County launched a Workforce Housing Gap Rental Assistance Program Tuesday to address the disparities between income and rent for middle-income workers.
The pilot program has been established in response to concern about housing affordability raised by the NHC Board of Commissioners and will be funded through the American Rescue Plan.
“Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over half of renters in New Hanover County were housing cost burdened, meaning they were spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, including utilities, insurance, and taxes,” said Rachel LaCoe, the county’s senior long range planner and the program’s coordinator. “And that number has only increased over the past year and a half. Most affordable housing programs focus on serving households making 60 percent or lower of the Area Median Income, leaving middle-income workers with increased housing insecurity. New Hanover County Commissioners have made housing affordability a priority and this program is specifically designed to help the county’s workforce with rental costs, and alleviate some of the increased housing insecurity that has been caused by the pandemic. It is intended to help close the gap, and help residents better afford adequate rental housing.”
People from eligible, moderate-income households earning 60 to 120 percent of the Area Median Income may apply for the one-year subsidy of $200 per month for single-person households, or $300 monthly for multiple-person households.
Eligibility criteria include the need for the applicant to reside in New Hanover County and to have experienced a financial hardship or reduction in household income due to the pandemic. Total monthly rent must not exceed established limits based on bedroom size.
The funding for the pilot program is limited to a total of $300,000 per year, so if demand for the program exceeds available funding, households will be randomly selected through a process that gives weight to priority applications.
Priority will be given to households with children and those improving their living situation (including moving from overcrowded or unsafe conditions, substandard housing, or a non-permanent residence)
Applications can also be submitted by calling (910) 798-7442.
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