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County allocates $1.5M for rental assistance

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County commissioners on Thursday allocated $1.5 million in CARES Act funding to Catholic Charities Regional Agency to distribute for residential rental assistance.

The funds are provided in amounts of up to $10,000 per household for residents meeting various requirements. The CARES Act provided funds to help Americans weather the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Audrey Tillis, county administrator, said Catholic Charities “did a very good job” when it distributed about $1 million of CARES Act funds for the same thing last year.

It has about 400 poeple on a waiting list that was created when Catholic Charities distributed about $1 million in CARES Act funds last year, Tillis said.

The commissioners received about $6 million of additional CARES Act funding late last year that is being used for the program. When Catholic Charities distributes the $1.5 million, additional funds can be distributed to them to continue the program, Tillis said.

She said the goal is to help about 700 people.

The commissioners also allocated $107,000 to the Young Women’s Christian Association of Youngstown to help 10 to 20 pregnant women be safely housed before and after giving birth. The funding will help them with rent and utilities.

The YWCA also will partner with the Mahoning County Public Health to assist the women with their health care, DeAscentis said.

One of the reasons this funding is needed is because Mahoning County “is one of the highest across the nation in infant mortality rate,” Anna DeAscentis, county grants manager and deputy Mahoning County EMA director, said.

“This is perfect,” Commissioner Carole Rimedio Righetti said.

DeAscentis said the only way to apply for the funding is to call Catholic Charitiies Regional Agency in Youngstown. Funding is available now for Catholic Charities to hire additional staffing to help carry out the program, Tillis said.

The commissioners asked Catholic Charities to hire additional people to answer the phones “so they could move these things more expeditiously” than last year, Traficanti said.

The funding also will pay for counseling for recipients to help them plan for how to avoid having trouble with their housing and utilities in the future, Tillis said.

Landlords can also apply for the funding for a tenant, Tillis noted.

erunyan@tribtoday.com

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