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City and County to distribute $28.2 million toward emergency rental and utility assistance program

City and County to distribute $28.2 million toward emergency rental and utility assistance program

The Emergency Rental & Utility Assistance Program, a new program aimed at helping renters in Shelby County, will help thousands of households that are behind on rent and utilities or facing eviction as a result of Covid-19.  The U.S. Department of Treasury has granted a total of $28.2 million to the City of Memphis and Shelby County (including $19.6 million to the City and $8.6 to the County) to administer the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program.

The program can pay up to 12 months of owed rent and utilities to those affected by Covid-19.  Those facing eviction can also receive free legal assistance.  The program is open to Shelby County renters and is being administered by the City of Memphis and Shelby County Government. 

“The economic fallout from COVID has undermined housing security for many families,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. “That’s why we partnered with the City of Memphis to create this emergency relief program to distribute tens of millions in assistance to Shelby County residents.”

“There are many in our community who are hurting,” said City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “The City of Memphis will, as we always have done, continue to work with County, State, and Federal officials, along with our community partners to address this critical issue.”

For more information, go to, or email, or call 211, or text HOME901 TO 21000 (or text CASA901 to 21000 for Spanish). The program will reopen applications Saturday, May 1, and will close for that month on May 14, at midnight. Applications will reopen each month.

Applying is easy and the application is available on the web and can be accessed by smart phone in English or Spanish.  In-person help to complete the application is available by appointment at various sites throughout the county.  To make an appointment or to ask questions, please call 211. 

Partners in this effort include the Shelby County Division of Community Services, City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development, Neighborhood Preservation, Inc., the University of Memphis Law School Legal Clinic, Memphis Area Legal Services, Metropolitan Interfaith Association (MIFA), United Housing, Inc., United Way of the Mid-South, Innovate Memphis, and United States Digital Response (USDR).