ARIZONA, USA — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced that $40 million would be used to combat homelessness in the state and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The announcement comes as 31% to 41% of Arizonans are not current on rent or mortgage where eviction in the next two months is likely, according to a recent report from Bloomberg.
Experts in Arizona and across the United States are predicting an eviction and homeless crisis once the federal moratorium on evictions ends.
Ducey said $40 million in grants will go to organizations that provide multiple measures to combat homelessness.
There were no measures geared towards specifically preventing evictions in the announcement, even though studies have shown increased evictions spread COVID-19 and lead to an increase in infections.
The allocation includes an approximately $16 million grant towards emergency solutions, such as sheltering and re-housing measures, and about $24 million towards a Community Development Block Grant, which provides emergency payments for rent, utilities, food, and clothing for individuals for six months.
Many residents in Arizona have been on the edge of being evicted for the past few months, only being able to stay in their residences thanks to the federal moratorium. Without any revenue coming in, numerous families and individuals haven't been able to afford groceries or utility bills, let alone rent.
Evictions have still continued even with the federal moratorium in place, as tenets across the nation have been falling through the cracks.
Landlords in multiple states, including Arizona, have also sued their state governments to end the moratorium.
The second stimulus package recently approved by Congress works to prevent evictions as it includes a continuation of jobless benefits. But the amount in the new package is only half of what was provided by the previous CARES Act in March.
For those who need assistance with housing right now, there are several resources at your disposal.
The Arizona Department of Housing is offering a COVID-19 Rental Eviction Prevention Assistance program where renters who have "have suffered a substantial loss of income resulting from COVID-19" can apply for aid.
Eligibility for the program is restricted to individuals who had "income levels at 100% of the area median income" before COVID-19 hit.
Find out if you're eligible by using this chart.
Maricopa County's COVID Crisis Rental Assistance program was created to help households receive up to three rental assistance payments for rent for any time between March and December. It is only available to Maricopa County households living outside of the cities of Phoenix and Mesa.
The city of Phoenix is offering one-time financial help to renters and homeowners who have been affected by COVID-19.
Individuals can reportedly apply for the city to help with utility bills (up to $600), Phoenix water bills (up to $300) and rent or mortgage payments (up to $3,300) through any agency listed in the Phoenix CARES Act or through Trellis. The program runs through Dec. 30.
Phoenix also offers emergency utility, rent financial assistance, and evection prevention to low-income households through the city's Human Services Department Family Services Centers. The service also has prioritized support for seniors, persons with disabilities, and families with young children.
The city of Mesa has an Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program to help individuals who fall under the 80% median for total household income in the city. More funding and applications will be available in early January 2021. If Find more information about the program here.
Turn a New Leaf's MesaCAN offers utility, rent, and mortgage assistance for families with past due or delinquent bills. You can find more information on their website or by calling their number at (480) 833-9200.