Rent relief opens March 3; Tenants can pre-apply

FOOD LINE: Dozens of cars lined up to receive free food being distributed to residents of Barrigada by the Barrigada Mayor's Office with the help of the Guam National Guard on Monday at the Tiyan carnival grounds in Barrigada. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Residents who are having difficulty paying rent or utilities because of the pandemic can start filling out and submitting a pre-application form on March 3 for a portion of the $33.6 million federal rental relief funding that Guam received in January.

GovGuam has been waiting for further U.S. Treasury guidelines on the implementation of the Emergency Rental Assistance.

"As we continue to battle this pandemic, our people should not have to worry when they can pay their rent or utilities," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said in announcing the pre-application launch.

The program will provide pandemic-impacted renters with assistance to pay up to 15 months of their rent, rental arrears, utilities, and utility arrears.

The grant will not cover these costs and arrears prior to March 13, 2020.

The Guam Department of Administration is leading the ERA program, starting with a tenant pre-application process launching on Wednesday.

Here's how tenants can pre-apply starting on March 3:

  • Download on the DOA website, doa.guam.gov, the tenant pre-application form.
  • Hard copies of the tenant forms will also be available for pickup at village mayors' offices or the first floor of the ITC Building in Tamuning.
  • Filled-out tenant pre-application forms can be scanned and emailed to era@doa.guam.gov.
  • The filled-out forms can also be dropped off at a designated drop box on the first floor of the ITC Building.
  • DOA will accept the tenant pre-applications from March 3 to 19.
  • For questions regarding the rental assistance program, email era@doa.guam.gov or call DOA at 475-1101, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Landlord pre-application forms will be released at a later date. If tenants are unable to submit pre-application forms, landlords may be able to submit applications on their behalf. Landlords are encouraged to work with tenants who are in arrears to complete and submit the tenant pre-applications.

Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio said GovGuam has been preparing to implement the program since the second federal pandemic relief package was signed into law.

"We cannot afford to allow people to be put on the streets in the middle of a pandemic, and we know the burden landlords have had to carry because of the eviction moratorium," he said.

Keep your home with mortgage relief

The Guam Housing Corp., meanwhile, continues to accept applications for its $714,000 mortgage relief program, to help struggling families keep their homes in the midst of a pandemic.

Since its launching in October, the federally funded mortgage relief program has so far provided assistance to three homeowners, based on latest data.

"Regrettably, the first round of applications did not have a high approval success rate due in part to applicants not meeting the income eligibility requirements," acting GHC President Edith Pangelinan said on Friday.

GHC, however, believes there are many mortgage holders out there who may qualify for mortgage relief assistance.

Applications will be accepted until May 1.

The application packet is available on GHC's website at guamhousing.org, and hard copies can be picked up right outside GHC's office on the fifth floor of the ITC Building in Tamuning. GHC's office number is 647-4143.

Applications can be submitted via email to mortgagerelief@ghc.guam.gov, or dropped off at the GHC office. 

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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