AKRON, Ohio — For the second time this summer, Summit Council is allocating millions of dollar to help residents who are struggling to pay some of their bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Monday's council meeting, County Executive Ilene Shapiro introduced legislation for additional CARES Act funding to go towards rent, mortgage, and utility assistance.
Five million dollars will be used for rent and mortgage payments and $1 million will be used for utility payments.
Applications are being accepted beginning September 21 through 4 p.m. on September 28. Summit County residents can apply here or by calling 211.
"We know that there are many individuals who are still either unemployed or underemployed and the need has never been greater," said Greta Johnson, the assistant chief of staff for the county.
In June, the county allocated $7.5 million in federal funding, including CARES act dollars, for rent, mortgage, and utility assistance.
More than 3,000 applications were received: 93.5% were approved, 76% were for rental assistance and 20% had received an eviction notice.
The average applicant requested 2.65 months of rent or mortgage assistance. The average rent and mortgage need was $1,920 and $3,024. Nearly 80% of the applicants came from Akron residents.
With evictions remaining a major concern during the pandemic, residents facing the possibility of losing their homes will be prioritized, Johnson said.
"We have decided that if you are someone who is facing imminent eviction, you get moved to the top of the list so we can process your application faster."
During the first round, Carla Clark, a single mother and home healthcare aide from Akron, received money to pay for three months of rent after she lost hours at her job.
"It helped out a lot because it relieved me from feeling the pressure," Clark said.
Clark was glad to hear that the second round of funding was available to others who are struggling.
"I think it's good. It'll help a lot of families keep their housing," she said. "It will definitely put relief on a lot of families for sure."
Johnson expects payments from the $6 million funds will be dispersed to residents in need by the end of October.