NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Two programs that opened to help qualified individuals pay their bills in light of Covid-19 financial hardships are approaching a weekend deadline.
Both the New Hanover County Homeowner Assistance (HAP) and Broadband Assistance programs, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, will close applications July 31. Both opened last fall.
HAP provides financial assistance to struggling, qualified homeowners who can’t afford their mortgage and other bills. Funds cover delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of homeowners.
According to a status memo the county sent July 1, the program had processed 621 applications — 304 were approved, 195 were denied, 92 were withdrawn, 27 were duplicate applications and three are pending. It totaled $1,358,738 pledged or spent from the $2 million allotted.
Households making 50% or less of the median income are prioritized — as well as households that have a member unemployed over the last 90 days prior to applying.
Approved applicants receive money for:
- Homeowner’s mortgage payment
- Homeowner’s utilities (electric, gas, and water)
- Homeowner’s insurance (including flood & wind)
- Homeowner’s association fees or liens
- Homeowner’s internet service (including broadband)
- Payment assistance for delinquent property taxes
As well, the county’s Broadband Assistance Program remains open through Sunday, It provides a discount of up to $30 a month for internet service for eligible households. Service providers are either AT&T or Spectrum, chosen by the county.
To qualify, households must receive Medicaid, SNAP and Work First benefits and care for school-aged children, ages 3 to 18.
An internal memo from the beginning of July noted 697 applications were received in New Hanover, though 185 had active service or were being disconnected. Households that already have internet do not qualify for the program.
The program is overseen by the county’s IT and department of social services teams, which also conduct audits every six months to ensure applicants continue to meet requirements.
According to the memo, $162,000 of the program’s $1.3 million was committed by the first of July.
Applications close for both programs July 31; and can be accessed here for mortgage assistance and here for broadband assistance.
Households without access to the internet can also apply by calling the Homeowner Assistance Program call center at 910-798-3505 or the Broadband Assistance Program at 910-798-7407.
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