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Housing officials in 2 NW cities expect to exhaust rent aid

by Tom Sissom | May 9, 2021 at 3:36 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Washington County officials were told Monday that $1.5 million allocated by the county to the Fayetteville and Springdale housing authorities to provide rental assistance to county residents affected by the covid-19 pandemic will be depleted before the county's needs are met.

The Quorum Court's County Services Committee heard reports from the Fayetteville Housing Authority and the Springdale Housing Authority on the $1.5 million the county has allocated to each agency. Washington County received $7.1 million in federal covid-19 relief funds to be used for rental assistance.

John Berry, interim director for the Fayetteville Housing Authority, told the justices of the peace that the agency will likely spend at least 75% of the $1.5 million by the end of May.

Berry told the committee that the authority received 1,062 applications and that 1,003 had been completed. Of the completed applications, he said, 645 were determined to be eligible for some amount of rental assistance. Berry said the average award is about $3,400 per household.

"At that average, we could assist about 166 more households before we run out of funding," Berry said.

Mary James, executive director of the Springdale Housing Authority, said that agency has spent about $300,000 of the $1.5 million it was allocated by the county. She said she couldn't estimate how long the remaining money would last but that the need will persist.

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