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Maine To Open Applications For New, More Comprehensive Round Of Rent Relief

After months of waiting, Mainers seeking rent relief can apply for benefits from the state beginning at noon Monday.

The state launched several smaller rent relief programs last year. But officials say the latest program, which is funded by $200 million in federal funds, is far more comprehensive. It can pay for up to 12 months of rent and some utilities going back to last March, plus up to 3 months of upcoming expenses. It’s open to renters who meet certain income limits and are at risk of losing housing because of the pandemic.

Greg Payne, with the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, says it’s important that both tenants and landlords are made aware of the program.

“But if those things can happen, it’s hard to overstate just how important the rollout of these new relief dollars is going to be for a lot of Maine people,” he says.

Payne says many tenants have had to postpone other bills and deplete their savings to make rent.

“I think that folks have just been continuing to do all they can to hang on. That has certainly been happening over this two-month period that we haven’t had a rent relief program in Maine,” he says.

Funding for the program was included in a federal relief bill passed in December, but state officials have said they’ve been waiting on federal guidelines before taking applications. MaineHousing says it received updated guidelines on Monday.

Renters and landlords can get more information about the program at MaineHousing.org, and can also call 1-800-452-4668 to apply on Monday.