The coronavirus pandemic has hit Nevada hard. In March the state's GDP was down 8.2% for the quarter as many businesses throughout the state were forced to shut their doors. If you are one of the many people impacted by the shutdown, here are some places you can find financial assistance in Nevada.
Where to start
It can feel overwhelming when your bank account balance is dwindling and you don't know where the money to pay your bills will come from. If you're in that situation, here are some of the first steps you should take.
- File for unemployment in Nevada if you have not already done so. If you have been able to claim the extra $600 in federal pandemic unemployment benefits, try to save some of that cash to tide you over when those additional funds stop coming at the end of July.
- Go through your budget with a fine-tooth comb and look for any payments you can defer. Speak to your service providers and creditors, explain your situation, and see what help they can offer. Many banks are helping customers who have been impacted by the pandemic.
- Almost 20% of Americans who lost income due to the pandemic have taken money out of their savings accounts to help them through. If you have an emergency savings account, don't be afraid to use it.
Try to make use of any support programs you can find -- and apply for them even if you are not sure whether you qualify. This crisis will pass eventually, and every cent will help you stay afloat until it does.
Getting support in Nevada
The Nevada Legislature has put together a list of assistance resources for Nevadans, including healthcare, food, and small business support. Nevada 2-1-1 is also an excellent source of support and information.
What to do if you can't afford food in Nevada
You can access the state's benefit programs, including food, emergency cash, and healthcare, through Access Nevada.
The state's food benefits are called SNAP benefits, and once you've been approved, you will receive an EBT payment card for buying essential groceries from authorized retailers. It usually takes 30 days to process applications, but they can be processed more quickly if you are in dire need.
If you are pregnant or have very young children, you may also be eligible for the state's Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. It is also worth finding out what school meal support your county may be giving while schools are closed.
The state has a network of food banks and food pantries. Check out the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and Three Square, which operates in Southern Nevada. Three Square is operating drive-through distributions, offering help for seniors, and managing emergency food distribution sites.
What to do if you can't pay your rent or mortgage in Nevada
On June 25, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced a gradual end to the state's moratorium on evictions. You can't be evicted for non-payment of rent in Nevada until September 1, but residential evictions are now allowed in other circumstances. The governor encouraged landlords and tenants to use a Lease Promissory Note to try to resolve payment issues without going to court.
Details of the state's rental assistance program have not yet been fully released, but $50 million will be available to help those who have fallen behind with rent. Nevada is eighth on The Ascent's list of states where renters are struggling, and there is concern that unpaid rent in the state will total a lot more than that $50 million. Make sure you apply as soon as the program opens.
The CARES Housing Assistance Program is open to residents of Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Pershing, Storey, and White Pine who have lost income because of the pandemic.
In addition, the NRHA COVID-19 Emergency Assistance program is open until August 31, and provides one-time funding to eligible Nevada residents for rent, mortgage, or utility payments.
There is also some housing assistance and protection available at a national level. Use the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lookup functions to find out whether your mortgage or your landlord's mortgage is federally backed. This protects renters and homeowners until at least August 31.
If you are facing eviction, speak to Nevada Legal Services for free legal advice.
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