Rental assistance available in southwest Arkansas

TEXARKANA, Ark. - If you have fallen behind on your rent in Arkansas due to the pandemic, there's is help available.

The Arkansas Community Action Agency Association received $10 million in federal grant funds to help pay rent for struggling families. The Fresh Start program can pay up to two and a half months of rent payments.

The program is aimed at helping residents who have fallen behind on rent. It will also help landlords who have lost revenue due to the inability of tenants to stay current on their rent payments.

The rent assistance cannot exceed the fair market rental value.

To qualify for assistance under the program, you must be a full time Arkansas resident, earn an income at or below 80 percent of the area median income and provide documentation proving you're behind on rent.

"The pandemic is not an issue that is strictly affected low-income families, but it has hit the heart of our communities in terms of middle income families as well," explained Terry Bearden, ACAAA executive director.

Anyone who has already received funds from the Fresh Start program may be ineligible for the funds. The program will last as long as funds are available in each county.

"We really do want to provide families with a fresh start during this pandemic. As they're called back to work or even as their hours increase, they may still find themselves in arrears with with their landlord. We want to try to erase some of that past debt," said Bearden.

Once a renter applies, the Central Arkansas Development Council will handle the application and make the rent payment directly to the landlord.

Assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information on how to apply visit arfreshstart.com.

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