City of El Paso receives $20 million from federal government for rental assistance

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The city’s financial administrators checked into work on Tuesday finding a $20.6 million deposit from the federal government to help with rental assistance in the community.

Robert Cortinas, the city’s chief financial officer, said the funds can be used to assist residents struggling with rent and can pay for future and past due rent. It can also pay for utilities, he added.

The funds need to be spent by Sept. 30, he added.

“It is really good to see we are going to continue to provide this assistance to our community over the next couple of months,” Cortinas said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “If we can get all that money spent and if there is need in our community, there is potential that we could get additional funds from the federal government.”

The deposit came from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provides funds for transportation, rental assistance, vaccines, testing and tracing.

The city has fully spent CARES Act funding, which included $7.5 million for rental assistance and $1 million in utility assistance, has been completely spent. The rent and utility assistance reached more than 13,000 residents last year.

In addition to Monday’s deposit, the city will disperse nearly $2 million also to help residents with rental assistance. The funds come through state Community Development Block Grant for coronavirus relief.

Nicole Ferrini, the city’s chief resilience officer, said applications for assistance through the block grants are scheduled to open up Jan. 25. The city is working with Project Amistad to get the funds to the public.

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