Residents in Oklahoma City and Midwest City can apply for help paying for late rent, mortgage and utility payments.
The program administered through the Community Action Agency is funded by a $1 million federal grant and only applies to late payments related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our phone's ringing off the hook,” said Jessie Thompson, the executive director of the CAA. “We’re trying to keep somebody housed. We’re trying to let them go buy food and not have to worry about the rent.”
Applicants are required to fall into a certain income level, below the local average median income, as well as provide documentation.
To access the application, click here.
The program has been open since Monday. In that time, Thompson said CAA has received hundreds of applications and issued more than $3,000 in payments.
“We’re getting applications from all over,” she said. “So, the need is statewide, but right now we can only help (OKC and Midwest City) residents.”
Dan Straughan, the director of the Homeless Alliance in OKC, warned the city council that the homeless population could grow significantly if aid is not allocated to housing assistance. He said the program through CAA will help prevent homelessness.
“It is never easy to move federal funds fast, so a lot of credit to the city for getting that out there,” Straughan said. “It’s just way less expensive to keep someone in their current housing than it is to get them back into housing, and it’s way less traumatic for the family.”
The CAA program is funded through a Community Development Block Grant and is separate from the $114 million in CARES act funding the city is still allocating. A portion of the CARES funds could go towards housing assistance, as well as testing operations and small business grants.