Today, March 15, is the deadline for Charlotte residents to apply for up to three months of help with their rent, mortgage or utility bills through a program offered by the city of Charlotte.  

So far, the city has helped nearly 6,500 households pay bills under a program called RAMPCLT. Applications received by the will be eligible for a portion of $26.7 millions of federal funds that the Charlotte City Council set aside on Feb. 8.  

Miles Vaughn of the city’s Housing and Neighborhood Services said he expects still more funds to become available to the program now that President Biden’s COVID-19 bill was approved by Congress on March 11.  

“There is a dire need for as much funding as possible,” Vaughn said.  

The money to be distributed to qualified applicants who meet Monday’s deadline comes from a third round of federal funding to the city. In all, 4,968 households have received rental assistance, while 1,300 have received funds to help pay utility bills. Another 81 households have received mortgage assistance. And 149 have received both rental and utility assistance.  

To be eligible, a resident must have experienced some hardship tied to COVID-19. Examples include a lost job, lost paid hours in your job, lack of childcare or any activity that caused a financial loss due to the pandemic. Household income also cannot exceed 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). For a family of four that is about $60,000.  

The funding is also available for people living in shelters and temporary housing. These residents may be eligible for payment of their initial deposit on an apartment or their first month of rent. They must first meet with a social worker and participate in programs covering mental health, substance abuse and job training.  

Money does not go to applicants who qualify. Instead, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership directly pays the utility bills, rent, or mortgage on behalf of the recipients.   

Monday’s deadline is 5 p.m. and it is an online application process. To apply, go to RAMPCLT. Individuals who lack access to a computer could access computers at locations of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library. 

Tyler Wise of Columbia, S.C., is a student in the James L. Knight School of Communication, which provides the Queens University News Service in support of local community news. 

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Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.

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