City to Help Low-Income Residents at Risk of Eviction Because of COVID-19 Impacts

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Two dozen Haverhill residents and families at risk for being evicted from their homes have received almost $50,000 to help them make rent and utility payments under a new program administered by the city’s Community Development Department.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said in a statement Thursday the emergency rental assistance program is designed to help people who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is paid with approximately $400,000 from a variety of sources, including the federal Cares Act, federal Community Development Block Grants and federal HOME funds to address affordable housing needs.

“From the beginning of the pandemic and crashing of the economy I have been worried about our most vulnerable residents falling behind in their rent,” Fiorentini said. “We want to avoid an eviction crisis and we are here to help. I want anyone who is at risk for being evicted, especially families, to contact us and see if they qualify for this program.”

Under the temporary program, rental assistance is provided to qualified applicants for up to 90 days, not to exceed $2,100. As much as $800 is available for utility bills.

Monthly payments will be determined on a case-by-case basis and all payments made on behalf of applicants will be paid directly to landlords. The program will continue, the mayor said, until it runs out of money or the city finds another funding source to replenish it.

For more information or to submit an application, residents may contact Rental Assistance Program Coordinator Aubrie Campbell at 978-374-2344 or visit the city website. Campbell advises applicants must demonstrate they have asked their landlords to reduce rent payments before applying for grant funds.

“In order to maximize public resources, applicants must demonstrate that they have tried to get their landlords to contribute by offering rent reductions,” she said. “We are all in this together.”

Additional program rules and conditions include:

  • Residents do NOT have to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to be eligible.
  • Residents must be at or below federal income guidelines to qualify.
  • Residents must rent an apartment or house in the city of Haverhill.
  • Residents must provide evidence of reduced income due to COVID-19.
  • Residents must have been fully paid-up on your rent as of March 1, as this program will not cover back rent payments (rent arrears).
  • Residents landlord must have a valid rental inspection with the city of Haverhill or the Haverhill Housing Authority.

The following documents are required:

  • Copy of valid, current lease, or documentation of a month-to-month
  • Tenancy arrangement signed by your landlord.
  • Evidence of reduced income due to COVID-19.
  • ID for each name on the lease.

Landlord must also agree to:

  • Waive late fees, interest and penalties for any back rent owed, between April 1 and July 30.
  • Not pursue eviction for nonpayment of rent during the months covered by the program.

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