Program offers rent and utility assistance to Shelby County residents

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Rental and utility assistance are available to Shelby County residents.

The City and county are distributing $28.2 million in emergency funds to help thousands of households.

The Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program will help people who are behind on rent and utilities or facing eviction, according to a release from the City.

The U.S. Department of Treasury has granted a total of $28.2 million to the City of Memphis and Shelby County to administer the program.

“We have a lot of people in our community who have lost employment, or their hours have been significantly decreased due to COVID, so we do have to see there is a loss of income due to COVID,” said Karen Gause, Memphis Shelby County emergency rent & utility assistance program manager.

The program can pay up to 12 months of owed rent and utilities to those affected by Covid-19., the release said.

Anyone facing eviction can also get free legal help.

Applicants must show they’re behind on these bills, live within the county, and the household income can’t exceed 80 percent of the area median income.

For example, a household of four can make about 54,300 or less to qualify for this program.

Additionally, people facing evictions and cutoff notices will be prioritized for payments made directly to landlords or MLGW.

“The landlords have been very open to settling, and we’re paying whatever that dollar amount is that they settle on,” said Gause. “Because our goal with this program truly is to stabilize people, and the only way to do that is pay what the real balance is.”

For more information and to apply click here, or email

You can also call 211, or text HOME901 TO 21000 (or text CASA901 to 21000 for Spanish).

Partners in this program include the Shelby County Division of Community Services, City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development, Neighborhood Preservation, Inc., the University of Memphis Law School Legal Clinic, Memphis Area Legal Services, Metropolitan Interfaith Association (MIFA), United Housing, Inc., United Way of the Mid-South, Innovate Memphis, and United States Digital Response (USDR).

For additional information, click here.