COVID portal will be closing

MARQUETTE — The Michigan State Housing Development Authority said it will soon have enough applications through the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance program to restrict available funds, Community Action Alger-Marquette announced.

Applications for CERA through the online portal will stop being accepted as of 9 p.m. June 30. Michiganders with rent arrears should apply immediately for potential consideration. It is likely that more applications will be received than funds available, CAAM said in a news release, and applications submitted before the deadline will continue to be processed until all the available funds are used.

The CERA program, the agency noted, proved to be helpful for those facing economic hardship and potential eviction due to pandemic-related causes. Since the program’s introduction in March 2021:

≤ Over 250,000 applications were received for assistance statewide, with over 130,000 being approved.

≤ To date, over $750 million has been disbursed in assistance.

≤ Over 142,000 Michiganders have been helped by this assistance, with an average of about $5,600 per household.

≤ In Marquette and Alger counties, applications have been received and over $1.54 million disbursed.

“MSHDA and Community Action Alger-Marquette have put forth tremendous effort to made sure the CERA program was accessible for thousands of Michiganders,” said Kelly Rose, MSHDA’s chief housing solutions officer, in a statement. “Thanks to federal funding, we have been able to facilitate much needed peace of mind to residents, helping them catch up on their rent and utility costs while also ensuring landlords can recoup owed rent.

“Though that funding will be fully expended later this year, MSHDA and Community Action Alger-Marquette remain committed to helping residents with housing needs where possible.”

Once the CERA portal closes on June 30, residents who have not applied and are facing eviction should reach out to Community Action Alger-Marquette. Individuals seeking legal services can reach out to Michigan Legal Help for potentially free legal representation. MSHDA also is evaluating other eviction prevention funding options like HOME-ARP and the Housing and Community Development Fund.

Group supports vaccines for youngsters

Thomas Veverka, president of the Michigan State Medical Society, has issued a statement in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech three-dose vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years old, and the Moderna two-dose vaccine for children ages 6 months through 5 years old.

“The Michigan State Medical Society fully supports the FDA’s decision to authorize the use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children 5 and under,” Veverka said. “For nearly a year and a half now, a lot of families with very young children have been waiting anxiously for this day to come, so it’s a huge relief to finally be able to say almost every American can now receive the critical protection against COVID-19 that these vaccines offer.

“The FDA has properly studied the safety and efficacy of these vaccines in this age cohort and the results are clear: the benefits of the vaccine greatly outweigh any risks. The vaccine is safe, effective and the best way to keep our youngest children healthy and safe. We encourage parents everywhere to act to get their children vaccinated and protected as soon as possible.”

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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