Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

WYO HELP reaches $150,000 in local rental assistance


October 14, 2021

Since she began helping locals in need seek assistance back in May, Elise Hanslip of WYO HELP says she has managed to secure around $150,000 in rental support for Crook County residents alone.

Hanslip visited the Sundance City Council last week to offer an overview of her agency and how it can provide a bridge between people who are in financial need and funding designed specifically for those who have been affected by the pandemic.

WYO HELP can offer assistance with everything from food to mental health, she said, “But my main job is for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).”

Since May, she said, her personal success rate in securing funding for community members is sitting at 72%, but many of her applications are still pending. By the time all have been approved, she is expecting that rate to jump to 98%.

Hanslip has only seen a couple of applications “rightfully denied,” she said, one due to income and the other because the property was rent-to-own.

For ERAP assistance, she told the council, an applicant must rent their home, have a household income less than 80% of the area median income, qualify for unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 impacts and be at risk of homelessness or housing instability. The program can cover 100% of rent as well as such things as electricity and propane for up to 15 months, she said.

Hanslip told the story of assisting one client who is 20 years old and has been homeless since he was 14. Despite having a stable job, he was living in his car.

Hanslip told him she would pay his rent and deposit if he promised to stay employed.

“This kid is so grateful…I feel like I’ve given him a chance,” she said.

Hanslip also asked the council if it would be ok for her to contact City Hall if she has a client who is in danger of having their utilities switched off but is to receive ERAP help. She asked the council to consider waiving late fees and leaving the water connected for tenants who are struggling.

Mayor Paul Brooks thanked Hanslip for the work she is doing, especially in a time where there is a “crunch on workforce labor housing.” The community needs that labor force, he said, so her assistance is appreciated.

To find out more about assistance, contact Hanslip at [email protected] or call 307-532-0269. Ex 28.


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