CIRCLEVILLE — The City of Circleville is partnering with Pickaway County Community Action to provide rent and mortgage assistance to residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gayle Spangler, city auditor, said the city received CARES Act money to be used to help alleviate the impact from the pandemic and has decided to pass on some of that unused funding to the public. A program to aid small businesses inside the city limits has already begun.

“With the large amount of money we got, we didn’t think we could utilize it all, so we decided we wanted to use it for community grants and council passed the ordinance with two phases, the business phase and the residential phase,” Spangler explained. “We decided that we would partner with PICCA because this is their specialty and have them do the residential phase.”

Any resident of the city can apply for the funding and can qualify so long as they have a hardship due to reduction in work hours, furlough or loss of employment due to the pandemic. There are no income requirements.

“If they’re behind on their mortgage or their rent, they can apply for relief under this,” Spangler mentioned.

Becky Hammond, PICCA Executive Director, said they have a letter they’re going to send to all the financial institutions to let them know of the program. In addition, proof of the hardship, such as a paystub or notification of termination, a notification that they’re behind on their rent or mortgage payments and by how much and identification from the main applicant.

Hammond said they’d start the waiting list immediately.

“You will go on the waiting list but you won’t be marked complete until we have all the documentation that’s required,” she said. “We’ll go down that list as people complete their packet.”

Hammond said the funding will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis with individuals receiving up to $5,000 or four months worth of payments per household. You have to be the resident owner or for rent you have to have a landlord agreement.

“The payments will be made directly to either the mortgage holder or the landlords,” Hammond added.

Hammond said mortgages are something PICCA typically hasn’t handled in the past due to how expensive they are, but with the grant funding provided through the city, they’ll be able to help.

“We’re happy the city recognizes that this is something we have experience doing and they’re recognizing us for that,” she said. “The fact that the banks are involved with the mortgages is new to us and we’re excited to be able to provide a new service to people.”

Spangler, who sat on the PICCA board for years, said this is not something the city does and it was the right idea for them to handle the administration.

“It’s just not something the city does and it’s better for us to allow someone else to do it,” she said. “Ultimately, the money will come from us, but they’ll do all the screening and behind the scenes stuff.”

Spangler said they’ve got an initial pool of funding set up but they could add more depending on how much need there is for the program.

“We’ll see what the initial response is and if it’s a lot, we’ll go back and add more fund,” she remarked. “Council basically gave the ordinance to implement a program but did not say this much money or not to exceed it. They left it up to a committee to determine the amount. If the demand is huge, we’ll get together and decide on whether or not to increase it.”

To apply for the program, contact PICCA at 740-477-1655 or the program’s organizer, Fallon Kingery, community services director, at fkingery@picca.info.

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