Nearly 2,000 get CARES Act help in Port Angeles

Utility, rent, mortgage relief provided with federal aid

PORT ANGELES — The city of Port Angeles has provided $386,822 in utility and rental assistance to nearly 2,000 who are struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic, the City Council heard this week.

City Manager Nathan West announced Tuesday that the city had received an additional $294,300 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for its utility, rent and mortgage-assistance programs.

The council voted to ratify a contract amendment for the new funding.

“It does in fact extend the deadline to Nov. 30, which was previously Oct. 31, for spending of CARES Act,” West told the City Council on Tuesday.

“We’re extremely grateful for the additional time frame, and I know that our citizens and ratepayers will also be grateful for the additional dollar amount.”

Early in the pandemic, city staff identified $250,000 in contingency funds to provide utility relief for residents and businesses and $50,000 in sales tax revenue for residential rental assistance during COVID-19.

Clallam County received a $4.2 million traunch of CARES Act funding for needs related to the pandemic.

Of that, $89,900 was diverted to Port Angeles utility customers, renters and home owners.

The $386,822 in new CARES Act money was dispersed Monday by the state Department of Commerce, West said.

“I think that’s a really significant number, and I hope that we are making a major impact based on that council directive to really get that relief out there to our taxpayers and ratepayers,” West said.

Clallam County and its partners identified six priorities for CARES Act spending — public health, business support, rental and utility assistance, support for the homeless population, child care and food security.

The city of Port Angeles has provided utility grants ranging from $24 to $250, depending on household size, income and type of residence, and rent- and mortgage-assistance payments of $300 to $500.

“So far, we’ve provided over 1,800 utility credits,” West said Tuesday.

“Additionally, we’ve provided over $60,000 in rental assistance with over 150 rental credits at this point.”

The city launched a mortgage-assistance program last week and processed 11 early applications, West said.

“We anticipate that the mortgage assistance will also be a very popular program,” West said.

For information on the city’s COVID-19 financial assistance programs, visit cityofpa.us.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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