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August 2, 2021

MaineHousing expands emergency rent assistance as eviction freeze ends

After a federal moratorium on housing evictions ended Saturday, the Maine Housing Authority on Monday expanded eligibility and benefits for Emergency Rental Assistance payments.

The ERA program launched in March to assist Mainers who have had difficulty paying rent as a result of the pandemic. Since then, MaineHousing has helped 9,286 Maine households with $46.2 million in emergency assistance.

On Monday, two small but significant changes to the program took effect. MaineHousing revised eligibility requirements for households from having financial difficulty “because of the pandemic” to “during the pandemic,” and increased the length of potential assistance from 15 months to 18 months.

“These program changes mean more Maine people could get the help they need for a longer period of time. We’ve heard from tenants and landlords alike that this program is truly making a difference to help keep people housed,” said Daniel Brennan, director of MaineHousing.

“ERA is helping take care of rent and utility bills that have weighed on people for months. We hope this assistance gives them some stability, which is so desperately needed right now.”

The program changes are a result of both the American Rescue Plan Act, which provided additional funding for emergency rental assistance, and the U.S. Treasury Department’s updated guidelines for the program.

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