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Monroe residents receive money for rent and utilities from rental assistance program

The city has reportedly helped about 50 people during the COVID-19 pandemic
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 6:18 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A lot of people are behind on rent due to the pandemic, but there is help out there. In fact, Monroe has already used some of its covid relief money to help 50 renters.

“I’m so blessed and I’m grateful I’m still here,” said Monroe resident Tonya Rayford.

Covid-19 did a number on her.

“I had COVID twice. And so that kind of put me behind as far as being able to work,” said Rayford.

The customer service representative was in excruciating pain and out of work for weeks each time.

“Your body is in so much pain and I actually did not eat anything. The only thing I could take was popsicles and fruit cups,” Rayford explained.

The money wasn’t flowing in—and she began to stress out.

“How am I going to make this happen, [make] ends meet. Because I have a 17-year-old son. He’s my world, and I’m just thinking, like, what am I going to do,” Rayford recalled.

Unable to pay her nearly $700 monthly rent, she applied for the city of Monroe’s rental assistance program.

They were able to cover, $1,900, the cost for three months.

“So, you had to have lost hours, lost your job. Perhaps you had COVID so you had to have quit working,” said Monroe Planning and Urban Development Director Ellen Hill when she explained how the program works to KNOE last week.

The city has helped dozens of people just like Tonya.

Hill said there’s even more money available to help others.

“I just thank them so much for helping me in my time of need. Because it could have been way different. I could have been homeless. But because of community help, me and my son are still on our home, so I’m just so grateful for that,” said Rayford.

If you don’t qualify for the program and are at risk of homelessness, the city will work to connect you with an agency that can help.

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