SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Public Education Department is urging New Mexico families to apply for programs that help pay mortgage or rent bills to keep students at home and in school. According to a news release from NMPED, the federal Emergency Rental Assistance program was created to reduce evictions or utility service cut-offs due to financial challenges caused by the pandemic. The New Mexico Homeowner Assistance Fund offers grants of up to $10,000 to maintain housing and reduce housing cost delinquency also related to the pandemic.
“This has been an incredibly difficult year for so many New Mexico families that lost jobs or income due in one way or another to the pandemic,” Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said in a news release from the department. “We owe it to our children to keep their families intact and in their homes so they can focus, as they should, on their education without fear of being suddenly uprooted.”
The news release states that under the Emergency Rental Assistance program, the state is distributing nearly $170 million to pay back, current or future rent, and utility bills for eligible families.
According to a news release from PED, eligible households can receive up to 15 months of assistance. Renters are eligible for the program — except for residents of Bernalillo and Doña Ana counties and those who live in a pueblo or tribal area, according to the news release. Those counties and tribal governments will have their own Rental Assistance Programs.
The news release states that applications for rental assistance can be submitted by an eligible household or landlord and funds will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers but if a landlord does not wish to participate, funds may be paid directly to the eligible household.
Landlords and utility providers can download a W9 and submit it to the Department of Finance and Administration through email at ERAVendor.Relations@state.nm.us.
The news release says that in addition to rental assistance, the New Mexico Homeowner Assistance Fund, a $1 million, six-month pilot program, was announced this week and is the first state program specifically for homeowners.
To be eligible for the program, household income must not exceed 100 percent of the area’s median income. Applications can be submitted online at housingnm.org or by calling 505.308.4206 or toll-free 866.488.0498 to request a paper application.
For more information, visit nmdfa.state.nm.us/office-of-the-secretary/emergency-rental-assistance-program.
NMPED also says the following are other assistance programs available to eligible New Mexicans:
- Connectivity: The Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a $50 monthly credit on the cost of high-speed internet ($75 for households on tribal land) and a one-time credit of $100 to buy a digital device. For more information, visit fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-program.
- Health care: Lower costs and sign up for health care at Healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2596. If you lost your insurance, you can get help with the cost of COBRA coverage by visiting DOL.gov/general/topic/health-plans/cobra.
- Food: Connect with New Mexico’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) | New Mexico Human Services Department (state.nm.us) Students ages 1-18 can also pick up free grab-and-go summer meals at more than 700 sites across New Mexico.
- Unemployment: Get an extra $300 per week and unemployment benefits extended until Sept. 6. Visit the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions website to apply.