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Rental assistance program accepting applications

Photo Provided Gov. Jim Justice spoke at Friday’s pandemic briefing. The governor said the Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program created in January to help renters and landlords financially impacted by COVID-19 is accepting applications.

CHARLESTON — The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program created to help renters and landlords financially hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic is accepting applications, Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday.

The program is managed by the Housing Development Fund and provides financial assistance to renters who have lost their job, whose income was reduced or incurred other financial burdens. It was created in January.

Covered by the programs are past-due rental payments back to April 1, 2020, and three future rental payments, said Executive Director Erica Boggess of the Housing Development Fund, who participated in Justice’s Friday COVID-19 briefing.

Also covered are past-due and current utility payments for water, sewer, electric, gas and garbage fees, and a one-time stipend for internet services of $300, she said.

“In addition to helping our renters, this program also helps our landlords and utility companies, who will receive the payments directly once applications are approved,” Boggess said.

Eligibility is based on the impact of the pandemic on lost wages and employment of the applicant, who must be a renter, she said. Income and other guidelines also apply with the information available at the Housing and Development Fund website at www.wvmrap.com, she said.

Applications also are available at wvmrap.com and residents with limited internet access can call 211 for more information. Funds are limited.

The rental assistance program was announced by Justice in January.

“I’m incredibly excited for this program, because it’s going to enable us to get some much-needed financial assistance to West Virginians who may have struggled to pay their rent through no fault of their own,” Justice said.

Also on Friday, the state announced Walmart next week will participate in the Federal Pharmacy Program to provide COVID-19 vaccinations. Walmart will be fourth with Walgreens, Fruth Pharmacy and the Medicine Shoppe/Leader Network.

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