By Rep. Deborah Ruggiero

If “2020” was a movie, I would not recommend it!  Avoid it. Fast forward. It’s been harder for some to watch and experience than others.  

We are all tired of this pandemic, but for many working families in our community it’s been a stressful, financial hardship.  Many can’t make rent payments and face possible eviction.

In September, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a national moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent with specific criteria. That moratorium ends on Dec. 31. We can only hope that the federal government extends this moratorium. If not, Rhode Island  could consider passing a state moratorium as other states have done.   

There is financial help in the newly enacted state budget that includes $7.3 million from federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for eviction diversion and rental assistance. If you or someone you know is in arrears with rent payments from March through today, there’s money for you to make those past rent payments.

The SAFE HARBOR program is administered by United Way and is the front door to rental assistance. YOU MUST APPLY BY WEDNESDAY DEC. 30.  Here’s the link to apply for rental assistance (https://www.uwri.org/2-1-1/safe-harbor-housing-program/)

It is income eligible. So if you’re a family of four living on $69,600 in Providence, Jamestown, Warwick and 32 other communities you may qualify. A family of four living on Aquidneck Island with an income of $78,500 may also qualify. 

Find out if this can help you or your family. Go to the United Way of Rhode Island website/Safe Harbor and apply today. Or call 2-1-1. That is the United Way’ hotline for 24/7 help. 

Time is of the essence. We need to get these federal dollars out the door to our Rhode Island families who are most in need.  Let’s finally make 2020 hindsight. Cheers to a more hopeful 2021!  Peace.

    Rep. Deborah Ruggiero represents District 74- Jamestown and Middletown

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