More than $1 million of COVID-19 assistance is available for low-income Winston-Salem residents who've fallen behind on their housing payments.

The Rent, Utilities, and Mortgage Assistance program (RUMA) provides nearly $740,000 for mortgage assistance and half a million dollars for rent and utilities.

To be eligible, residents must be at least one month behind on their payments, adversely impacted by the pandemic, and have a household income that's 80 percent or less than the area median. The home or apartment must also have been their primary residence for at least three months.

RUMA provides up to six months of past due or future financial assistance and offers counseling and financial case management for 90 days.

Applications for the federally funded program are now being accepted, and residents are encouraged to apply online.

A second program focusing only on rent and utility relief will begin next week.

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