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Those in Shelby County with past due rent and utility bills can apply to have them paid in full

Applicants must have someone in their household who lost income due to the pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County families struggling to pay past due rent and utility bills due to financial hardship during the pandemic can apply to have them paid in full. 

Shelby County Emergency Services has opened its application for emergency rent and utility assistance. If approved, the organization will pay 100% of your past due bills directly to your landlord or MLGW. 

Applicants can apply through home901.org or by calling 211. You are eligible to apply if someone in the household had a financial loss due to Covid-19, you are past due on rent or utilities, or your household income is under 80% of the county's median income. 

Jacquie McCorkle is nearly $4,000 behind in rent and utility payments due to her husband losing his job during the pandemic. Both are back at work now but are struggling to afford basic such as groceries.

"It’s like every time the majority of my paycheck goes to paying either the light bill or paying the rent bill and just trying to catch up," McCorkle said.

McCorkle has applied for several grants to get rent assistance but has only received some to cover utilities. She applied for a Shelby County Emergency Services grant in August and she is hopeful after applying again on Monday she will receive some financial relief. 

"Since then unfortunately we’ve gotten further behind and you know because on top of our actual rent being due, we also have late fees from not being able to pay on time and the late fees get late fees," McCorkle said. "It just gets bigger and bigger every time you turn around."

With rising rent costs in Memphis, she and her family can't find anywhere else safe and affordable to live.

"There is nowhere even close to what we are currently paying let alone more affordable because everywhere else is ridiculously high on rent," McCorkle said.