Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Qualifying for help with rent just got easier

Dona Ana County Release

Doña Ana County completed Emergency Rental Assistance Program, ERAP disbursements of $10.3 million to 2,005 households today, helping about 50 households a week with an average $7,210. And more funds are available to help residents who are struggling to pay for rent or utilities.

“We want to reach the hundreds of people who may think they do not qualify. Eligibility requirements were updated recently, enabling us to help more people in need,” said Asma Dawood, director of Doña Ana County’s Finance Department.

The number of months that can now be covered with ERAP funds increased to 18 months for both rent and utilities. Help may include past-due payments as well as advance payments.

“A potential misconception could be that people must be citizens, hold a US Government-issued identification or have a Social Security Number, but these are not requirements for help eligibility,” Dawood said. “We also do not share application information with any other agency of the government. This is a closed process to help people avoid eviction or having their utilities shut down because of lack of payment. Our whole intent is to help the people who are most vulnerable financially through these difficult times.”

Along with being financially impacted by the pandemic, eligible households’ income must be 80% of the area median income, AMI or less. More than 60% of the households that received assistance are under 30% AMI. “Based on eviction filings and past-due utility bills, we know there are people who have not yet approached us for help,” said Rudy Reyes, grant administrator at Doña Ana County.

Reyes and ERAP staff are working with non-profit organizations to help identify people who need and qualify for help. They will also staff informational tables at the following events and locations, to ensure residents are familiar with the program, eligibility requirements and how to get help:

Date and Time – Location
Saturday, June 11 – 9 am to noon
Free Zumba Community Event
Plaza de Las Cruces, 100 N. Main St.

Sunday, June 12 – 7 am to 2 pm
Big Daddy Flea Market
5580 Batann Memorial in Las Cruces

Sunday, July 10 – 10 am to 4 pm
Mesilla Farmers and Crafts Market
2280 Calle Principal in Mesilla

Learn more at donaanacounty.org/ERAP. Some county community centers have staff available to help with applications. Alternatively, staff will meet residents in a convenient public location to help with the application. Schedule an appointment by calling (575)-525-5898.

For more information about Doña Ana County, please visit www.donaanacounty.org.

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