HUD funds to help Clayton residents with rent, utilities

Clayton County has received $5.6 million to help residents with rent, mortgage, utility bills. (Melissa Golden/The New York Times)
Clayton County has received $5.6 million to help residents with rent, mortgage, utility bills. (Melissa Golden/The New York Times)

Credit: NYT

Credit: NYT

Clayton County residents struggling to pay their rent, mortgage or utility bills because of COVID-19 will get some help soon.

The south metro Atlanta community has received $5.6 million in federal housing assistance to help those who could lose their homes because of the pandemic. The funds will pay three months of rent or mortgage and a one-time utility subsidy for residents who can prove hardship because of the coronavirus, such as the loss of a job or reduced hours.

Clayton leaders said they project at least 2,000 families could receive aid, which is being provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“The Clayton County Board of Commissioners have been very diligent in approving all HUD documentation in order to receive the funds from the federal government and they did in record time,” Clayton Community Development Director Patrick Ejike said in an email.

The news comes as leaders of Clayton County have worried that many residents could become homeless without financial help. The county has been particularly hard hit by the virus because of its disproportionate percentage of frontline workers. Unemployment hit 9.5% in November, the highest rate in metro Atlanta.

The County Commission announced it was dedicating $1 million it had received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act for housing assistance. Clayton County Schools also directed its social work staff last month to connect struggling families with groups offering financial assistance.

The $5.6 million will come from three HUD programs — Community Development Block Program, Emergency Solutions Grant and Home Investment Partnership, Ejike said.

Clayton is receiving the assistance as part of HUD’s “entitlement program,” a federal fund that focuses on increasing affordable housing and strengthening economic development in low- to moderate-income cities and counties. Clayton has been an entitlement community since 1998 and has received about $48 million in assistance.

The funds, coupled with money from the CARES Act, will help bring a lot of relief to residents as the pandemic rages on, Ejike said

“Although not enough funding given the severity of loss of income due COVID, the funding will have a great impact,” he said. “It will assist in preventing some Clayton County residents from becoming homeless.”

In Other News