The COVID-19 pandemic has been a financial nightmare for millions of Americans. If you need help with rent and are experiencing financial hardships because of the pandemic, you could get some much-needed rental relief through emergency aid provided by the government. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is a federal aid program available in all 50 states, U.S. territories and tribal lands.
The U.S. government has roughly $25 billion in emergency housing assistance set aside to help vulnerable populations and low-income Americans remain in their homes. The pandemic has caused widespread unemployment, furloughs and layoffs, making it difficult for many families to pay their housing costs. If you are struggling to pay your rent, you could qualify for free money from the government to help you stay in your home.
Each state offers this pandemic rental assistance program under a different name, but the program essentially operates in the same way across the country.
It is a federally funded program, which means the federal government provides states and local entities with money, which can then be disbursed to applicants in that area to help them pay rent.
To receive emergency housing assistance through this program, you must meet a few program requirements. The specific criteria will vary depending on where you live.
Generally, to qualify for rental assistance through this program, you or someone in your household must meet all of the following criteria:
- Receiving or eligible to receive unemployment benefits, or has experienced a significant decrease in income or a severe financial hardship due to COVID-19, AND
- At risk of homelessness or housing instability, AND
- Total income at or below 80% of the area’s median income.
Like the Section 8 program, emergency rental assistance is prioritized for those who have preferences. These are individuals who are considered extremely low income (at or below 50% of the area’s median income) or those who have been unemployed for a period of at least 90 days.
If you believe you qualify for emergency rental assistance through this program, you can apply directly with your state, U.S. territory or tribe. Depending on where you live, you may be able to apply online or in person.
Those who qualify can receive rental assistance for up to 12 months. However, some states, territories or tribes may provide extensions in extenuating circumstances. If you need assistance for more than 12 months, it may be best to contact your state, territory or tribal office to inquire about additional aid programs.
By Admin –