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MaineHousing COVID-19 rental relief program expands Monday

Payments will go up from $500 to $1000 as part of the program, in an effort to prevent evictions.

MAINE, USA — Starting Monday, courts across Maine reopen for hearings, and that means landlords are able to begin the eviction filing process. 

At the height of the pandemic in early April, Gov. Janet Mills issued an executive order saying landlords could not evict tenants for non-payment of rent until the courts reopen.

The reopening of courts also comes the same time the extra $600 in federal unemployment benefits through the CARES Act is set to expire. 

There is assistance out there however for Mainers struggling to pay rent during these uncertain times. 

MaineHousing will double its rental assistance from $500 to $1,000 through the COVID-19 Rental Relief Program beginning Monday, August 3. The expanded assistance is supported by an initial $5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds. 

"This pandemic is lasting longer, as we all know, and people are still struggling," said Daniel Brennan, director of MaineHousing. "We're doubling it up to $1000 per month and it will be available for up to three months. It will be available to go to past due rent. And if you received the $500 dollars already, you can apply also to this program. So we think it's going to help tenants that are struggling, landlords that need their rent payments and hopefully avoid some evictions down the road."

Under the program, each household that meets a certain ability to pay requirements may receive a payment of up to $1,000 in rental assistance paid directly to the landlord for up to three months. The assistance may also be used to pay for overdue rent. In accepting the payment, the landlord agrees not to evict the tenant for nonpayment for the month the payment was issued. 

You can find out more about the program and how to apply starting today by visiting MaineHousing's website.