Since opening last fall, the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program has awarded $593.7 million in rent and utility assistance, with more than $518 million already paid on behalf of families financially impacted by COVID-19. Of that amount, more than $472 million has already been sent directly to landlords statewide, providing a substantial economic boost to rental property owners that have also been affected by the pandemic. The U.S. Department of Treasury currently ranks the HOPE Program as #3 in the nation for number of households served, while North Carolina overall ranks #6 for the spending of federal Emergency Rental Assistance money.
“The HOPE program is helping families in need stay in their homes with the lights on,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This critical support is also helping their landlords who get the rent paid directly to them.”
A recent survey conducted by the HOPE Program showed a high approval rating among the 2,172 landlords that responded, with 84% agreeing they are satisfied with the HOPE Program and 89% agreeing they would recommend the program. “As a landlord, I am truly grateful for the HOPE Program rental assistance,” wrote one Scotland County respondent. “This program has eased a lot of financial burden off of the tenant and the landlord,” A Bladen County landlord added, “This program provided me an opportunity to catch up on back expenses and, hopefully, give the renter a chance to get their finances in order.”
To date, landlords have referred 6,846 tenants to the HOPE Program. Landlords may submit tenant names and contact information through the website or by contacting the HOPE Call Center at 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467). A program specialist will then follow up with the tenant to help start the application process.
The HOPE Program is still accepting applications for rent and utility bill assistance from renters in 88 North Carolina counties, including Wayne County. Applicants can apply online at HOPE.NC.gov or call 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467). The call center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both English- and Spanish-speaking representatives are available to assist callers.