The economic ups and downs of the past two years have made a tight housing market even tougher for many individuals and families throughout West Virginia, but there are grant programs available to help keep people in their homes. Statewide, the West Virginia Housing Development Fund received $350 million in pandemic relief funds from the federal government to assist renters. The Fund is also working on a mortgage assistance program, to be launched later in 2022. Locally, Shepherdstown just announced a $60,000 grant program to assist homeowners and renters. Both programs are designed to help keep people in their homes to prevent even greater dislocation and hardship.
Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program
The West Virginia Housing Development Fund has been accepting applications since March of 2021 for the Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program. In January 2022, Emily Allen of Mountain State Spotlight reported that the program had disbursed only $45 million of the $350 million budget. In February, Erica Boggess, Director of the Housing Development Fund, provided an update on the assistance program during a press conference with Governor Justice: “To date, we’ve distributed $53.7 million, helping almost 13,000 households for an average of $4,100 per household, tax-free to the renters. Once the applications are here, we’re seeing that 96 percent of applicants are receiving funding, but we need more people to apply… the U.S. Treasury has begun to recapture funds that aren’t being used. So for us to preserve as much of this funding as possible and use it in West Virginia, we really need to spread the word and get more and more people to apply.” This program is open to renters living anywhere in West Virginia. Apply online at WVHDF.com or call 866-623-6284.
Help for Shepherdstown Residents
The Corporation of Shepherdstown is partnering with Catholic Charities of West Virginia to disburse a $60,000 Community Development Block Grant received from the state to assist families or individuals who need immediate financial assistance to pay mortgage, rent, or utilities bills. This program is intended to help low-to-moderate-income households within the Corporation of Shepherdstown who are facing economic hardship due to the pandemic. Grants will be disbursed based on demonstrated need, the availability of funds, and documented eligibility for assistance, including income and residency requirements. Proof of residency within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown will be required. Catholic Charities is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The agency is open to serving all people regardless of their race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, marital or family status. Residents seeking assistance should contact Siobhan Bertone at the Martinsburg Office of Catholic Charities (call 304-267-8837, extension 10 or email email@example.com). The information provided to Catholic Charities will be kept confidential.
Help with Applications
Individuals who need help navigating the application process for housing assistance programs can also contact Jefferson County Community Ministries. Online at JCCM.us, email Info@JCCM.us, phone 304-725-3186.By Staff Contributor