LEWISTON — The number of emergency rental assistance applications reported as fraudulent in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties was low, according to a MaineHousing report.

Of the 351 cases reviewed through April 1, 22 allegations of fraud were made by Western Maine Community Action, which administers applications in Franklin County, and 13 by Community Concepts for Androscoggin and Oxford counties.

MaineHousing, the state agency that has run the $350 million Emergency Rental Assistance program since March 2021, has reported a total of 408 fraudulent applications that would have cost roughly $6.4 million.

The state’s 10 community action agencies administer the funds to local communities, and according to the report, have been responsible for flagging the vast majority of the fraud cases while processing applications.

MaineHousing spokesman Scott Thistle said Thursday that the agency is “grateful for the work the community action agencies are doing to prevent fraud.”

He said whether there were more or less fraud attempts in one area or another could be caused by a variety of factors, but added that the program has delivered more than $200 million in rent relief since March 2021, helping 26,000 households and more than 19,000 kids keep a roof over their heads.

“That work wouldn’t have been possible without the work being done by the folks at (Community Concepts) and all the other community action agencies,” he said.

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