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Rent relief on the way for Tennesseans

Those needing help will need a valid ID, a lease agreement, something showing how far behind they are on their bills, and proof of their current income.

TENNESSEE, USA — The Tennessee Housing Development Agency is working to implement rent relief passed in 2020. The application opens on Monday, March 1.

Those needing help will need a valid ID, a lease agreement, something showing how far behind they are on their bills, and proof of their current income to fill out the application.

"This is going to be an enormous relief to literally tens of thousands of Tennesseans," Tennessee Housing Development Agency Executive Director Ralph Perrey said.

Perrey said the state of Tennessee was allotted almost $400 million which should be able to help about 30,000 families.

"You can just imagine the anxiety and stress in a household when they can't pay their rent, can't keep the lights on, maybe facing eviction if something isn't done about this," Perrey said.

Perrey said this money should help. People are eligible if they have been struggling to pay rent, utilities or other home energy costs because of lost wages caused by the pandemic. Your income must be less than 80 percent of the area's median income. A household of four must make less than about $4,800 a month. A single person must make less than about $3,400 a month.

"These folks would be working and paying but for a highly unusual set of circumstances that's cost them their ability to make a living, so this catches them up and helps them get back on their feet," Perrey said.

Once a tenant has applied, the money will go straight to the landlords. They could receive the money as early as three weeks. Because it is relief money allocated by the federal government, recipients will not have to pay it back.

"Once we have both landlords and tenants in the system, they can each log in later and see what the progress is on their application, where their checks have gone, when their accounts are settled," Perrey said.

The online application portal opens Monday, March 1. You can also apply over the phone at (844) 500-1133.

This story was originally reported by WRCB.