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.

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.

Tamara Bicknell-Lombardi
Tamara Bicknell-Lombardi

Tamara has worked for The Independent off and on for several years, as an integral part of this family
business. She currently does reporting, manages the ad sales team, and serves as office manager. She is
an artist, working primarily in oil paints.