A rental assistance program is a type of grant. Grants are free funds, and grant programs can help pay rent, utilities, and other living costs. 

The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program is a federal grant that gives funds to states to distribute to residents who need assistance. Renters may qualify if they meet all of the following:

Pandemic Rental Assistance and More
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  • Their income is no more than 80 percent of the area’s median income.
  • At least one household member:
    • Experienced an income reduction.
    • Acquired a significant expense, such as medical bills.
    • Experienced a financial hardship. 
  • At least one household member:
    • Are at risk of homelessness.
    • Received an eviction, rent, or past due utility notification.
    • Live in an unhealthy or unsafe dwelling.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government created the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Under this act, residents impacted by COVID-19 may qualify for rental, mortgage, or utility assistance. 

Income and other requirements will vary by state and county. Applicants may need to demonstrate financial need, such as evidence of hardship through job loss or medical bills. They may also need to submit rental agreements, mortgage terms, and other financial documents. 

Charities and non-profit organizations raise money for those in need. Many help locals in the community or part of the group. A church, for instance, may fundraise for a member who is in need. 

Nationwide charities, such as the Salvation Army, offer help to anyone in financial need. The organization provides food vouchers, rental support, and utility assistance.

Many states have utility assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Qualified residents may get financial help paying for heating and cooling costs, weatherization, and energy-related repairs depending on the area. 

A state may offer heating, cooling, or heating and cooling assistance. Certain areas only provide one type, such as Alaska, Colorado, and Connecticut not having cooling assistance. Likewise, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands do not have heating assistance.

The minimum and maximum amount of financial assistance vary by state. Texas has the highest maximum aid at $12,300 annually. Kentucky has one of the lowest maximums at $200 for heating and $400 for cooling. 

Low-income families can also reduce expenses through different programs that provide other benefits. Some social service programs include the following:

  • Food
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
    • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • Cash
    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Health insurance
    • Medicaid and Medicare  
    • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

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By Admin