Charlotte emergency housing assistance program reopens applications for April

CHARLOTTE — A Mecklenburg County emergency housing assistance program said it is accepting new applications from people who need help paying rent and utilities.

RAMP CLT was a lifeline for many families earlier in the pandemic, but the program stopped accepting applications in December when it ran out of funds.

Applications reopened March 1 and will reopen monthly until funds run out. This month’s applications are open until April 15.

The portal for applications reopened after the program received additional funds from the state and reallocated treasury funds. Previous funds for 2021 came from the treasury emergency rental assistance funds.

The program unveiled a new name as well — RAMP Charmeck.

According to the RAMP Charmeck website, there are two eligibility levels:

- “Priority 1 - 80% AMI (area median income) and below with a COVID-related hardship who have been served an eviction notice and have a court date within 90 days.”

- “Priority 2 - 30% AMI and below with a COVID-related hardship.”

Officials said those already in the portal will be processed first. The portal will open monthly from the 1st through the 15th as long funds are available.

There is no limit on how much money someone can receive. “We can pay back rent up to 12 months, and that’s going back to March 2020. And we can pay forward up to three months,” said Erin Barbee of DreamKey Partners, which manages RAMP Charmeck.

If you have submitted an application and have a question, call the phone number that corresponds with your last name:

Last names A-D: 984-422-0285

Last names E-H: 980-999-1572

Last names I-L: 980-819-8315

Last names M-Q: 681-207-9249

Last names R-U: 984-422-0329

Last names V-Z: 980-290-6772

Officials with RAMP Charmeck told Action 9 that since the beginning of the pandemic, they have helped more than 19,000 households to the tune of about $86,000,000.

Kimberly Johnson told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke she planned to apply. She said it is hard not to worry.

Johnson said she worked in both banking and the medical field and would still be if not for COVID-19.

“My son had it really, really bad,” Johnson said. “I had it. My whole household had it. But it was really hard for my son, who I didn’t think was going to make it through it all. Johnson also has an 8-year-old daughter.

She hopes to be back at work “full speed” within a month and that she no longer will need help with rent or utilities.

Here’s what you need to know:

RAMP money involves COVID-19 hardship. If you need help paying rent or utilities, but not because of COVID-19, do not apply to RAMP; apply to Crisis Assistance instead. Call Crisis Assistance Ministry at 704-371-3001 or go to crisisassistance.org.

RAMP is only available to people who live in Mecklenburg County. If you live in another county, there are other programs to help you.

Call the NC HOPE program to find out who to contact at 888-9ASK-HOPE or online at rebuild.nc.gov/hope-program

Legal Help:

If you rent in Charlotte, the city has a Dispute Settlement Program. Mediators help landlords and tenants work out agreements and avoid court. The program is free and confidential. Call 704-336-5330 or visit online here.

No matter where you live, Legal Aid also can help. It is also free and confidential. The group told Stoogenke it is preparing for all the additional renters who will have to go to court starting next week.

Call Legal Aid at 866- 219-LANC (5262) or go to legalaidnc.org.

If you are a renter and your landlord is trying to evict you, they are required to provide a “summary ejectment,” which means a judge has approved the eviction.

If you are facing eviction specifically for not being able to pay rent, Stoogenke wants to hear from you. Please email him at Action9@wsoctv.com.

(WATCH BELOW: Nonprofit says it’s seen twice as many people in need of financial help)