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Arkansans who have lost income because of the covid-19 pandemic can apply for federally funded rental assistance through nonprofits, local governments and other organizations that provide homelessness prevention and rehousing services, the state Department of Human Services announced Wednesday.

The state has received $23 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to serve residents who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Those services include homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, street outreach and emergency shelter, according to a department news release.

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A list of Arkansas organizations that have funding available is on the state Human Services Department's website.

Homelessness prevention includes utility and rental assistance. Rapid rehousing is the process of moving homeless individuals quickly into permanent shelter such as an apartment. Street outreach is meant to help organizations connect with people who are homeless, and emergency shelter provides support for overnight homeless shelters.

[DOCUMENT: Arkansas Department of Human Services grant program contact list »]

Eligibility depends on income levels and the county in which applicants live. Money will be available until it's spent or until September 2022 -- whichever comes first.

"We know that the public health emergency has impacted Arkansas families, with many people facing financial difficulties that may put them at risk of facing eviction," Division of County Operations Director Mary Franklin said in the news release. "These grant funds were awarded to organizations across the state to help meet those immediate and ongoing needs caused by the pandemic. Our hope is that Arkansans who are facing housing challenges will reach out to these organizations for support."

Since March, the number of unlawful detainer filings has risen every month in Arkansas. Unlawful detainer is the most common type of eviction. In September, the number of filings surpassed the number filed in September 2019.

Housing experts have warned that the pandemic could start an eviction and homelessness crisis in the U.S.


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