We know that many of apartment residents have suffered job and income loss during the pandemic and may struggle to pay rent. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some recommendations.
Talk to your housing provider! Don’t wait until you miss your rent payment to reach out.
They may be able to create a payment plan for you, defer some of your rent until you can access federal or charitable financial support or offer some other kind of accommodation.
NEW! Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program
In December, Congress approved $25 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance for residents suffering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. That money was distributed to the states, some localities and other eligible grantees at the end of January, and each grantee is charged with distributing it via existing or new programs. In March, Congress approved another $27.4 billion for rental assistance.
Who is Eligible?
Any household where at least one or more individual meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
- Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
- Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median.
Some states and localities may add prioritization factors as they distributed their limited funds.
How Much Assistance is Available?
Eligible households can receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional three months if necessary, to ensure housing stability. Assistance can only be allowed in three-month increments, after which an eligible household must re-apply for funds. The assistance can be used to cover rental payments and arrears beginning after March 13, 2020.
Funds are limited, however, and most states are allocating their funds on a first-come, first-served basis so it is important to apply as early as possible if you qualify.
How Do I Apply?
Since every state and participating locality is developing their own programs, there is no single application point or even a database of all the assistance programs. We encourage you to contact your property manager to learn how the program works in your area.
Where Can I Learn More?
The Treasury Department has issued Frequently Asked Questions on the program (https://bit.ly/3q4vmpm) as well as a list of grantees and how much funding they received (https://bit.ly/37YzPUh). An interactive map of state programs is available at https://bit.ly/302vfjn.
National Financial Resources for Residents
- 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.
- Rent Assistance
A directory of rental assistance agencies and organizations that can help residents pay their rent.
- 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).
State/Local Financial Resources
Many states and cities have created rental assistance programs. Check with your property manager to see if they are aware of programs operating in your area. They may also be able to provide you with information on other charitable organization that can help with food, child care, healthcare expenses and more.
This database from the National Low Income Housing Coalition offers some information on state and local programs.
Help Finding Work
- Need A Job Now
This website lists jobs from verified employers looking to fill positions now due to COVID-19.