Local help available through emergency rental program

First Stop Help Center in Lander (County 10 Photo)

(Fremont County, WY) – First Stop Help Center in Lander can help eligible households get assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

The federally funded program officially launched on April 29th in Wyoming with $180 million available to eligible renters struggling to make rent, internet, and utility payments, as well as housing stability services.

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The Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS), with assistance from the Department of Workforce Services (DWS), is administering ERAP and has dedicated $1M of the federal funds to contract with community-based organizations to provide local in-person application assistance. Learn more and apply at dfs.wyo.gov/erap.

For local in-person assistance, please visit First Stop Help Center, located at 860 S 3rd in Lander, or call 307-349-2173. If you live on the Wind River Reservation, you may be eligible for assistance through the Eastern Shoshone ERAP or the Northern Arapaho ERAP programs.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, an estimated 23,515 Wyoming renters may be eligible for this financial assistance, spending more than 30% of their income on rent.

As of September 30th, ERAP has approved a total of 1,843 applications, or 49% of submitted applications, paying a total of $6.4M in assistance. Of the rental payments, $5M went to landlords, $986K to renters and $438K to utilities. To see county-specific information, click here to see the map.

Another 3,730 renter applications have been submitted and are under review. Once submitted, applications go through the eligibility and benefit determination process, which can take up to 30 days.

ERAP eligibility requirements include:

  • Being a renter in Wyoming or having unpaid rent on a previous Wyoming residence
  • Having a household income of less than 80% of the area’s median income. Fremont County renters meet the income eligibility requirement if they have an annual income of $45,400 for a one-person household, $51,850 for a two-person household, $58,350 for a three-person household and $64,800 for four-person household.
  • Qualifying for unemployment benefits or being able to show direct or indirect financial loss because of COVID-19 or being able to show that financial loss occurred during the COVID pandemic
  • Being at risk of losing housing

Eligible households can obtain assistance for unpaid past due rent and utility services incurred after March 13th, 2020 – even at a previous residence.

Eligible expenses also include unpaid current and future rent (up to three months at a time) for up to 18 months total of rent and/or utilities.

Eligible utility costs include: electricity; energy costs (fuel, oil, propane); water and sewer; and internet service (up to $50 per month).

Other eligible expenses, done on a case by case basis, may include reasonable relocation expenses, security deposits, and reasonable late fees.

Additionally, ERAP has provided $1M to Equal Justice Wyoming for legal services to eligible households facing eviction and/or other housing instability. If facing eviction, please contact Legal Aid of Wyoming, which is a sub-recipient of Equal Justice Wyoming. They may be able to provide other legal assistance to eligible ERAP renters living in Wyoming. Visit www.lawyoming.org or call 1-877-432-9955 for Legal Aid.

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