Rental assistance programs have become a necessity to keep people in their homes. Approximately 8 million families spent fifty percent of their incomes on utilities and rent before the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past few months, the pandemic’s economic crisis has intensified the situation. As a result, forty percent of American households are grappling with the loss of wages.
Rental assistance is critical to address housing cost burdens and preserve housing stability. Therefore, rental assistance programs are pivotal to keeping citizens housed. As unemployment benefits gradually expire, the situation demands action.
What Are Rental Assistance Programs?
Local and state programs are issuing billions in rental assistance to aid tenants to stay housed amid the pandemic. These programs aim to assist tenants and landlords to stay afloat as the economic fallout persists. If you are a tenant struggling with your rent payments and utility bills, help is available. In addition, if you are a landlord trying to make ends meet, help is available.
Local, State And Federal Rental Assistance
Local, state, and federal programs are receiving applications daily from landlords and tenants. They disburse funds from the emergency rental assistance (ERA) program. Many think that these programs only target renters, but they also accommodate landlords. We commonly know it as the CARES Act. The primary funding under the CARES Act at the disposal of ERA is:
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG-CV): offers ERA up to six months
Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF): emergency rental fund in response to Covid-related wage and job losses
Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG-CV): for homelessness response specifically by preventing eviction
CDC Eviction Moratorium: provides a stopgap measure to ensure they stable house tenants
What Are The Eligibility Criteria?
Eligibility for housing assistance programs is subject to family income. Immigration status and citizenship are needed. However, although a family may be eligible, help is not guaranteed. Because of funding limits, these programs only serve a fraction of the population.
The basis of income eligibility is on median income. These income limits include low-income families with income levels below eighty percent of the median income. In addition, those whose income falls below fifty percent and thirty percent of the median income can apply. Remember that median income varies by state. Check your local resources to determine if you qualify.
Who Qualifies For Rental Assistance?
Those that qualify for assistance are US citizens and those with Green Card. However, a household can qualify for prorated aid when it is a mixed family. Some programs only serve special populations.
For instance, the 202 program targets elderly families. Section 811 serves persons with disabilities. Also, under Section 8 HVC, some vouchers are for homeless veterans and children’s welfare systems.
Renters Can Apply
As a renter, you are eligible for aid when you meet the following requirements:
You are housed in a rental unit within the community covered by the program
At least one member of any household is eligible for an unemployment benefit
Income reduction, or financial hardship related to the pandemic
If you have received past due utility, rent, or eviction notice or facing household instability
Household income is below eighty percent of the median income for the area
Landlords Can Apply
Landlords can also apply. They must meet the following conditions:
Forfeit all penalties, court costs, and interest related to renting incurred from April 2020.
The program covers up to one hundred dollars monthly as late fees. Landlords will forfeit late fees, surpassing the one-hundred-dollar threshold.
No eviction of renters for past due rent before the pandemic and sixty days after the program. “For cause” evictions permitted.
For-cause evictions exclude ‘owner wants possession and rent non-payment. Lease non-renewal excluded. Evictions for violation of health and safety also permitted. Also included are lease violations and peaceful use of the property.
How Do I Apply For ERA?
First, confirm that your household meets the eligibility criteria above. After that, compile your documents using the application checklist. Renters need to inform their landlords of their intention to seek funding.
Your landlord will have to complete a section on the application. This will speed processing time. Information sharing between the two parties is critical to the approval of your application. With this information, visit your State or local government’s application portal to register and create a profile. A helpful website to get you started is home.treasury.gov.
Registration, Forms And Documents
After registration, fill out the forms and upload the documents required to support your claims. Make sure you have all income related statements on hand. Next, submit your present contact information, including your phone number and email address.
Once your application rates 100% complete, it will prompt you to submit. Both the renter and the landlord will receive an email confirmation. If further information is needed, they will ask you for it at this time. They assign the applications to case managers for review.
Case Managers Will Reach Out
Case managers will reach out to landlords and tenants through the application portal to collect any additional information. Email confirmation upon approval. The amount remitted to your landlord will be indicated.
Landlords will receive rental assistance in favor of the tenant in a check or via an electronic cash transfer. Subsequently, utility payments are directed to utility providers in favor of the applicant.
What Does ERA Cover?
A household may collect up to twelve months of payments in rent arrears accrued after March 13th, 2020. Moreover, they also qualify for three months of additional help when the household spends more than thirty percent of its income on rent. In addition, they may receive up to twelve months of utility help.
They channel directly these payments to the landlord and the utility providers in favor of the tenants.
Get Help with Rent and Find Housing Assistance Programs
Many people out there are struggling to make their rent payments every month. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry–you’re not alone.
We are now going to discuss how you can get rental help. We will also talk about some of the housing assistance programs available in your area. So don’t despair – there is help available.
State and Local Government Organizations That Help Pay Rent
The state and local government organizations help pay rent, security deposits, water bills, energy costs, and other housing-related expenses. These programs are free, and they will never ask you for a penny. They can also help people who have an eviction notice on their door.
If you’re unsure where to look for help paying rent, we recommend beginning with your local Department of Human Services. They will provide you with information about the programs, grants, and assistance available in your area. You can also call them directly if you need their phone number.
Housing Assistance from Charities and Non-Profits
If you’ve been trying to figure out how to get help with rent, then you might have checked into some of the more well-known charities already.
However, we want to encourage you to keep looking because there are a lot of smaller charities that offer housing assistance programs as well. They usually provide their clients with rental assistance and funds to make their current payments.
We live in a very generous society, and we believe everyone should get back on their feet if they fall on hard times. That’s why we strongly encourage you to keep looking for help with your rent until you find a free program that will work for you. You will thank us later.
Short Term Rent Help
Some places will help you out even if you’re not in an emergency. For example, some agencies focus on helping people who have recently moved into a new apartment or home.
If you’ve just moved into your place and need some money to pay for the first month’s rent or deposit cost, then you might get an unrestricted grant from one of these organizations.
They usually give these programs and grants out in vouchers or gift cards you can exchange for cash at any bank. So, don’t feel embarrassed if you need some help paying your moving costs. This type of assistance is there for people in your situation.
Rental Assistance from Federal Government Organizations or Grants
The federal government also helps low-income families with their rent. Several agencies do this, so don’t feel overwhelmed. We recommend looking for rental assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development first.
After you’ve done that, keep looking because there might be other organizations or regulatory bodies where you live that provide housing assistance to low-income families.
Its Worth the Effort
We realize that this is a tough time for your family. But, right now, you can change your life around by applying for some free grants and assistance programs. So please make sure you take the steps to get back on your feet. You will be glad you did because you are much better off in your own home even though it’s tough.
You can’t go wrong when you apply for rental assistance. It’s quick to use, and very helpful. So regardless of your situation – if you are on the verge of eviction or about to lose your home – don’t give up hope because help is available.
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