The Georgia Rental Assistance Program and Georgia Power have partnered to help eligible households with their past-due utility bills.
The state and the power company are using federal American Rescue Plan dollars that were originally allocated to Georgia last year for emergency rental assistance. Tonya Cureton Curry, deputy commissioner for housing at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, said some of the money was used to keep more than 51,000 renters safely housed, by satisfying past-due rent bills for more than 8,000 landlords.
“So, this one-time funding was provided by the federal government,” she said, “and it was an unprecedented opportunity to really shore up the rental, utility and other housing-related expenses for Georgians and their families that were experiencing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Cureton Curry added that almost $45 million still is available, which should help about 200,000 Georgia households pay their past-due utility bills. Georgia Power is the electriciy provider for 2.7 million customers in 155 of the state’s 159 counties.
During the pandemic, Cureton Curry said, many families experienced job losses or cutbacks in work hours, as well as serious illness in some cases. For some, it has taken longer to recoup their losses.
“People are getting back to work, and all those types of things,” she said. “And so, we’re hoping that they will be able to pay their rent, and we’re hoping that they will have benefited from these funds.”
Although the Rental Assistance Program portal is no longer accepting new applications, she said they’re still processing the current pipeline of applications and distributing funds to those who are eligible.
This story was written by Danielle Smith, a producer at Public News Service, where this story first appeared.
Georgia Rental Assistance Program/Georgia Power Partnership Georgia Department of Community Affairs 2022
Electric-power data Georgia Public Service Commission 2022
Rental Assistance Program total (in photo caption) Georgia Department of Community Affairs 2022