Rental assistance program is primarily aimed at helping eligible families pay their monthly rental fees. Various rental assistance programs are available depending on the state or county you reside in. You must meet the program’s eligibility requirements and submit the necessary documents to receive benefits.
Though eligibility requirements may differ based on your area, these programs usually qualify applicants who are struggling with rental fees and other home expenses. Read on to know more about rental assistance programs, their eligibility requirements, the application process, and other useful information.
What is Rental Assistance Program?
A rental assistance program refers to a program established to help families pay for their rental fees. To be qualified for the program, applicants must meet income requirements, complete necessary documents, and provide an attestation or proof of financial crises.
Almost all states in the United States offer rental assistance to their constituents, however, eligibility requirements and application process may differ from state to state. If you need financial help in paying your rental fees, you may be qualified for a rental assistance program.
Don’t know where to start? You can begin by knowing more about the benefits you’ll get and the qualifications you must meet.
Just like other types of financial assistance, rental assistance programs have eligibility requirements. Rental assistance programs like the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program qualify applicants who meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Must have an agreement with a landlord to pay rent for your home or mobile home lot.
- Income must be below your state’s Area Median Income. (AMI).
- Can provide proof that at least one member of the family is experiencing hardship in maintaining housing stability.
- Can provide proof that at least one member of the family is experiencing the following:
- Income loss;
- Financial debt;
- Unemployment; or
- Other financial debt
Note: For landlords, your eligibility for the said program will depend on your tenants’ needs and the area you live. Ask the program's local office in your area to find out if you are eligible for rental assistance.
Benefits You Will Receive
Rental assistance programs usually cover rental costs including electricity and utility expenses. In other cases, the program may also cover the following:
- Due payments other than rental and utility expenses
- Moving expenses (for households who are moving into a new home)
- Internet service for your home.
How to Apply
Are you renting a home or land and have trouble meeting ends meet? Follow the tips and steps listed below to find out if you are eligible for a rental assistance program.
Download then fill out the application form
Most rental assistance programs have their online portal where you can download the application form. Start by visiting the program’s official website and searching for its downloadable files. Once downloaded, you can print the document and fill out the form.
After filling out the form, it’s time to collect all the necessary documents as per the program’s requisites. The documentary requirements may differ in every program and location, but generally, the needed documents are as follows:
- Document showing your income tax
- Proof showing that you are in financial need
- Proof showing your rental details
- Bank information (for direct deposit)
Note: Visit the program’s official website to get the complete list of the documents needed for your application.
Submit the application form together with the supporting documents
Once you completed the documentary requirements, you may now submit your application. You can submit your application in three ways:
- Online - You can do this by scanning the filled-out application form and documents and then submitting them through the program’s online portal.
- Walk-in - Visit the program’s office in your area and submit them to their staff.
- Email - You need to scan and save your application form and documents
Frequently Asked Questions
How much financial assistance can I get?
The assistance you will get will depend on how much aid you will be needing. Federal programs usually cover as much as 18 months of overdue rent. Also money-wise, to ensure that the money is appropriately used, the assistance you will receive will go straight to the overdue rent first then the rest will be directly deposited to your bank account.
Do I have to be behind in rental payments to get assistance?
No, you don’t have to be behind in rental payments to get assistance. Most federal programs offer assistance even for future rental payments. However, if you have overdue fees, the assistance you will receive will go directly to paying those.
What can I use to show housing instability?
When applying for rental assistance, you need to submit proof that you are going through housing instability. To do that, you need to write an attestation or submit any of the following:
• Eviction notice
• Past due utility bills
• Other documents that show you are struggling to pay rental and utility fees.
Can it cover hotel expenses?
Yes, some rental assistance programs usually cover the cost of a hotel or motel room especially if:
• You got evicted from your home and have nowhere else to stay.
• You’ve been able to save motel and hotel bills or receipts.
Note: The availability of this service depends on your location because rental assistance programs in some states may or may not follow this rule.
Emergency rental assistance helps struggling families pay for their overdue rental fees. To be eligible, applicants must meet the qualifications and submit the necessary documents. Eligibility requirements may vary depending on the location, so it’s wise to inquire with the program’s local office for specific requirements.