ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County is helping those struggling to pay rent. The county accepted an emergency rental assistance grant. The $5 million grant will help New Mexicans who are months behind on their rent and utility bills due to the pandemic. The county aims to start taking applications on March 1.

“Bernalillo County commissioners want to continue to do everything in our power to help struggling residents during this pandemic,” said County Commission Chair Charlene Pyskoty in a news release.  “If this can help keep people in their homes and off the streets, then it’s a win for the county and a win for renters.”

According to a news release, the Emergency Rental Assistance program makes available $25 billion to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the pandemic and the funds are provided directly to states, U.S. territories, local governments, and Native American tribes. Bernalillo County says the grant is for qualifying renters outside the city limits of Albuquerque, but within the county. The grant was accepted by the commission on a 5 to 0 vote.