MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Rutherford County residents impacted by the pandemic will soon have an opportunity to apply for assistance for rent and utility bills.
The county will begin accepting applications for the 2021 Rutherford County COVID-19 Rental Relief Program on Mar. 8. It is open to Rutherford County residents who have lost a job, had their hours cut, or experienced additional medical bills due to the pandemic. County officials said both landlords and tenants can apply.
"We want to prevent homelessness, and we want to keep as many people as possible from being evicted," said Ashley McDonald, Public Information Officer for Rutherford County.
To qualify, your household monthly gross income must be at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) depending on the number of members in your household. An individual must make $46,100 a year or less, and the household income for a family of four must be $65,850 a year or less.
From March 8-22, 2021, priority will be given to applicants with renter households at or below 50 percent AMI, or those who have been unemployed for the previous 90 days. During this period, individual applicants can make up to $28,850, and a family of four must have a household income of $41,150 or less. After March 22, applicants will be reviewed on a first come, first serve basis.
La Vergne resident Christopher Warren said he plans to apply. Over the last year, he battled and beat COVID-19, lost his job, and has struggled to find a new one. Like many across Rutherford County, he said the pandemic has taken a toll on his finances.
"It's been kind of rough for me trying to get back on my feet and everything, and trying to stay above water," said Warren. "From the research I’ve done on the program, it seems like it can get me back on track where I can have peace of mind."
The program is funded through the U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
If approved, an applicant could receive money to cover up to 12 months of past rent, and three months future rent. Funding can also be provided for up to 12 months of past utility payments.
Online applications and more information can be accessed by visiting: rutherfordcountytn.gov/rental-relief-program. The county has also activated a call center to support this function. The number is 615-334-4777. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.