The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program Provides Over 65 Million Dollars to Renters in Need

The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program has already provided renters across the state with 65 million dollars of rental assistance. They still have that and more left to assist those who need it when paying their rent and utilities.  

The West Virginia Housing Development Fund has acted as the state’s public housing authority since 1968 through constructing and providing insured loans for public housing projects, according to Whitney Humphrey via email. 

Humphrey serves as the communications administrator at the West Virginia Housing Development Fund. She said that the program was tasked with allocating the federal Covid relief funds to help the states renters and landlords.  

The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program launched in March of 2021, with the goal of helping renters and landlords that have faced hardships due to the pandemic.  

“We have a lot of money to spend,” Jessica Greathouse, the manager of special programs for the West Virginia Housing Development Fund said. “We have provided 65 million dollars in rent and utility assistance just since April of 2021, and we have that much and more to spend. So, people really should apply, take advantage of the program. Take the opportunity to get ahead and have housing stability.”  

Greathouse was a part of the team that built the Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program from scratch and now manages it.  

The money for assistance is available to anyone who needs it, including college students. The eligibility requires the applicant to have had a hardship during or because of Covid. This could include having to miss work or even having to quarantine said Greathouse. Hardship can come from many things which are all listed on  

Greathouse also said that the applicant must be at or below area median income. This would include most students who don’t work full time and have a household member that likely meets that income requirement. 

“They have to have a valid signed lease with their landlord… They should gather their documents together: lease, proof of income, proof of residency, proof of I.D. and any utility bills they might need help with. And they can go on our website and apply… If they have all of their documents together and they can go online and apply via computer, or tablet or cell phone, it takes about 15 minutes to put in their application,” Greathouse said 

The assistance does not require the applicant to be behind on their rent. It will help a person catch up if they need it and help them get ahead, paying up to three months ahead of rent payments.  

“Somebody that gets approved today for rental assistance and if the payment goes out today, we are paying current months rent and then rent through June,” Greathouse said. So, it’s an opportunity for somebody to get ahead a little bit on their rent… and any back rent that they have. So, if somebody has fallen behind because they have fallen on some hard times, we can pay their back rent as well.” 

Greathouse went on to say that the programs simple application process makes it easy for anyone who needs assistance to apply. Meanwhile, Humphrey said that they understand the hardship that has fallen on college students because of the pandemic and urges them to apply. Roommates on one lease should fill out their applications together listing each as a member of the household. Roommates with separate leases should apply individually. 

The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program plans to provide money to any renters in the area that qualify and hopes that many college students will take advantage of this opportunity.