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Hamilton Co. has distributed roughly $27 million in rental assistance during pandemic

for rent sign
Reed Saxon

Nearly $27 million in emergency rent and utility assistance has been granted to residents of Hamilton County during the pandemic.

More than 6,700 people have been granted assistance. There's roughly $10 million left to give out. Those funds could run out by May 1 with the current rate they're going out.

At least $5 million is being requested to further aid residents as inflation impacts the community, as well as rising utility costs.

Currently, the funds are focused on applicants who have disconnected utilities shut-off notices. The funds help pay up to a year of late payments and six months going forward. Hamilton County Job and Family Services Director Michael Patton proposed limiting the funds to just six months of late payments.

"There's some folks that we know of that have had claims up to this point where they've received multiple opportunities to take advantage of the benefit, and I think that if the need is there, that's absolutely appropriate but we want to make sure that we are targeting those that are most in need going forward," Patton said.

The backlog of ERA funds is being trimmed down. By late last year, there were more than 2,700 applications in the backlog. Now, that number is down to less than 500. Patton says nearly 40 applications are coming in daily. He says Jobs and Family Services is looking to use the month of April to look at the possible volume of applications that could come in due to future economic impacts.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.