The South Central Economic Development District wants to give $100,000 to landlords in its area negatively affected by the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

Funding is available through a Community CARES Grant from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services that includes $800,000 — $100,000 for each of the state’s eight economic development districts — for direct statewide landlord assistance.

Eligible landlords are those who have documented financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lease to low-to-moderate income tenants. Both criteria must be met in order for the landlord to participate.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 1, with funds to be allocated by Nov. 15. All funds must be spent Dec. 30.

Landlords may request CARES financial assistance for one of three purposes:

  • Up to $2,500 to recoup losses such as lost rent or utility payments due to a disruption in tenant’s or landlord’s income or an increase in expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Minor rental unit repair or rehabilitation capped at $10,000 to complete items such as replacement of roof, furnace or water heater.
  • Combination of the first two purposes capped at $10,000 — for example, $2,500 in direct financial assistance and replacement of furnace for $7,500, totaling $10,000.

Regardless, landlords are only eligible for up to $10,000 in the form of a straight grant. No personal cash match or payback is necessary.

Funding is available on a per-landlord basis and not per-unit basis. Only one rental unit per landlord can be assisted with this program.

A unit is defined as a rental property tied to one address. All properties are required to pass a habitability standards inspection conducted by SCEDD.

“I really want landlords to get applications, so they can get them finished, filled out and submitted so we can review them and get everything done, so we can help the people in our 13-county district with the funds we’ve been allocated,” said Josh Young, business consultant with the Holdrege-based SCEDD.

For the purposes of the grant, low to moderate income is defined using the state median income, which Young said is quite generous.

“If you are a landlord and you have a single person who is renting a unit from you, and they make $60,900 or less than that annually, then they qualify as a low- to moderate-income tenant,” he said.

After Nov. 15, leftover funds will roll back into a state fund that other districts could use if they have a greater demand.

“I would rather get the money out to help the landlords in need in our district,” Young said.

He wants to work directly with landlords.

“So any documentation, if something’s not filled out correctly, if something is missing, then I can reach out to them directly and say ‘Hey, this is what I need.’ The sooner you get it to me, the sooner we can proceed with the process,” he said.

For more information, and to obtain a copy of the program application, contact Young at 308-455-4773 or by email at josh@scedd.us.

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