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Rental and Utility Assistance

CERA: (COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program)


The State of Michigan’s COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“the Program”) is designed to keep Michigan residents who fell behind on their rent and utilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in their homes. The program utilizes a collaborative community process to expedite rental and utility assistance to COVID-19 affected tenants and their landlords.


Assistance available is rental arrearages and utility arrearages including internet.

There does not need to be rental arrearages in order to receive assistance for utilities

Must be a renter.  Homeowners do not qualify.



  • Tenant household income must be no more than 80% of Area Median
  • One or more individual in the household currently or at some point after March 13, 2020, to qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income or incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the corona virus outbreak, and
  • The household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include a: past due utility notice or past due rent notice (including a ledger showing rent arrears or a Notice to Quit) or an eviction notice



  • Rental assistance does not need to be provided to assist with utility, energy, or internet costs.
  • Landlords and owners may apply on behalf of tenants meeting the eligibility requirements, so long as: o the tenant cosigns the application and provides required documentation to the landlord to be included with the application, o the landlord provides information on the rental assistance payment to the tenant and o the payments are used to satisfy the tenant’s rental obligation to the owner.
  • Rental, utility, and internet assistance can only be paid for amounts due on or after March 13, 2020.
  • Tenants will only be eligible to participate in the CERA program one time unless there are insufficient applications to fully spend down the funding.
  • SER applications are not required to qualify for Program assistance. o SER applications are encouraged for households that are below 50% of AMI and have rental arrearages that exceed program limits.
  • College students are eligible for Program assistance so long as they are named on the lease.



  • Generally, the HARA will be the first point of contact for the tenant. The tenant’s first contact may also be with legal aid or a court, which should refer the client to the HARA.
  • Landlord and tenant applications will be completed.
  • The HARA will collect the required documentation to determine eligibility.
  • Every tenant with a court case should be evaluated for Legal Services. This should be relayed to the tenant as part of the Program process.
  • Tenants without court cases may still be evaluated for Legal Services if the HARA believes there are any significant repair issues with the housing, or disagreements between tenant and landlord about terms of the lease or amount owed. This should be relayed to the tenant as part of the assistance process.
  • The HARA and Legal Services (if involved in the case) will work with the Court and the landlord on the proposed resolution.
  • The resolution will be documented either in a Conditional Dismissal Order (through the court) or Settlement Statement (pre-court cases).


Call Gogebic- Ontonagon Community Action at 906-667-0283 ext 18 or 30 for more information

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Michigan Western Gateway Trail Authority meeting to be held virtually.

Due to the coronavirus the Michigan Western Gateway Trail Authority will have a virtual meeting.


  • If you have any issues with attending the meeting virtually due to ADA difficulties, please contact the clerk 48 hours before the meeting. Individuals can call 711 for relay support.
  • You have the right to participate in a meeting of a public body held electronically includes the right to tape-record, to videotape, to broadcast live on radio, and to telecast live on television the proceedings of the public body at a public meeting. The exercise of this right does not depend on the prior approval of the public body. However, a public body may establish reasonable rules and regulations to minimize the possibility of disrupting the meeting.
  • A public body may not require a person as a condition of participating in a meeting of the public body held electronically to register or otherwise provide his or her name or other information or otherwise to fulfill a condition precedent to attendance, other than mechanisms necessary to permit the person to participate in a public comment period of the meeting.
  •  A person must be permitted to address a meeting of a public body held electronically under rules established and recorded by the public body. A person must not be excluded from a meeting held electronically otherwise open to the public except for a breach of the peace actually committed during the meeting.
  • During a meeting of a public body held electronically, members of the public body are urged to take all votes by roll call to avoid any questions about how each member of the public body votes.
  • If a public body holding a meeting electronically directly or indirectly maintains an official internet presence, the public body needs to make available to the general public through the public body’s website homepage an agenda and other materials relating to the meeting within 18 hours of the meeting.
  • Members of the general public otherwise participating in a meeting of a public body held electronically may be excluded from participation in a closed session of the public body held electronically during that meeting if the closed session is convened and held in compliance with the requirements of the OMA applicable to a closed session.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 875 6673 3234
Passcode: 943714
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Lead Copper Rules

To abide by the Lead Copper Rules implemented by the State of Michigan, the City of Bessemer is seeking to borrow funds to replace certain private water lines. To find out more information and provide feedback, visit

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Update to Coronavirus Plan

Due to the new orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the City of Bessemer has updated our coronavirus response plan. There should be very change to the way residents have been interacting with the city. We do have one worker still in the office to take cash payments and frequently check the dropbox. In person appointments will have to switch to over the phone or zoom as two of our three city hall workers are working from home. There may also be a slight delay in us returning your phone calls but we have updated our phones to minimize this issue.

The library plan will be updated and sent out soon. The library is currently open for curbside pickup only. Melissa is able to help with printing and other needs if you give her a call.

We thank you for your patience through these ever changing times and hope that you and your loved ones can stay healthy.

To view the updated plan click here.