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Arkansans are applying for rental assistance due to pandemic

Arkansas residents struggling through the pandemic are asking for help from the $173 million in rental assistance.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise and the pandemic roars on, families struggling through the pandemic are asking for help through the Arkansas rental assistance. 

The Mair family from Fort Smith detailed their struggle in obtaining their check from the application they sent in June after sending the required forms and waiting a few months. 

"We applied in June, it's now August and my electricity was just shut off," said the Mair family. "The eviction moratorium, even if it's happening or not, that doesn't change if you have a backlog in rent, you can still apply for this."

The Arkansas Department of Human Services Deputy Chief of Communications, Gavin Lesnick, told Channel 5 only $3.2 million of the $173 million of the rental assistance program has been used and that the department is not experiencing a backlog of applications. 

"It could be there is still missing documentation or something that's needed that hasn't been turned in," said Lesnick when asked about the Miar family's lack of assistance. "It may not be something on the family's side, it could be something we need from the landlord. Both parties need to participate and provide information."

Lesnick went on to explain that the application takes 10 to 14 days to be approved and four business days to receive a payment. 

Residents can apply for rental assistance through the Arkansas Department of Human Services' website. Separate funding has been devoted to Washington, Benton, and Pulaski counties. Residents in those counties can apply on the county's website. 

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