SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Keeping up with the bills has been a struggle for many during the pandemic, but January’s infusion of $8.7 Million from the U.S. Treasury to Chatham County helped hundreds stay afloat. “The project originally assisted with 90 days of back-owed rent, or back-owed utilities, and now has extended to the possibility of a full twelve months of assistance,” Jennifer Darsey, vice president of direct services and impact at The United Way of the Coastal Empire.
The United Way is in charge of getting those federal COVID relief funds from the county to the people who need it. Darsey says don’t be fooled by the recent positive news on the COVID front. “Right now we’re really in pandemic recovery. So, 12 to 16 months of pandemic certainly doesn’t end the moment that mask mandates and vaccinations are on the table,” she tells News 3. Since January the Untied Way has handed out $2 million in emergency rental assistance, and utility assistance. On Friday the county is expected to approve $1 million more.
“People who struggled the entire time through the pandemic weren’t able to pay their rent, weren’t able to pay their utilities; now those things are being owed.”
The ERA program will likely be extended until at least September of 2022 by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners Friday, maintaining a safety net until we know the extent of the pandemic fallout.