Whitefish Launches Emergency Rental Assistance Fund

Renters whose employment status was affected by COVID-19 may be eligible

By Beacon Staff
A sign on the door of The Great Northern Bar and Grill announces its closure in light of the spread of COVID-19 on March 17, 2020. Restaurants, bars and other eateries around Whitefish have either closed or have switched to take-out or delivery only as a measure to mitigate the spread of novel coronavirus, as seen on March 17, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Whitefish-based workers are suddenly facing a dearth of employment options due to mandated or voluntary business closures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Whitefish’s community is particularly vulnerable with a local economy based around service and tourism industries, and significant numbers of layoffs are already underway, according to Whitefish Chamber of Commerce Director Kevin Gartland.

In an effort to provide emergency relief to the local workforce, the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce, the Whitefish Housing Authority and the Whitefish Community Foundation have teamed up to create an emergency fund to provide one-time partial rent relief to Whitefish area renters.

Renters in the 59937 zip code whose employment status was affected by COVID-19 may be eligible for a grant of rental assistance monies through the Whitefish Housing Authority Rental Assistance Fund. Each affected worker can apply for $300 in rent assistance, with a cap of 50% of the monthly rent amount. If multiple wage earners in a single household have been affected, $300 may be provided for each wage earner, subject to the 50% cap. Approved applicants will be granted a check written by the Whitefish Housing Authority directly to the applicant’s landlord to help with rental payments.

Funding is limited and applications will be filled as they arrive on a first-come, first-serve basis as long as the applicant meets the criteria and funding is available.

It is anticipated this program will provide one-time rental assistance for one month to help workers make April 1 rental payments. Subsequently, the program will be re-evaluated if further emergency assistance is appropriate and funding is available.

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