Montgomery County Is Distributing $10 Million in CARES Act Grants for Mortgage and Rent Relief

Montgomery County Is Distributing $10 Million in CARES Act Grants for Mortgage and Rent Relief Main Photo

31 Jul 2020


In mid-July, Montgomery County launched a new $10 million grant program to aid local homeowners and renters impacted by loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of this funding will benefit homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments. The other half of this funding will help individuals and families who have struggled to pay rent, as well as providing help to both homeowners and renters who are behind on utility bills.

“The loss of income from this pandemic has caused a lot of stress for our citizens. Many have lost jobs or had hours cut because of the closures, and that has made it difficult to pay for essential needs like housing costs,” said Judy Dodge, Montgomery County Commission President. “We want to help lessen that stress. These housing programs will provide much-needed relief to individuals and families in our county who have had to deal with this terrible pandemic.”

Montgomery County is partnering with The HomeOwnership Center and Miami Valley Community Action Partnership to disburse these funds to the community. The HomeOwnership Center, a program of County Corp, will take applications for mortgage assistance, and Miami Valley Community Action Partnership will handle applications for rental and utility bill assistance. Distribution of CARES Act funds is just another way these organizations are bolstering the community.

“It’s important that we get this funding out as quickly as possible,” said Marvene Mitchell-Cook, Director of the Office of CARES Act. “These organizations already have established networks, so we can get relief to those in need more quickly and help people get back on track with their housing payments.”

The HomeOwnership Center is a nonprofit organization with the mission to empower people to achieve and sustain homeownership and financial success. In addition to their current role with the CARES Act, the organization offers a wide range of services including foreclosure prevention, first-time homebuyer education and coaching, down payment assistance, credit counseling and debt management program, reverse mortgage counseling, and financial education.

“The Mortgage Assistance Program is designed to help homeowners who have been adversely affected by COVID-19,”  said Julie Deacon, Executive Director of the HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton. “When we help individual homeowners save their homes, we are also helping to stabilize neighborhoods and local property values. It’s a win, win. We’re thankful that the CARES Act funding and Montgomery County leaders are supporting our efforts to help people avoid the devastating effects of foreclosure.”

From June — when the Miami Valley Community Action Partnership opened their online portal for their Emergency Services Program — through July, over 4,710  households have applied for housing and utility assistance — 484 of those households had received a three-day eviction notice from their landlord. By contrast, in 2019, the Emergency Services Program provided assistance (e.g. rent/eviction prevention, security deposits, hotel stays, utility assistance) to 511 households in Montgomery County spending a total of $137,254, according to Lisa Stempler, President and CEO of Miami Valley Community Action Partnership. Before the CARES Act money infusion in mid-July, they were very limited in what they could do to help the influx of requests.

“Today, thanks to the $5 million in CARES Act funding, many thousands of Montgomery County residents will remain housed and stable — avoiding the nightmare of eviction and increased risk of homelessness, consequences exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Stempler. “There are so many people who now need and will need assistance who have never used the system before. They’ve never needed to. Our goal is to keep people housed. Our job is to smooth the way for them and save their dignity. To that end, the county has eliminated all income eligibility requirements. Our mission, however, remains what it has been, and runs more deeply: to remove the very causes and conditions of poverty and the barriers to individual independence and self-sufficiency which we can only accomplish person by person, family by family, in partnership with our community.” 

Funding for these relief programs is available until December 31, 2020, or until funds are depleted. These programs do not have income restrictions. They require that someone has lost employment income because of COVID-19 and that loss has led to getting behind on mortgage, rent, or utility payments.

To qualify for the mortgage assistance program, applicants must:

  • Own a home (primary residence) in Montgomery County, Ohio with an original mortgage of $300,000 or less
  • Have had a loss of employment income after March 1, 2020, due to COVID-19, caused by layoff, reduced work hours, furlough, or reduction in pay
  • Be behind in their mortgage or in a forbearance agreement with their mortgage company on or after March 1, 2020
  • Complete an application, provide required documentation, and discuss their circumstances with HomeOwnership Center staff
  • Participate in follow-up with HomeOwnership Center staff about the applicant’s financial and mortgage status

To qualify for rental assistance, applicants must:

  • Rent a residence in Montgomery County, Ohio
  • Have had a loss of employment income after March 1, 2020, due to COVID-19, caused by layoff, reduced work hours, furlough, or reduction in pay
  • Be behind on rent payments on or after March 1, 2020
  • Complete an application and submit required documentation to Miami Valley Community Action Partnership

Utility assistance will also be provided through these funds. Both homeowners and renters may qualify for help on their water, electric, gas, or bulk fuel bills if they’ve fallen behind because of

COVID-19. Applications for utility assistance will be handled by Miami Valley Community Action Partnership. 

Links to apply to all of these programs are online at www.mcohiocares.org. Website visitors can also sign up for email alerts about upcoming financial aid programs for agriculture, education, nonprofits or healthcare institutions.