CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — Since the pandemic, The Mountaineer Rental Assistance program has been a lifeline for people who have struggled to pay rent, but now the program is narrowing its qualifications to apply, according to a release sent Tuesday.

Now, according to the release, the new phase of assistance will only consider new, first-time applicants, meaning that anyone who has already received funding will not be accepted. The Rental Assistance Online Application portal will continue to take and process new applications until rental assistance funds are depleted, and then the program will end.

Applicants also must:

  • Monitor the online portal to ensure all requested documents have been received
  • Reply to any messages from their caseworkers. (Failure to do so could result in rejection.)
  • Have a landlord registered in the Mountaineer Rental Assistance system to receive rent associated with a tenant’s application.

Renters also have access to free legal services through the Legal Help for West Virginia Renters Program.

According to the release, the West Virginia Housing Development Fund will continue working with Legal Aid of West Virginia and other nonprofit community partners to address homelessness, prevent evictions, and create affordable housing.

The program has distributed more than $139 million and satisfied more than 45,000 claims through the West Virginia Housing Development Fund.

“The mission of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund is to increase the supply of and access to affordable housing for all of West Virginia,” Boggess said. “That has been our focus long before the Pandemic hit and will remain our focus in the future. We will continue working with other agencies and developers across the state to ensure all West Virginians have access to safe, affordable homes.”