Whats Available How To Qualify And Where To Apply
The COVID-19 pandemic put government assistance programs into overdrive, as many people who never needed them before now had to use them. Heres a descriptive list of major government assistance programs for individuals and businesses, with links to where and how to apply to them and applicable deadlines.
Details On The Subsidized Housing Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Subsidized Housing Emergency Rental Assistance , is a federally-funded emergency rental assistance program which allows qualified Public / Local Housing Authorities and owners of affordable housing properties to apply online for Emergency Rental Assistance on behalf of multiple residents in a single application to expedite relief for residents.
Participating owners commit to divert evictions through industry best practices and a six-month protection against eviction for non-payment of rent for participating residents. These steps are essential in ensuring stable housing for residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Households must provide a statement attesting to unemployment, decreased wages, or increased expenses due to COVID-19. COVID-19 impact can be indirect, and include cases where a household was either directly impacted by COVID-19 OR has been affected by related issues since March 2020. This could include losing a job, having hours reduced, losing access to childcare or dependent care, seeing increased expenses, or something else. Documentation is not required.
SHERA can cover the tenants portion of unpaid rent for up to 18 months, beginning on or after April 1, 2020. For assistance with unpaid rent from other periods or with expenses such as overdue utility bills, renters are encouraged to apply for assistance directly through their local Regional Administering Agency .
The Supportive Housing For The Elderly Program
This is a special program that was established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for elder citizens who are 62 years of age or older and who need housing support. Older citizens who are about to lose their homes or require housing assistance are qualified for this benefit. Beneficiaries of this program will be living in independent living-type apartments. These apartments provide transportation, food, and housekeeping services for their tenants. The length of the stay differs depending on the current economic situation of the beneficiaries. To learn more, please go to or contact 1 800 955 2232.
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Recoupment And Reallocation Of Era1 Funds
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which established and provided $25 billion for ERA1, directed Treasury to recapture and reallocate excess ERA1 funds beginning on September 30, 2021.
On October 4, Treasury published guidance outlining how it plans to recoup and redistribute these funds, emphasizing that Treasury intends to direct resources to grantees that have been successful in administering the program and to those areas with the highest need.
On January 7, 2022, Treasury announced the first round of reallocation of “excess” ERA1 funds. During this first round, Treasury will disburse over $1.1 billion in ERA1 funds, 75 percent of which are significant, one-time voluntary transfers between ERA1 grantees located wtihin the same state.
According to the guidance, Treasury is taking the following approach to recapturing and reallocating “excess” ERA1 funds:
Eviction Moratorium Plus Rent Relief
The CDC extension of the eviction moratorium through July 31, 2021, and targeted eviction moratorium through Oct. 3, 2021, may have played a pivotal role when combined with rent relief made available by various pieces of legislation. Even though a Supreme Court ruling effectively ended the eviction moratorium on Aug. 26, 2021.
Although recent COVID-19 relief bills, including the American Rescue Plan, provide billions of dollars in rent relief, there was concern that that money would not be available in time to help the more than five million people the U.S. Census Bureau says currently experience housing insecurity.
Landlord and housing industry groups supported rent assistance while opposing an extension of the eviction moratorium, which they said deprived landlords of the right to evict. Nonetheless, the extension plus assistance may have provided long-term help for both sides.
The FHFA, on July 28, 2021, announced protections for tenants of multifamily properties with loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Whether or not the loan is in forbearance, landlords must give tenants 30 days’ notice before being forced to leave.
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Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Loans
For mortgage loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has extended the foreclosure moratorium on real estate owned evictions until Sept 30, 2021. REO properties are bank-owned properties that were seized as a result of default.
Meanwhile, the Secretaries of USDA, HUD, VA, Treasury, and FHFA Acting Director extended foreclosure moratoriums for those agencies through Sept. 30, 2021.
Are Renters Paying Rent During Covid
This begs the questionare renters paying rent? showed a slight downward trend but was otherwise not far off the mark from normal rates pre-COVID. Heading into May, initial data suggested the renters were prioritizing paying rent despite gloomy industry forecasts, and a full analysis of payment behavior during the May grace period revealed renters who could pay were doing so, while operators continued to offer payment plans. Ultimately, rent payments are holding steady compared to the average, but the months ahead are less clear.
The multifamily outlook from here on out is rooted in economic uncertainty, both when it comes to renters ability to pay rent and operators ability to remain flexible with renters. Even though the government is supplying affected renters with stimulus payments and supplemental employment benefits, theres no telling whether they will continue to put that money toward rent or other essentials, not to mention that funding will eventually run dry.
As Doug Bibby, president of the National Multifamily Housing Council , explains,
For that reason, lawmakers need to act now to enact a direct renter assistance program.
More than ever, its imperative that cities and states prioritize emergency rent assistance programs.
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Cons Of Government Food Programs
- Social stigma for recipients
- Consistency and quality of state-run programs vary
- Limitations on what products can be purchased
- Mandated work requirements difficult for adults with children
The table below lists eligibility requirements for federal food programs.
|60 or older and must meet state guidelines|
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
SNAP helps needy families supplement their food budget in order to move toward self-sufficiency. Eligibility is determined by individual states that administer the program. You apply in the state where you live by contacting your state agency.
Some states allow online applications, while others require your physical presence. See further information in the special COVID-19 Food Program Waivers section below.
In 2021, the USDA increased the average SNAP benefit nationwide by an average of $28 per person per month.
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Millions Of California Renters At Risk Of Eviction As State Moratorium Expires
After the Supreme Court killed the federal eviction moratorium in August, the level of protection for renters who cannot pay rent has varied state by state. There is scant data about the scope of evictions, but in six states and 31 cities tracked by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, landlords have filed for over 561,000 evictions since mid-March 2020.
The most recent federal Census Pulse Survey data also suggest that about 3 million households have expressed concern about imminent eviction, with low-income households most at risk.
“There has been no major national spike in evictions after the federal moratorium came down, with evictions filings remaining below historical averages,” the Treasury Department, which oversees the rental assistance program, said in a statement Monday, citing Eviction Lab data. “That said, every unnecessary eviction is one too many, which is why Treasury continues to do everything it can to make sure assistance is reaching people who need it most.”
The Treasury Department has tried to speed payments by warning local officials that it would begin to take back excess funds from states that lag in distributing the payments and give them to “high performing” states. While the agency has given unsuccessful programs some leeway allowing them to submit plans to reform and save their funds tenants are running into roadblocks, even in places that are considered to be doing well.
Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program
Real help for West Virginia renters is here! The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program is now open and accepting applications. If you are a renter who is struggling to pay rent or utilities because of financial hardship during or due to the Coronavirus, you may be eligible for assistance.
Real help for West Virginia Landlords is here! The Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program is now open and accepting applications. If your tenants are struggling with rent or utility payments during or due to Coronavirus, they may be eligible for rental assistance with rental payments sent directly to you.
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Cons Of Student Financial Aid
- Loan repayment required
- Lifetime limits on Pell Grants
- Private loans are more expensive and restrictive
- Defaulting on loans hurts credit
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student loan payments, including principal and interest, on federally held student loans were suspended through Sept. 30, 2021, and extended again through Jan. 31, 2022. On Dec. 22, 2021, the pause on federal student loan repayments was extended for an additional 90 daysthrough May 1, 2022. However, the suspension only applies to federal student loans held by the Department of Education.
The Department of Education also stopped the collection of defaulted federal student loans. This applies to loans in nonpayment. As a result, garnishment of wages and any offset of tax refunds and Social Security benefits have also been stopped through May 1, 2022.
The American Rescue Plan passed by Congress and signed by President Biden in March 2021 includes a provision that makes all student loan forgiveness from Jan. 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2025, tax-free.
Need Additional Rent Help Or Assistance
Please send us an email @ Please be sure to include your email address and state. The information is needed to send a reply. There are other options out there, and find a list of resources. Or visit or register in the community forum and we will reply to your message there about resources that may offer help with rent payments.
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Who Is Eligible To Receive Funds
For ERA1, those eligible must meet some requirements.
Households where at least one member “qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak” are eligible.
The second requirement covers those who who live in a a household where “one or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.” Lastly, a household may qualify if the total income is “at or below 80 percent of area median income.”
The requirements are similar for ERA2, the only difference is that rather than having income based on the median in the area, a household must fall under the category of “a low-income family” as defined by section 3 of the United States Housing Act of 1937.
To find funding in your area, you can visit this portal hosted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that has the list of all state, territorial, and tribal entities tasked with distributing funds. The information is broken down by counties to help those access the relevant agency in their locality more quickly. It is important to check with what documents and information will need to be provided to verify the claim. Some states like Georgia, require a copy of the lease by shown by a tenant when making a claim, whereas Colorado allows for any document that shows you live at that residence to be provided.
What Does Emergency Rental Assistance Cover
The federal ERA Program allows local programs to cover rent, utilities, and home energy costs. This includes electricity, gas, fuel oil, water and sewer, and trash removal. If your landlord normally pays for utilities or home energy costs, these are counted as part of your rent.
Rental assistance may also cover:
- Reasonable late fees
- Internet service to your home
- Moving expenses and other rental-related fees for families who have to move
Some programs may also provide housing counseling, case management, legal representation, and other housing stability services.
The federal ERA Program allows local programs to help with moving expenses, security deposits, rental applications or screening fees. Check with your local program to find out if theyre using this flexibility.
The federal ERA Program allows local programs to receive up to 18 months of help with rent, including overdue rent, back to March 13, 2020, if the money is available.
If you have overdue rent, the money must go toward rent that you owe, first. Local programs may be able to help with future rent. In addition, you may get help with your future rent payments, up to 3 months at a time. But this depends on your local program.
Ask your local program about the total amount of help available to you.
Yes, your local program may offer help with utility or energy costs alone. This includes help paying for future utility or energy bills, even if you owe money for existing or overdue bills.
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Covid Emergency Rental Assistance
Having trouble paying or receiving rent? MSHDA has federal funds available to help tenants facing pandemic-related hardships avoid eviction while also ensuring landlords can recoup owed rent through the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance program. MSHDA administers CERA through its statewide network of local nonprofit agencies. We encourage everyone who is eligible to apply today and take advantage of a program that can help restore housing stability.
CERA online application now available!!
The tenant or landlord can initiate the online application process. The tenant or landlord will need to enter the tenant’s name, address and email address, and the landlord’s email address. This will initiate emails to both the tenant and landlord for them to complete their portion of the application. Service agencies will communicate via email with the tenant and landlord if additional information is needed. The tenant and landlord will receive notice via email when the case is processed and how much funding has been approved.
View our dashboard to see CERA application and approval information statewide and by county. We also have demographic and household income information on our approved applications. Check it out to see how CERA is serving renters and landlords in your area.
Vita And Tce Tax Filing Assistance Programs
The IRS has two in-person tax assistance programs: the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and Tax Counseling for the Elderly . Both offer free tax-preparation assistance to qualified individuals. VITA generally applies to you if your income is $57,000 or less, you are disabled, or you have limited English-speaking skills. TCE is for citizens aged 60 or older.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all TCE sites and many VITA sites are closed until further notice. Use the VITA locator tool to find out if a site near you is open.
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Fannie Mae Disaster Response Network
Fannie Mae‘s Disaster Response Network has published a guide for renters affected by the coronavirus. Through the network, HUD-approved housing advisors provide:
- A personalized recovery assessment and action plan
- Help with your housing situation
- Financial coaching and budgeting
- Access to Clearpoints Project Porchlight online tools and resources
- Ongoing check-ins to help ensure a successful recovery
New Resources Available For Renters And Landlords
Renters and landlords who dont know where to turn can use a new website from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This website makes it easy to find rental assistance provider in your area.
Spread the word that people can go to find help paying rent.
If youre a renter having trouble paying your rent, utilities, or other housing costs or if youre a landlord trying to stay afloat with tenants in this situation help may be available. State and local programs are distributing billions of dollars in rental assistance to help renters stay housed during the pandemic.
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Unemployment Insurance And Covid
Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that pays part of your wages when you lose your job through no fault of your own. Individual states run the program, each with its own eligibility and filing requirements. Many allow you to file online, by phone, orin person, though the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily halted in-person applications in many places. Some states provide extended benefits when unemployment is high. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you qualify for extended help.
The federal government provided relief for unemployed individuals during the pandemic through three special programs:
All three of these programs officially expired on Sept. 5, 2021. Eligible individuals may still qualify for unemployment claims as long as they are still unemployed and are within the first 26 weeks of their UI benefits.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
The EBB opened for enrollment on May 12, 2021, and provides a monthly discount of $50 to $75 for households that qualify. The program also grants a one-time discount of up to $100 toward a new laptop, desktop, or tablet purchased from participating providers.
Your household is eligible if at least one member meets one of the following criteria:
- Has income at or below 135% of the current Federal Poverty Level or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline.
- Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2020 to 2021 school year.
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
To apply, do one of the following:
- Contact a participating broadband provider directly to learn about its application process.
- Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
The EBB program is scheduled to end six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, or if the program runs out of funds.
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