Wyoming Rental Assistance Program has Approved 1.5% of Applications in First Month
According to a press release by the Wyoming Department of Family Services, 39 applications and $124K in assistance have so far been approved for payment through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), out of 2,600 applicants requesting over $5.4 million in rent and utility assistance.
The federally funded program officially launched on April 29 in Wyoming with $180 million available to eligible renters struggling to make rent, internet, and utility payments.
The program is being administered by the Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) and the Department of Workforce Services (DWS).
According to the press release, the ERAP application review and payment process is taking longer than the initial estimated four weeks.
Korin Schmidt, director of the DFS, said:
"We understand that many are in desperate need of this financial assistance and apologize for the delay. We've begun moving applications to payment and are adding case management resources to meet demand."
Schmidt said around 23,000 households in the state might qualify for the program and that many of those households might not have access to a computer, which prompted them to create local in-person application assistance in all counties.
Rachel Girt, ERAP communications contractor, said the reason for the low number of approved applications is because it is a newer program and has to adhere to federal guidelines and avoid fraud.
David Rias, who works for the ERAP call center, said he is not aware of any applications that have been denied so far.
Rias said that during the application process, if there is an issue, tenants have two days to correct it or they have to start the process from the beginning.
For Natrona county, the in-person application for the program is done through the Community Action Partnership, which to date has helped 70 people with filling out applications for the ERAP.