Durham city officials last week announced that the city will pause an emergency rental assistance program early next month.

Officials have decided to hit the pause button on Durham’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) on October 4 “to focus on existing applications” and the pause will remain in place until county officials can “determine that there are sufficient funds to process all of the existing applications,” according to a press release on the city’s website.

“Once existing applications have been addressed, the City and County will determine whether there are any remaining funds to support re-opening the current program for new applications,” according to the website.

The program, launched in late May, is a partnership between the City of Durham and Durham County governments that provides rental and utility assistance to city and county residents whose incomes were affected by COVID-19.

The ERAP is managed by the county’s department of social services, which has received over 6,600 applications since it began, according to the city release. 

DSS officials report that about $7.5 million in funds have been distributed to stave off rental evictions of residents who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

According to the city website, by September 18, the program had 3,000 applications pending with $953,000 remaining funding from the city and county. After those funds have been exhausted, DSS officials will rely on $8.1 million in state funding to continue helping residents who need emergency rental assistance.

DSS officials have deployed two social workers located inside of the Durham County Courthouse to work with judicial staff to divert the evictions of tenants who have applied for emergency rental assistance with applications still pending approval, according to the city website. 

DSS officials will also continue to schedule in-person appointments with applicants who have items missing in order to complete their applications. DSS officials are also contacting landlords in the community. The majority of them have agreed to receive rental payments from the program, according to the city website.

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Follow Durham Staff Writer Thomasi McDonald on Twitter or send an email to tmcdonald@indyweek.com.