Time is running out to apply for rent and utility assistance through the state's Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions program. 

Since October of 2020, the HOPE program has awarded $744 million to North Carolina households struggling to pay bills. But money for the initiative is running out sooner than anticipated. That's according to the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, which administers the program. 

In a news release, officials said they've received an influx of applications since Thanksgiving and projected that funds will be exhausted in the coming weeks. They opted to close the application period on Friday to ensure “applicants who apply by the deadline will get the help they need.” 

The program has now distributed funds to nearly 150,000 households, ranking it third in the nation according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. 

It serves 88 counties in North Carolina, excluding Guilford and Forsyth, which both have their own rental assistance programs. HOPE's closure does not affect those local programs.

Low-income renters who have been impacted by the pandemic are encouraged to apply online or by phone by Friday, December 17. 

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