PHOENIX — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey held a news conference on the state's latest efforts to combat the coronavirus.
Governor Ducey announced that the state will provide free masks for those most at risk for the coronavirus and that an additional $50,000,000 will be deposited to the public health fund. He also announced that he is extending the "eviction moratorium" delaying residential evictions until October 31.
Ducey says those 65 or older, and people who have underlying health conditions will be able to apply online to get five free masks sent to them starting on Friday.
On Thursday morning, state health officials reported 3,259 new coronavirus cases in the state, as well as an additional 58 deaths.
There is a total of 134,613 confirmed coronavirus cases within the state, Thursday data shows.
"This [executive order] will allow families to be relieved and allow us the necessary time to deliver the benefits in the systems," said Bruce Liggett, Director of Maricopa County's Human Services division.
The benefits are key, because while Governor Ducey's Executive Order delays evictions, it alone does not solve the issues of payment.
But the government, both state and local are working to prevent evictions.
Maricopa County announced it has begun accepting applications for rental assistance totaling $30 million. Households will be eligible for $1,500 per month for a total of three months. Payments will be made directly to landlords.
Twelve different agencies around the county are accepting and processing applications. While eligibility is income-based, the requirements are less than its typical assistance programs to get the funds out more quickly to a greater number of people. They estimate the funds will help 6,000 residents.
"These are families who have to demonstrate they were financially impacted by COVID - either lost their job, reduced hours or other expenses, like caregiving, to qualify for this," said Liggett. "And we know those families are struggling."
If you have documentation showing COVID's led to lost pay or increased expenses, you need to apply for rental assistance.
The new executive order actually requires you apply and provide the landlord a copy, in order to stay the eviction.
Governor Ducey noted that because of the additional $600 a week in federal unemployment, people should be up-to-date on rent payments.
"The eviction order is not there so that they don't pay their rent. It's there so that they don't lose their place to live," he said.
The real question will be how many will need assistance next month - once the weekly federal cash is gone?
Governor Ducey also announced a 5 million dollar program Thursday to assist homeowners who rent their properties, so they avoid foreclosures.