ATLANTA — The state will distribute more than $552 million in federal coronavirus relief aid to landlords and tenants affected by the pandemic, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday.

“The effects of COVID-19 have hit many Georgians hard financially,” Kemp said in a prepared statement. “In addition to protecting lives, we have to protect livelihoods so that Georgians can continue to have economic opportunity. I am pleased to be able to provide this rental relief to renters and landlords who have been impacted the most.”

The state Department of Community Affairs will administer the program under U.S. Treasury guidelines that are still being developed. The money will go directly to landlords and utilities.

In general, households that qualify for unemployment benefits or have suffered a reduction in household income or other financial hardship due to the pandemic will be eligible for assistance.

Those at risk of homelessness or housing instability also will qualify for the program.

Georgians with household incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) will be eligible, while those below 50% of AMI will be given priority, as will people who have been unemployed for 90 days or longer.

Payments generally may not exceed 12 months, but some households may qualify for 15 months under certain circumstances.

The agency expects to launch a public application portal to the program next month. For more information on the program, click on www.GeorgiaRentalAssistance.ga.gov.

A federal eviction moratorium now in place has been extended until March 31. As a result, no one should be evicted solely for non-payment of rent at least until that date.

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