Photo: Rental assistance in Belmont.
The Town of Belmont has launched today, Monday, July 27, an Emergency Rental Assistance Program to aid residents who rent in town and have suffered loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This initiative was authorized by the annual 2020 Town Meeting in June, which permitted the Belmont Housing Trust to use its previously allocated $250,000 CPA grant for the purpose of relieving economic distress among Belmont renters and their landlords due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic’s stay-at-home recommendations over the past few months have heightened for all of us the importance of having safe and stable housing. Right now, many local households need help making each month’s rent. The town has done the right thing to step in with this emergency rent relief initiative,” said Betsy Lipson, co-chair of the Housing Trust.
Among Belmont households, 36.5 percent are renters. Before the pandemic, one in four Belmont renters were already considered housing cost-burdened, paying over 30 percent of their incomes on rent, and that proportion has certainly grown with loss of jobs and income due to COVID-19.
The program is temporary and time-limited in nature. It offers up to three months of assistance toward rent payments to eligible households. Belmont residents who rent in town and have lost their jobs or had their incomes reduced because of the pandemic can now apply. Belmont’s property owners – many of whom are small landlords – will also benefit from this program.
Eligible households rent apartments or homes in Belmont, have reduced income because of COVID-19, and earn less than 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). Priority will be given to households at less than 60 percent AMI.
The initial program deadline for applications is August 14. Applications will be taken after that date and added to a waiting list. Information about applying can be found on the Belmont Town website at https://www.belmont-ma.gov/housing-trust/pages/covid-19-emergency-rental-assistance-information