Are you struggling to pay rent and fear you might face an eviction? If so, you’re not alone. COVID-19 caused about 40 million people in the United States to face losing their homes due to their inability to make payments. This stemmed from more than 22 million Americans losing their jobs. If you’re one of the people who have struggled to pay rent, don’t worry. The Emergency Rental Assistance program can help you. But what is Emergency Rental Assistance Program? We’ll go into everything you need to know below. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is the Emergency Rental Assistance Program?
The Emergency Rental Assistance program came about as a response to the ongoing need to help Americans pay for their rent.
In late 2020, the Federal government recognized the need to help Americans out of this housing crisis. On December 27th, 2020, they enacted Emergency Rental Assistance 1 (ERA1), which provides up to $25 billion in rental assistance. ERA1 payments were distributed to state governments and territories with more than 200,000 residents, including Native American tribes, U.S. territories, and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. 90% of ERA1 funds must be used on housing costs and the program expires on September 30th, 2022.
The next round of aide came via Emergency Rental Assistance 2 (ERA2) which was enacted on March 11th, 2021. It set aside an additional $2.5 billion for very low-income people struggling to pay housing and utilities expenses.
In addition to both ERA1 and ERA2, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 included another $21.55 billion to Emergency Rental Assistance programs.
Am I eligible for emergency rental assistance?
To be eligible for emergency rental assistance, you must meet the following criteria:
- Have an agreement to pay rent for your home or mobile home
- At least one member of your household has:
- Qualified for unemployment or suffered significant costs or financial hardship due to COVID-19.
- Lost income
- Owed large expenses, OR
- Had other financial hardships
- Your total household income is below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), based on where you live. People with incomes below 50% of the AMI will be prioritized.
How do I apply for emergency rental assistance?
You can apply through your local ERA program. To find rental assistance in your area and assistance with applications, visit:
- The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s ERA program finder, or
- The National Low-Income Housing Coalition database of programs
If you cannot find any program in your area, call 2-1-1 or your local housing authority for assistance.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program FAQs
You can consult the Treasury Department’s FAQs, which details information on rental assistance funds.
The National Multi-Family Housing Council (NMHC) is also continually updating their Rental Assistance FAQ page.
Don’t lose hope
The Emergency Rental Assistance program saves Americans struggling from the impacts of COVID-19. When you qualify for the program, you will get funds to help you keep get by until your situation improves. Having this extra cash gives you time to get back up on your feet and recover from the results of the pandemic.