WESTFIELD – Westfield residents impacted by COVID-19 may apply for rental assistance this month at the Westfield Senior Center, 45 Noble St., through a program funded by the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) CARES Act.
The Valley Opportunity Council (VOC) is conducting intake for the program, which is intended for people who are behind on rent or mortgage for at least 30 days because of a loss of income through reduced hours, loss of employment, or health issues due to COVID-19.
During the first three weeks in June, Jessica King of the VOC will be at the Westfield Senior Center every Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3:30 p.m. to meet with and offer on the spot approval for residents who are in need of the assistance. The program ends on June 30.
“My hope is that I can make it as easy as possible for folks in need to not have to travel too far for services,” King said. The program will provide up to three months of rental assistance on behalf of an eligible tenant to an eligible landlord. Eligible landlords may also receive rental assistance on behalf of their tenants.
The assistance is subject to the CDBG income standard limits of 80 percent of median income based on size of household.
Eligible documentation includes a copy of current lease or rental agreement and proof of last rent payment (receipt, cancelled check. etc.), proof of Income for household members 18 and over (paystub, wage statement, SS, Veterans, SSI, SSP, etc.), and a social security card for head of household. Other documentation may be required.
King said if people come in with paperwork the whole process takes no more than 30 minutes. “I’ve only turned down two people for the entire program. It’s very rare that someone doesn’t qualify,” she said, adding if people are unsure about their eligibility they should come in and speak to her.
Mortgage assistance is also available. If someone is in arrears with their mortgage, King suggests coming to see her at the Westfield Senior Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays in June from 1 to 3:30 p.m., and if this program can’t help, she can make referrals to other programs that are available.
For more information, contact Jessica King at the Valley Opportunity Council at 413-534-2466 or by email at [email protected].