In June, the Wyoming Department of Family Services provided more pandemic rent relief than any other month during the program’s life.
The state-funded Emergency Rent Assistance Program (ERAP), which opened last April, helps struggling renters stay home.
Corinne Schmidt, executive director of the Department of Family Services, said the agency managed about $5.6 million in ERAP funds last month. The previous record holder was April, which paid out $5.4 million.
ERAP applications suddenly increased in January and December, Schmidt said. Since then, the demand for rental assistance has grown steadily.
Around 160 applications were received by the family office every day in June, said Schmidt. A year ago it was around 60 a day.
“We’re starting to see some of the effects of higher gasoline prices and food costs,” Schmidt said.
ERAP rental support is also easy to come by these days, he added.
The first wave of pandemic aid, passed by Congress in late 2020, raised $200 million in Wyoming.
Federal regulations setting strict limits for those who qualify for ERAP made it difficult to get out the door early.
The second round of the program, which elapsed last year, largely let him go. Wyoming expects to receive a total of $152 million from this package, which expires in 2025.
The income limit of the program is also high. Families applying for ERAP funds may not earn more than 80% of their region’s median income.
However, this value is updated every April by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. That year, caps rose to a few thousand in most Wyoming counties, Schmidt said.
As of June 1, the program had committed a total of $42 million. Of that, $33 million went to landlords, $6.1 million to renters, $2.6 million to utilities, and another $5,700 to reimburse moving expenses.
Schmidt told the Star-Tribune in March the agency doesn’t expect the rental subsidies to expire until 2025.
But the money won’t last forever, she said. And tenants can only receive ERAP funds for a maximum of 18 months, under federal regulations.
“It’s not a long-term solution to any problem,” she said.
To apply for the ERAP program, visit the Department of Family Services website at dfs.wyo.gov. go to