GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Applications are now open for Gwinnett County's emergency rental assistance program for residents who need help paying their rent and utility bills.
It's called Project Reset 2.0 and will be an expansion of the county's original assistance plan.
Gwinnett County says it will use more than $28.1 million in stimulus funds from the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program to make payments directly to landlords and utility providers, to cover past due balances for renters.
"The past year has been a difficult one for everyone, but especially for those with the added stress of wondering whether they’ll be able to stay in their home or pay their utility bills," said Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson. "I truly hope anyone who has been struggling with past-due rent and utility payments will look into Project RESET 2.0."
The county worked with local nonprofits, to develop the original Project Reset last fall.
It used CARES Act funding to make past-due rent payments directly to landlords.
Officials say the goal was to prevent evictions and keep tenants stably housed.
"The success we had with Project RESET 1.0 is a testament to what is possible when our County leaders and nonprofits work together to strategize and develop comprehensive solutions," HomeFirst Gwinnett Director Matt Elder said. "Despite being in the midst of a pandemic, we were able to come together and prevent more than 3,000 people from facing eviction. We’re looking to build on that success and go even further with Project RESET 2.0."
As of April 23, officials say the program had used $6 million to intervene in more than 1,300 potential evictions.
Organizations involved with that first program say its success is a testament to what is possible when county leaders and non-profits work together.
The original version of the program offered up to six months of assistance, whereas this newly-announced expansion will offer 15 months of total assistance.
That help may include rental and/or utility arrears, up to 12 months, and future rental or utility assistance if needed.
"We hope that with the Project RESET 2.0 program, we will help those who are facing housing instability, as well as those who may have fallen behind on their utility payments," said District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque. "Utilities are used to take care of important everyday needs in our households, such as washing hands, washing clothes, cooking dinner for our families or even charging devices that keep us connected while we stay socially distanced."
There are several qualifications needed to receive assistance. Applicants must be a renter in Gwinnett County, have a household income at or below 80-percent of the area median income, have either qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19, and demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability due to past-due rent or utilities.
For tenants and landlords who are interested in the Project Reset 2.0 program go to GCGA.us/RentalAssistance or call 770-822-7501.
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