NMHC spent more than a year lobbying Congress to create a federal emergency rental assistance program to help renters negatively impacted by COVID-19 meet their financial obligations. To date, Congress has allocated more than $47 billion in funding for renters.
This page will help you understand if you are eligible and how to access funds.
Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program
The federal government is distributing billions of dollars in COVID-19 rental assistance through state and local programs around the country. If you’re having trouble paying your rent, utilities or other housing costs, we may be able to help you apply for benefits, charitable grants or other aid.
Who Is Eligible?
States and localities have established varying criteria for program eligibility. However, rent assistance funds are broadly available for those:
- Who have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
- Demonstrating a risk of losing their housing; and
- Meet certain income criteria specified by the program.
We encourage anyone experiencing a financial hardship to get more information about rent assistance - you may qualify.
What Does the Aid Cover?
Federal relief generally covers up to 12 months of rent, as back rent or future rent, paid up to three months at a time, depending on local rules and availability. Funds can also be used for:
- Utilities and home energy costs (e.g., electricity, gas, fuel oil, water and sewer, and trash removal.)
- Reasonable late fees (if not included in your rental or utility debt)
- Internet service to your home
- Moving expenses and other rental-related fees (such as security deposits, application fees, or screening fees) for families who have to move
How Does the Program Work?
Renters can apply for aid or apartment firms can apply on behalf of their residents. We encourage renters to reach out to their housing provider to see if they are participating in the program and are able to submit an application on your behalf. If they aren’t, you can still apply on your own.
How Do I Apply?
Programs that provide help with rent work in different ways, depending on how each state, local, or tribal government establishes its program. You may be able to apply for rental assistance yourself, or you may need to work with your landlord to submit the application
You can also find out where to apply for rental assistance in your area at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp/. If you can’t find a program in your area, call 2-1-1 or your local housing authority for assistance.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “Help for Renters” website
- New CFPB Rental Assistance Finder
- Treasury Department Rental Assistance Page – Provides links for programs active in each state
Additional Financial Resources for Renters
- Rent Assistance
A directory of rental assistance agencies and organizations that can help residents pay their rent.
The National Low-Income Housing Coalition also has a directory of rental assistance programs.
- Unemployment Insurance
If you are eligible for unemployment benefits, this site with help you learn how to apply for them as welfare or temporary assistance and other programs and services.
- United Way’s 211.org
By dialing 211 from any phone or visiting 211.org, you can search by zip code to access a hotline that connects you to emergency rent and utilities assistance, food assistance, relief for “gig economy” workers and contractors, mental health and other supportive services. All calls are confidential, can be made anonymously and callers can request translations services for 180 languages.
- HUD Renter Resources Page
Provides information on how to access HUD Disaster Response Network representatives to renters develop a personalize recovery assessment and action plan and connect them with additional services and support.
- HUD State Directory for Renters
Connects renters with state-specific programs to support them.
- Salvation Army
Searchable database of support services by zip code, city or state. They also offer counselors available via phone (in English and Spanish) to help people connect with local services—844-458-4673.
- Catholic Charities
Reliable source of financial support for housing and more. Residents can identify their local chapter to learn more.
- Resident Relief Foundation
Organization dedicated to helping responsible residents stay in their apartments during an unexpected financial emergency. You can apply for support, but managers can refer residents for financial aid.
- Community Action Agency
This resource will help residents find out what services they might be able to access locally, such as emergency payment assistance for rent or utilities.
- Help with Bills
Residents can learn about government programs to help pay for home energy bills and other expenses.
- Grantspace by Candid
Database of national and state grant funds available to help with a wide variety of situations, including special grants for occupations (e.g., nurses, bartenders, hospitality workers, freelancers, first responders) as well as needs (e.g., pet care expenses).