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Az adds $2 million for rental aid program that has only helped 7% of applicants

The state will make an additional $2 million available for Arizona renters who need assistance paying their rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Doug Ducey announced Wednesday.

The new funding will primarily go to address pending applications for renters in Phoenix, said Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptak.

"This $2M will be primarily to address the over 5,500 applications in Phoenix, but a small portion may also be used to address applications in the balance of the state," Ptak said in an email.

The $2 million funding is an addition to the $5 million that the Arizona Department of Housing had available to assist renters through its COVID-19 Rental Eviction Assistance Program, which launched at the end of March.

As of Oct. 26, more than $4 million of the funds had been distributed statewide, according to an ADH report. .

That program has only helped a small percentage of thousands of renters who've applied for assistance.

According to the ADH data, only about 2,150 people March have benefited from Arizona's COVID-19 rental assistance program. That is about 7% of the 29,000 renters who have turned to the state for help paying their rent.

The program offers up to $2,000 a month for renters who meet certain income requirements and have no financial means, like savings, to pay their landlords. Renters apply through the ADH website or by phone and, depending on where the person lives, applications are administered by 11 public and private groups called Community Action Agencies.

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To apply visit, www.saveourhomeaz.gov/ra/. Renters can also call 211 and press 6 for COVID-19, select a language, and then press 3 for eviction prevention.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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