What to Know About Rental Assistance
New National Eviction Moratorium Issued
On August 3rd, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new moratorium on residential evictions in areas experiencing “substantial” or “high” levels of Covid-19 infections. It came on the heels of the expiration of the nationwide eviction moratorium that ended on July 31. Whether the new moratorium can withstand legal challenge, it will hopefully allow for additional time for the distribution of federal rental assistance funds.
Congress has set aside over $45 billion in rental assistance and only a small fraction of that money has been spent so far.
For those who need help covering rent, it’s a good idea to apply for relief as soon as possible. Renters who are approved for assistance can receive up to 18 months of rent help. Additionally, states including New York, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon have put a moratorium on evictions for people with pending rental assistance applications.
Who Is Eligible for Rental Assistance?
For a household to be eligible for rent assistance, at least one member must qualify for unemployment benefits, or must prove that they have lost income as a result of the pandemic. Applicants must also demonstrate that they are at risk of experiencing homelessness. To do this, people can provide a past-due rent notice or an unpaid utility bill.
Additionally, an applicant’s income must be below 80% of an area’s median income. Some states are giving assistance first to those whose income is below 50% of the medium.
Other Assistance Programs
In addition to national assistance, there are also programs from state and local governments to help people cover their rent. For example, a fund in Oklahoma is providing special assistance for renters over the age of 62. Another in California is providing help for Native American renters.
The pandemic has caused financial difficulties for households across the country. Though the national eviction moratorium has been lifted, there are still ways for people to find help with paying rent during a difficult time.
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