Rental Assistance During COVID-19: How to Get Help
Many of our members are facing the threat of losing their homes because of the pandemic. In late December, a relief bill was passed to help households at risk of becoming homeless due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or someone you know is affected, find out how you can get rental assistance.
Rental Assistance During the Pandemic
The Coronavirus has hit American families hard, on many different levels. As the virus continues spreading (the U.S. is averaging over 3,000 deaths each day), businesses have had to temporarily shut down or close altogether and lay off workers. Without a steady income, this is putting many households at risk of losing their homes.
In late December 2020, lawmakers passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, which included $25 billion to help households that are at risk of becoming homeless due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The money is given to States, U.S. territories, local governments, and Indian tribes (eligible grantees) to be used to assist eligible households or rental assistance programs.
The money can be used for rent (current or past due), utility services (current or past due), and other expenses related to housing. Funds will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers.
Do You Qualify for Rental Assistance?
To see if you qualify for this assistance, you’ll need to meet at least one of these 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
- Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median. However, states have been instructed to prioritize applicants at or below 50 percent of the area median.
Apply for Rental Assistance
To apply for rental assistance, you must go through programs established by eligible grantees. To find such a program in your area, contact your state housing authority site. Also, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has a webpage with information specifically for renters experiencing hardship because of COVID.
If you’re worried about being able to pay your rent or utilities during this extremely difficult time, know that there is help. Seek out the assistance available to you through your state and local governments.