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Q&A with Wyoming Department of Family Services Director Korin Schmidt on Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Wyoming News Now’s David Graf was joined by Wyoming Department of Family Services Director Korin Schmidt to find out about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and when it will be available.
Wyoming Department of Family Services Director Korin Schmidt talking about the Emergency Rental...
Wyoming Department of Family Services Director Korin Schmidt talking about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in a Zoom interview on March 25, 2021.(David Graf)
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 6:51 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - COVID-19 has affected people across the board, and it’s made it challenging for some to afford housing. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is a government program that will available soon to help people pay for their housing if they’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wyoming News Now’s David Graf was joined by Wyoming Department of Family Services Director Korin Schmidt to find out about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and when it will be available.

This interview has been edited for content and clarity.

DG: What exactly is the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP?

KS: It’s payments made to leaseholders on behalf of renters who are in emerges. Meaning it can be used for people who haven’t been able to pay their rent because of some indirect or directly related COVID issue.

DG: How will people be able to use the money?

KS: Payments will be made directly to the landlords. This money can also be used for utility payments, back utility payments, so if you have a renter that hasn’t been able to pay water or electricity or any of those bills, then these dollars can also go to the utility companies.

DG: When was this program initiated?

KS: It was passed in the Consolidation Act at the end of December, beginning of January, so we’re putting the program requirements. There’s a quite a bit of federal requirements that we have to make sure are in place, and we expect to have the program up and operating by the end of April.

DG: So the gap from December to the end of April has been to make sure you’re meeting all of those requirements?

KS: Exactly. There’s a lot of work to set up a program. It’s a brand new program, so we’re having to basically start from scratch

DG: What does it mean to be able to offer this kind of support to people?

KS: I’m happy that we can get the support to those renters and so that they have some stability in their lives but also for the landlords. I mean everybody’s been affected by COVID. There’s not been one person who hasn’t been touched, and so I think the beauty of this particular program is that it’s a win-win for a lot of people.

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