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Douglas County, Omaha to dole out millions in COVID rent assistance

Renters will apply through nonprofits working to get more money to more people
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 10:48 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Millions of dollars rental assistance will soon be available in Douglas County and Omaha, but the process is going to look quite a bit different than last year.

This time around, renters will be applying for assistance through local non-profits in hopes of getting more money into the hands of more people.

“It should be ready fairly immediately for both January and February, we can catch back rent that way,” Douglas County Commissioner James Cavanaugh said.

Douglas County commissioners voted Tuesday to send $2 million in leftover CARES Act funds to renters in need; working to have applications open within the next week, but this time around renters won’t be applying directly through the county.

“The mechanism this time is a private non-for-profit MAACH, which in the community providing rent and mortgage assistance already,” said Cavanaugh.

Meanwhile, the City of Omaha is gearing up to hand out new federal COVID relief funds. “We just received $22.2 million and that is to help those struggling with COVID-related costs, including rent and utility assistance,” Mayor Jean Stothert said.

Like the county, the city is also tapping some experience to help move the money.

“We will be working with a non-profit here in Omaha to establish the application process and the distribution of the funds,” said Mayor Stothert, noting they are aiming to have all the details worked out and applications open by the start of next month. “We want to make it a pretty easy readily available process and get that money out as soon as we can.”

Renters in Omaha will be able to apply for assistance through either program, that is until the county receives its share of the new 2021 federal relief funds. Once they start distributing those rental assistance funds, people living in Omaha will have to apply for the city’s assistance.

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