EAST LANSING, Mich. — Some people who are out of work because of the pandemic are having to choose between putting food on the table and paying the rent or mortgage, but one city here in Mid-Michigan is offering them some help.
The City of East Lansing is using money from the federal government to help struggling people pay the rent or mortgage.
City leaders tell FOX 47 they're hoping to keep it going until the pandemic ends.
"Half of the job within the past few weeks has been 'how do we help folks? What are the needs of the community and how can we meet those needs?'" said Mayor Pro-Tem Aaron Stephens.
The new initiative is a result of the CARES Act; since the City of East Lansing has an influx of cash, it can give struggling rent and mortgage payers a bit of relief.
"The money became available, and the truth is we all knew where priorities were," said Stephens. "We need to help those that are most vulnerable...small businesses that are struggling, people that can't pay rent."
Applicants can get up to $2,000 to help pay for their rent or mortgage.
Stephens says he hopes they can give out extra funds as long as the pandemic lasts.
"It's not going to be one month...It's going to be two or three months. We're looking at the people that are definitely struggling."
The city is getting some help implementing the plan from the Capital Area Housing Partnership.
"This program is incredibly difficult to do, they have a lot of experience with helping out with housing issues in the community so they were willing to help out, which is great," said Stephens.
But he says there's a lot of work left to do during the coronavirus pandemic.
"There's no one solution to all of this," said Stephens. "All this was about was finding new ways to help with new problems."
The Assistance Program will be discussed in two public hearings, May 12 and 26, before it will be voted on.
The city is also accepting applications for its Downtown Development Authority Business Relief Program.
Up to 100 businesses can apply for a grant of $2,500. You can apply for the grant here.
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