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Deadline approaching for COVID housing aid

Applications for state housing assistance program due by Dec. 7

MARSHALL — The COVID-19 pandemic has meant financial hardship for many people in southwest Minnesota, and one way it was visible was in the number of applicants for COVID-related housing assistance, said Angela Larson, family services director at United Community Action Partnership.

UCAP had received a a $1.6 million grant from the state for housing assistance earlier this year.

“It was probably about eight weeks in (to the application period) we knew we were going to go over that,” Larson said. The grant amount was increased, with up to $3.2 million available.

Residents in UCAP’s service area still have a chance to apply for COVID-19 housing assistance, but Larson said they should do so this week. The application deadline for Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program is Dec. 7.

Housing assistance is available to help renters or homeowners affected by the pandemic with expenses like rent or mortgage payments, utility payments or homeowners insurance. “It has to be a for COVID-related reason,” and the expense has to have been incurred since March 1, Larson said.

Renters or homeowners with income at or below 300% of federal poverty guidelines may be eligible for assistance. Larson said area residents should go to an online portal at housinghelpmn.org to fill out a pre-application. The portal will help direct them to agencies in their area — like UCAP — that are accepting applicants.

However, area residents are running out of time to apply for the housing assistance. Applications must be completed by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 7. Larson advised filling out an application as soon as possible because it can take time to complete the application process.

Larson said area residents with questions, or who are in need of assistance applying, can contact UCAP for help.

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