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$117 million available to help North Carolinians behind on bills due to the coronavirus pandemic

Thousands are still without jobs and struggling to pay bills. The H.O.P.E program aims to help.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The pandemic led to job losses and that loss led many to have trouble paying their bills.

 It's been months, and many are still struggling but there's good news.

$117 million is now available to help people get caught up.

Folks can get funding for up to six months.

You can apply by dialing 211 by phone, but it could be a while before you speak to anyone.

The North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency is paying out the federal money.

They suggest you apply online.

Go to NC211 to apply.

Before you begin make sure you qualify.

- You must be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

- Be a renter with your name on the lease.

- Make below 80 percent the median income for your county or area.

You should also be ready to upload these documents:

-A government issued ID

-A lease

- Current monthly household income

-  Utility bills.

Program chief operating officer Laura Hogshead said the 7 page application takes about 15 minutes.

“You then get referred to the community partner in your area,” Hogshead said. “They help you with the rest of your documentation, they help with case management and questions and they cut the check.”

RELATED: Applications open for new rent and utility assistance program

The money goes directly to the landlord or utility company.

“The landlords are agreeing to not evict you for the period of assistance plus 90 days or the end of the lease which ever is longer.” Hogshead said.

Hogshead said community partners are assigned on a first come first serve basis.

Once you're assigned one, getting the money only takes a few days.

If you're denied, there's an appeal process you can work through.  

Applications will be accepted until the money is gone.

Thirty five hundred people have applied since the site opened yesterday.