CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More emergency rental relief is on the way for the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The RAMP program will begin accepting applications on March 1.
Since February of last year, the program has helped over 19,000 households.
DreamKey Partners told WCNC Charlotte the RAMP program has another round of funding to help people impacted by the pandemic pay rent and utilities.
It also launched a new website rampcharmeck.com for the application process.
“We did that to make sure that Mecklenburg County residents felt included and knew that they could also apply for funds," Erin Barbee, chief strategy officer for DreamKey Partners, said. "If someone happens to go to the RAMP site it still redirects them to the right site so there is no confusion."
The program is getting more money to help those impacted by COVID-19: $21.4 million for Mecklenburg County and $2 million for the City of Charlotte. DreamKey Partners oversee its operations.
“We’re working with applicants to be able to draw that tie directly or indirectly to COVID-19," Barbee said. "Beyond that, it's providing the right documentation, we do need to be able to prove income and be able to get everyone's information in the household.”
Barbee said the portal is open on a rotating cycle from the 1st to the 15th every month and that is when people can apply.
“We're able to cover rent, utilities, and hotels," Barbee said. "Now the arrears that can be paid can go back to March of 2020. You can receive up to 12 months of assistance going backward and three months going forward.”
There is are several factors to consider for eligibility.
“We have two priority levels," Barbee said. "The first are applicants who are at 80% of area median income -- or for a household of four, that's about $67,000. Those who have been served an eviction notification, and they have a court date, within the next 90 days. The second are those who are 30% of area median income and below."
She added there's been an increase in the number of people experiencing evictions and they remain a priority.
“If you do have an eviction court date, please go to it, because we can help you there as well," Barbee said.
Leondra Garrett is a community advocate and works in vulnerable neighborhoods across Charlotte. She said she is ready to connect folks with emergency rental assistance once the ramp portal opens Tuesday.
“People are losing their homes and the houseless population is growing every day," Garrett said.
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She has seen many people lose their jobs and income because of COVID-19.
“It’s getting that back money paid and really being able to mediate with whoever owns that property for them to be able to stay there," Garrett said.
Garrett said she would like to see more outreach done so more people have access to the relief available.
“We have to remember that not everybody has access to a computer to be able to fill out these applications, not everybody has access to a phone," Garrett said.
When the RAMP program closed in December, Barbee said they did see an increase in applications approved. At that time they had about 3,800 applications on the pipeline and about 60% of those were approved so far.
Barbee is encouraging people to work with some of their community partners or to down to the community resource center if they need help with the application. She added it's important to have all of the right documents in order to be approved.