A sign advertises apartments for rent in North Portland. LC- Elliot Njus/The Oregonian

A sign advertises apartments for rent in North Portland.

Two federal funds are available to help Walla Walla area renters and homeowners through Blue Mountain Action Council.

Congress has authorized $5 billion via Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act grants to help states, counties and cities mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Walla Walla County and the city of Walla Walla, that funding can provide mortgage assistance for low-income homeowners for up to three consecutive months.

The funding is specifically focused on helping people having financial hardship related to Covid19, noted BMAC officials.

As well, the Treasury Rent Assistance Program through Washington state can help pay up to 12 months of the household’s rent and/or utility bills going back to March, 2020. Qualifying residents of Walla Walla, Columbia and Garfield counties can apply for assistance.

The funds are intended to prevent evictions if that action could contribute to the spread of the virus, and for renters at risk of being homeless or in unstable housing.

Walla Walla County households earning less than 80% of the area’s median income — about $40,950 for single-person household and $58,500 for a four-person household — could receive assistance with rent, utilities and mortgages.

BMAC has other programs to assist eligible households with financial hardships related to COVID-19, including energy assistance and employment placement.

“We are working hard to get assistance into the hands of our community, especially those who have experienced a greater financial burden because of COVID-19,” said Elizabeth Guerra, community services director.

“Our hope is that this assistance will bring our neighbors back to a more stable place where they can stay in their homes and out of homelessness.”

For more information call 509-529-4980. Services are provided in English and Spanish.

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