If COVID has put you back on rent or utilities in Shelby County, help is available

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Memphians who need help paying their rent or utilities may be in luck. For those who got behind on bill payments amid the pandemic, Shelby County Community Services (SCCS) is lending a helping hand.

The agency said that qualified applicants would have to prove that they have been impacted by COVID. For example, if you lost your job, can show lost wages, or proof of contracting the virus, these are all qualifiers to receive assistance. Memphians would also have to fall within a certain income bracket depending on household size.

“Every single day we are cutting checks,” said SCCS Program Manager Karen Gause. “Applicants must be a Shelby County resident, and you must be a renter in Shelby County; the applicant must be able to show proof that they are behind on their rent.”

So far, the agency said it has helped over 15-thousand local families keep a roof over their head.

“Housing is a hot topic, and we really want to put our best effort in keeping residents housed,” said Gause.

Some residents FOX13 reporter Lakiya Scott spoke with gave the thumbs up for the assistance program. Many said it’s being offered at an opportune time for folks who may feel down on their luck.

“People getting evicted because COVID impacted them and when they took away the no eviction thing, a lot of people were in danger of getting evicted,” said Carolyn Spann, a Memphis resident who said she believes the program is very beneficial for area residents in need.

Another resident said the program and its benefits hit close to home.

“There’s a lot of people that I know that need it and this comes in at a good time because now they can get caught up,” said Donald Kelley.

The funds for the rental assistance program were provided through the American Rescue Plan. The agency started with $130 million. They told FOX13 that they’ve given out almost $60 million thus far. The monthly deadly to apply is the 14th of each month. For more information or to apply click here.