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United Way launches rent, utilities assistance program



AUGUSTA, Ga. – United Way of the CSRA recently launched an emergency rental assistance program in partnership with the Augusta-Richmond County Housing and Community Development Department.

The program, named Sigh of Relief, is aimed to help individuals and families remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program was launched with a $6 million grant to Augusta-Richmond County from the U.S Department of Treasury.

United Way is administering the program through its 211 Contact Center and will determine eligibility, collect necessary documents, and for those who qualify, make payments directly to landlords and utility providers. The funds will be used to bring past due utilities and rent current for households with rental arrears.

“This program is designed to help the countless individuals and families at risk of eviction in Richmond County,” said Brittany Burnett, president and CEO of the United Way of the CSRA. “United Way is proud to administer this program that will help our neighbors in the CSRA remain safe in their homes as they get back on their feet.”

The program is available to renters who live in Richmond County.

They must also qualify for unemployment or must have experienced a reduction in income, significant costs, or financial hardship due to COVID-19; demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and have household income at or below 80% of the area median income.

Individuals in need of rent or utilities assistance should visit or text RENT to 50503 to complete a quick online form and be placed in a queue.

For those unable to access the online form, call 211. A United Way specialist will follow up and provide additional information to those who meet the eligibility requirements.