A state program designed to help residents make rent and mortgage payments has spent only a fraction of its available funds, but the program is hoping to cast a wider net by easing some of its requirements.
The Wyoming Community Development Authority was tasked earlier this summer with dispersing up to $15 million of CARES Act funding.
The Wyoming Emergency Housing Assistance Program pays a portion of a person's rent or mortgage payment, directly to their landlords or banks, aiding people financially impacted by COVID-19.
So far, the program has paid out less than half a million dollars since it launched in June.
According to Scott Hoversland, executive director of the Wyoming Community Development Authority, the program can now pay out more to recipients, and the required copay has been reduced.
"We took a look at it a month and half into it - It wasn't really at the numbers we expected and so we made some revisions and hopefully we'll continue to do that," he said.
Restrictions on an applicant's liquid assets were lifted, and household was redefined to exclude roommates and teenage children, who could have previously pushed a household's wealth into ineligibility.
Hoversland is hoping to draw in new applicants and draw back applicants that were previously rejected.
He said the program will not reimburse tenants who have already made rental payments, but it can cover missed payments as far back as April, and future payments not yet due.
"Hopefully we can do something for them now, in keeping them in their places, because we don't want anybody out on the street," Hoversland said.
Those wishing to apply for rent or mortgage assistance can do so on the Wyoming Community Development Authority's website.
If the money is not used on behalf of tenants and mortgage holders, it might be reallocated by the state to other COVID assistance programs.
The rental assistance program is scheduled to run through December.
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