The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is looking for partners to help administer a program designed to fix certain amenities used by older and disabled adults.

The primary federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) grant was awarded to the Department of Family Services (DFS) last year to help cover rent, utility, and broadband bills in Wyoming.

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ERAP has a total fund of $200 million from the federal government which began back in April 2021, and to date has given out $18.4 million from 7,258 approved applications, and has helped cover the cost of rent for people that lost work due to COVID-19.

Mark Kelly, Housing Stability Services (HSS) program manager, said in an email that they received a $1 million grant from the Department of Family Services (DFS) that will last until Sept. 30, 2022.

The HSS funding provides a variety of services, which are limited by the grant provided by DFS, including:

  • Home modifications that increase accessibility and safety, up to $5,000.
  • Trailer/mobile home repairs on rented lots, up to $5,000.
  • Homemaking services such as chores and cleaning.
  • Skilled nursing services such as RNs, LPNs, and CNAs.
  • Non-medical transportation.
  • Information technology hardware grants up to $400.
  • Services such as cleaning and mental health counseling to address hoarding.

Kelly said:

"Home modifications and trailer/mobile home repair are included to help enable people to age in place and feel supported," Kelly said. "There are some disabled adults connected with the program who had to move because their housing no longer suited their level of need...Adding bathroom handrails, improving flooring, and adding wheelchair ramps are examples of relatively simple steps that can help Wyoming residents continue to rent their properties and avoid homelessness or premature nursing home placement."

Kelly said the WDH Aging Division has seen a large demand for services across the state but doesn't have an idea of how many people are in need of assistance due to how new the program is.

In terms of the providers they're looking for, Kelly said they would like health care providers, senior centers, and professional home care agencies that can offer assistance, and ideally want one provider per county that can cover a wide variety of services.

While they do currently have some providers, Kelly said those that are onboard have more specialized skills.

Kelly said the need for providers is high in Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, Fremont, Johnson, Sweetwater, Teton, and Uinta counties, and for some services in Laramie, Natrona, and Sheridan counties.

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