PHOENIX — Three family service centers are extending their hours of operations to expand access to Emergency Rental Assistance funds, according to a press release from the city of Phoenix.
Starting Sept. 20, residents will have an extra two hours and an additional day to apply for ERA funds, according to the city. Hours will be 7 a.m.- 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, helping increase access to appointment opportunities for residents.
ERA access expansion comes after Phoenix in July saw its highest monthly rent growth in the nation. According to rentcafe.com, the average rent for an 802-square-foot apartment in Phoenix is now $1,252, up 10% from one year ago.
The rise in rental costs, coupled with financial insecurities from the pandemic, has caused many families to fear losing their homes to eviction.
Arizona was among several states that enacted an eviction moratorium last year halting eviction proceedings. That measure expired on Oct. 31, leaving only the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's moratorium which is set to expire at the end of September.
The city said it is expediting funding and began hiring 50 additional positions in August to assist with the program.
The ERA program is available to households regardless of an individual's citizenship or immigration status and doesn't require a Social Security Number to be provided, according to the city.
Phoenix has distributed more than $35,000,000 of the $5,100,000 allocated in March of this year, to date, according to the city. It is disbursing an average of $2,000,000 per week through the program, which is up from $1,000,000 per week back in April and May. Funds from this program come from the U.S. Department of Treasury, the entity responsible for deciding who is eligible for allocated funds.
Methods for applying for ERA funds:
The city’s Human Services Department offers a phone appointment system at 602-534-AIDE (2433) or an online portal with Wildfire.
To see if you qualify click here.