LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Monday that Nebraska has $200 million in emergency rental assistance available to help keep renters in their homes and landlords in the black.
The money can go to help pay back rent for people affected by the coronavirus pandemic, said Shannon Harner, executive director for the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, which is administering the assistance.
It also can pay utility bills that are the responsibility of tenants, including electricity, gas, water, sewer and garbage service.
She said the state has $158 million to distribute, with the rest being handled by officials in Douglas and Lancaster Counties and the cities of Omaha and Lincoln. The money comes from federal pandemic relief dollars.
People making up to 80% of the local median income, who can show that they lost income because of the pandemic, are eligible for the help, Harner said.
Either renters or landlords can apply for the assistance. If approved, the money will be paid directly to the landlord or utility company on the renter’s behalf.
People can get help paying for rent as far back as April, up to a maximum of $20,000, Harner said.
The application requires a copy of the current lease and contact with the landlord to verify a renter’s current tenancy and back-due rent totals, along with documents showing the loss of income.
People in Douglas and Lancaster Counties need to apply through the local programs, Harner said. More information about the programs is expected to be put out in early March. If the local programs run out of money, the state will fill in the gaps.
Outside the two counties, people can apply online by going to coronavirus.nebraska.gov or by calling 833-500-8810. The call center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and, this weekend, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.