A range of expanded legal services offered by Legal Aid of Wyoming intended to help renters weather the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will now be available through September.
Wyoming’s federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), overseen by the Department of Family Services, is best known for helping struggling tenants pay rent and other housing-related expenses, like utilities costs. But the program has also supported a number of other housing-related resources, like those offered by Legal Aid of Wyoming, which helps low-income Wyoming residents with civil legal matters.
Some of the services currently provided by Legal Aid of Wyoming include:
- Advising renters on lease agreements;
- Representing tenants facing evictions and debt collections;
- Helping tenants navigate disagreements with their landlords;
- Helping tenants with federal benefits and disability accommodations; and
- Helping tenants recover money lost to scams.
People are also reading…
According to a Monday announcement from the Department of Family Services, the state agency’s latest award to Legal Aid of Wyoming will allow the nonprofit to continue providing the expanded housing stability services through Sept. 30. The agency has awarded the law firm a total of $1 million through ERAP, the announcement said.
ERAP launched in Wyoming in spring of 2021. The program was never intended to be permanent, but instead to provide a temporary safety net for qualifying renters.
Because of that, money for ERAP set aside by the federal government came with hard deadlines attached — most of the money expires in September 2025, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website.
High demand for rental assistance has caused Wyoming to burn through its ERAP funding much earlier than that, however. To prepare for the program’s sunset, the Department of Family Services announced in fall 2022 it was starting to gradually wind down ERAP’s