North Carolina changes rules for pandemic rent relief

RALEIGH, N.C. — A state COVID-19 program for rent relief received overwhelming response when it rolled out last year as renters continue to struggle financially through the pandemic.

The Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions Program, which debuted in October, provides rent and utility-payment assistance to qualifying applicants across North Carolina. So far, the program has had $167 million to disburse, but more is expected soon.

As of Friday morning, the state has made just shy of 50,000 awards totaling $130.7 million, said Haley Pfeiffer Haynes, chief of external affairs at the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency, which is managing the HOPE Program. That’s gone to assist 34,684 households.

But while landlord participation has been high — about 90%, Haynes estimated — the NCORR made changes this week intended to increase that number so that more eligible renters can get relief.

Read more here about the changes and how the program works.