It is not easy to apply for rental support. Here’s what you need to know

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Who Qualifies?

To be eligible for the money, at least one member of your household must be eligible for unemployment benefit or have written confirmation that they have lost income or incurred significant costs due to the pandemic. You’ll also need to show evidence of homelessness risk, including rent overdue or a notice to utilities.

Additionally, your 2020 income level cannot exceed 80% of the median income in your area, even though states have been instructed to prioritize applicants with a decline of 50% or less, and those who have been unemployed for 90 days or longer.

Some state and local programs have additional priorities that you may want to look for.

For example, a fund in California aims to provide relief to Native American households. Another in Oklahoma first sends the money to people over the age of 62.

“There’s a lot of flexibility in the way states can run these programs,” said Aurand.

How do I apply?

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a state list of 364 programs that spend money on ailing tenants.

How much could i get

You can get up to 18 months of assistance, including a mix of repayment and future rent payments.

If you have already received rental money but are still in arrears, you can usually reapply as long as you ask for relief for a different period of time.

The money usually goes to your landlord.

I am having trouble getting help. Why?

At the beginning you are not alone.

Proponents of housing construction point to a number of problems with the introduction of the assistance, particularly with regard to the difficulty of some applications.

Applying for a local program was 45 pages, Aurand said. Another required tenants to document their income for the past six months.

Meanwhile, the demand in Alaska was so high that the SWF was already putting people on waiting lists. Almost 20 local programs across the country ran out of money and had to close.

If you’re unable to meet a documentation requirement for applying for a program or are being rejected by a particular fund, find other rental assistance resources in your area, experts say.

It may also be worth reaching out to the organization and explaining why you can’t find a specific shape. The latest Treasury guidelines encourage programs to take people at their word.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a case worker could work with the tenant,” said Aurand.

Another problem is that some landlords refuse to take the money from the programs because they do not want to agree to their terms, which may include a ban on evicting that tenant or increasing their rent for a window of time.

Do you run into this problem?

Experts recommend that you ask the program if you can get the funds directly. Some programs must offer that option now if they can’t get your landlord’s collaboration, Aurand said.

I’m worried about the eviction. What should I do?

In addition to getting rental assistance as soon as possible, get acquainted with your rights. These vary depending on the state.

Despite recent legal challenges to the national eviction ban, the law will remain in effect for the time being and possibly until the end of June, as long as it has not been put down. In order to receive this protection, you have to confirm on a declaration form that you meet some requirements, e.g. E.g. that you made less than $ 99,000 in 2020 or 2021.

Most states have since lifted their evictions, but some are still in place. (This policy has nothing to do with the federal moratorium.)

Emily Benfer, a visiting law professor at Wake Forest University, has compiled a table of these local guidelines. New York, for example, has extended its eviction moratorium until September.

If your landlord moved to evict you, try to find a lawyer.

At, you can find inexpensive or free legal assistance with an eviction in your state. is a great place to find other community resources for people at risk of eviction.

A study in New Orleans found that more than 65% of tenants were evicted without legal representation, compared with just 15% of those who had a lawyer present at their hearing.

Last month, Washington became the first state to grant legal advice to tenants facing eviction.

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