The states will quickly be spending $ 25 billion in rental help

Renters and housing activists in Brooklyn, New York, protested in a Bushwick park on July 5.

Erik McGregor | Getty Images

A US $ 25 billion federal rental support fund will soon be disbursed to states so those suffering from the Covid pandemic can apply for the money.

It is estimated that 14 million Americans are behind on their rent during the crisis. Proponents say more rental support will be needed to fend off an unprecedented wave of evictions. After 10 months of record loss of jobs and downtime, rent arrears in the US could be closer to $ 70 billion.

President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to provide an additional $ 30 billion in housing subsidies and, on his first day in office, announced an executive order extending the national eviction ban until March.

Right now, here’s what you need to know about accessing funds approved by the $ 25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Am i eligible?

Are the funds available now?

States will have the funds by January 26th.

How do I apply?

“Where or how to apply varies from city to city,” said Emily Benfer, visiting law professor at Wake Forest University.

Rent Assistance Funds are already in place in many areas, and one of these funds is where you apply for the new assistance. In other cases, programs are put in place to withdraw the money, Benfer said.

“Renters should contact local housing associations, their agents or the local 211/311 lines to identify programs and how to apply,” she added.

Your landlord can apply for you as well, but must receive your signature and provide you with a copy of the application.

How much could i get

Renters can get help with up to 12 months of rent back and utility bills, and possibly an additional three months of support if money is available. In some cases, you may be able to get funding to cover future rent payments, but only if you plan to pay off the debt first.

The money is paid directly to your landlord or utility company.

Do I have to be behind schedule on my rent to qualify?

No. However, you cannot receive money for future rental payments until the arrears have been paid.

Can I apply for money only for utility or energy costs?

I am a homeowner. Can I apply for this support?

No, you have to be a renter.

I’m about to be evicted. What should I do?

Apply for the money ASAP.

Also understand your rights. Most tenants should be allowed to stay in their homes at least until March due to a national ban prohibiting eviction for non-payment of rent.

In order to guarantee this protection, you must confirm on a declaration form that you meet certain requirements, e.g. B. Expecting to earn less than $ 99,000 in the 2020-2021 calendar year.

“If a tenant cannot pay the rent, he should show the statement to his owner as soon as possible,” said Benfer.

In addition to the national eviction ban, some states have passed their own moratoriums, some of which are more extensive than federal law. Find out about all the guidelines that apply to you.

If your landlord ignores any of these rules, as some do, get an attorney. At, you can find inexpensive or free legal assistance with an eviction in your state.

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

Have you recently applied for rental assistance? When you’re ready to discuss your experience for a story, please email me at

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