Bernalillo County commissioners approved the opening of the Bernalillo County CARES Rental and Utility Assistance grant for qualified county residents, which will provide financial support for rent.

The county identified $1 million in emergency relief monies to assist residents who are experiencing hardships due to the pandemic and who are delinquent in their rents or utility payments, according to a press release from the county.

Through this program, the county is offering up to $5,000 to qualifying residential renters located within Bernalillo County, including Albuquerque.

“This literally hits people where they live. With this money, a lot of people can keep a roof over their heads and the heater on as we head into the cold months,” said Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada.

The application process begins Oct. 14 at 8 a.m. and runs through Nov. 4. Applications can be found at bernco.gov/housing.

To qualify, requirements include: the dwelling unit must be located in Bernalillo County; there must be an active rental agreement or lease in the applicant’s name; the rent must have been current as of March 13, 2020; the applicant must be able to document a loss of income as a direct result of the Covid-19 public health emergency; utilities must be in applicant’s name and utilities must be past due or at risk of being disconnected. Household income must be at or below $51,643 a year, and additional eligibility or program requirements may apply.

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In addition, those requesting rental assistance will be asked to provide documentation showing need, including a current lease or rental agreement, past due notice for lease or rental payments, an eviction notice and a ledger or letter from landlord.

In order to receive rental assistance, the landlord must also complete the landlord’s application and must supply an invoice with a past due amount, a Bernalillo County master vendor form and a W-9 form.

Those requesting utility payment assistance will be asked to provide documentation showing need, including a past due utility bill or a disconnection notice.

The grant appropriation was approved by the commission on a unanimous vote.