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What You Need to Know

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The CDC’s eviction moratorium ends on June 30, 2021. Are you ready to pay all that back rent?

If not, don’t panic just yet. Most states are currently running rental assistance programs to help renters catch up. If you apply now, you might still have time to get assistance before the moratorium ends.

Though it may also be good to seek some legal counsel at this point. Just in case the state funding doesn’t come through in time.

These 48 States Offer Rental Assistance Programs

After the initial round of CARES Act money expired last year, the federal government gave additional money to each state to run a more robust rental assistance program through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). States have to run their programs within a certain set of rules, but were given space to add nuance.

These programs are by and large more generous than they were last year. They’ve also been consistently available in a much larger number of states. At the time of writing, 48 states are actively accepting applications.

Find your state here: Alabama | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Dakota | South Carolina | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

Alabama

To qualify for the Emergency Rental Assistance program, you must be unemployed or otherwise be able to prove you’ve endured financial hardship thanks to the pandemic. You must also show you’re having trouble making rent payments.

If you live in any of the following counties, you won’t qualify for the state program, but can apply for rental assistance through at the county level: Baldwin, Jefferson, Mobile, or Montgomery. The same rule applies to the Cities of Birmingham and Huntsville.

Arizona

If you can prove housing instability and that you’ve experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic, you might qualify for Arizona’s Emergency Rental Assistance program.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: $3,500.
  • Max benefit per household: 12 months back rent. 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

If you live in one of the following cities or counties, you cannot apply for the state program in Arizona. Instead, you’ll have to apply to the emergency rental assistance program run by your county:

  • Pima County
  • Tucson
  • Yuma County
  • Phoenix
  • Glendale
  • Chandler
  • Mesa
  • Gilbert
  • Maricopa County

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Alabama

You can qualify for Arkansas’s Rental Relief program if you are receiving unemployment benefits or have experienced a decrease in income during the pandemic. You will also need to show you’re at risk for housing instability

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income. You can view AMI information for your county on page 7 of this guide.
  • Max benefit per month: None. Will cover all of your rent plus up to 5% of your late fees.
  • Max benefit per household: You can apply for up to 15 months of rental assistance — 12 months of back rent and money to cover rent for up to three months into the future.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

There are separate programs running for residents of Benton, Pulaski and Washington counties. If any of these programs run out of money, residents of these counties will then qualify for Arkansas’ state emergency rental assistance program.
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California

To qualify for California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief program, your landlord must agree to forgive 20% of the back rent. Then, the state will pay the remaining 80% of your balance. If the landlord does not agree, the state will only give renters 25% of their back rent due.

These rules are restrictive, but if 25% of your back rent is paid, it should prevent your landlord from being legally allowed to evict you when the state eviction moratorium ends on June 30, 2021 thanks to state legislation.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: 80% of your back rent if your landlord agrees to forgive the remaining 20% of your debt. 25% of your back rent if your landlord does not agree.
  • Max benefit per household: All back rent from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. 25% of future rent payments.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

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Colorado

Tenants in Colorado can apply for rental assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). You qualify by being able to prove a significant loss of income or a significant increase in costs during the pandemic.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: Up to 150% of fair market rent for your county.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months back rent. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.To apply for assistance through Colorado’s ERAP, get in touch with the community partner administering the ERAP in your county.

To apply for assistance through Colorado’s ERAP, get in touch with the community partner administering the ERAP in your county.

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Connecticut

UniteCT is a prorated rental assistance program. If you are currently making between 0%-30% of your area median income (AMI), the program will cover 100% of your rent every month. If you make 31%-40% of your AMI, UniteCT will cover 90% of your rent, but you’ll be required to pay the other 10%.

Those who make 41%-50% of their AMI will be required to pay 20% of rent, and those who make 51%-80% will be required to pay 30% of their rent, with UniteCT picking up the rest of the tab.

You can apply to UnitedCT here.

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Delaware

To qualify for this iteration of Delaware’s Rental Assistance program, you must have experienced a loss in income or increased costs due to the pandemic. You must also be at risk of homelessness, having either received a past due rent or eviction notice, or pay more than 30% of your income in rent.

Renters and landlords can initiate the application process here.

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Stephanie Ferguson sits in her vehicle at a drive-up site as she fills out an application for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, a one-time benefit to help with one month’s rent offered by Miami-Dade County, during the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, July 16, 2020, in Miami. Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

Florida

OUR Florida is the state’s rental assistance program. You must be at risk of losing your housing due to a loss in income or increase in costs during the pandemic. A loss in income must be $60-$100 per month or more in order to be counted.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: $2,000
  • Max benefit per household: $15,000
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

You can apply for assistance from OUR Florida here.

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Georgia

To qualify for Georgia’s Rental Assistance program, you must have an eviction or past due rent notice. You must also be receiving unemployment, or be able to prove you lost income or experienced increased expenses during the pandemic.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per household: 12-15 months depending on household circumstances. Assistance capped at $15,000 max.
  • Who applies? Tenant or Landlord

The following cities have received their own rental assistance funding. If you live in one of these locales, you cannot apply for the state rental assistance program unless your locality has not yet set up its program or it has already run out of its own funding:

  • Atlanta City
  • Augusta-Richmond County Consolidated Government
  • Chatham County
  • Cherokee County
  • Clayton County
  • Cobb County
  • DeKalb County
  • Forsyth County
  • Fulton County
  • Gwinnett County
  • Hall County
  • Henry County

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Hawaii

Hawaii has two rental assistance programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

State of Hawaii Rental Assistance Program

The state of Hawaii runs its state rental assistance program by county. All state residents are eligible for this program, though finer points of the program vary slightly from county to county.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: The max monthly rent covered is $2,500 in Maui County the City and County of Honolulu,  $4,500 in Kauai County. No max reported in Hawaii County.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

You can apply here:

The program in Honolulu is temporarily not accepting applications, but reopens on June 7, 2021.

Department of Hawaiian Homelands COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

The Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) received Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grants to fund its rental assistance program, along with CARES and ARP funding.

To qualify for this program, you must be native Hawaiian as defined by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. You must have been on DHHL’s Waiting List as of Dec. 31, 2018. You must also be able to prove that your income has gone down or your expenses have gone up as a result of the pandemic.

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Idaho

If your income has been affected by circumstances surrounding COVID-19, you may qualify for Idaho’s Housing Preservation Program.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max household benefit: Up to 15 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

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Illinois

The Illinois Rental Payment Program is open to landlords who have tenants that have encountered economic struggle due to the pandemic.

Most programs allow you to claim back rent to the beginning of the pandemic, but Illinois’ program only allows you to claim months going back to June 2020. Landlords initiate the application process here. This program is only open for applications through June 7, 2021.

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Indiana

The Indiana Emergency Rental Assistance program operates a bit differently in that the max amount you can qualify for depends on the size of the unit you’re renting. If you rent an efficiency, you can qualify for a max assistance package of $678/month. One-bedrooms can receive up to $781/month, two-bedrooms can receive up to $946/month, three-bedrooms can receive up to $1,248/month and four-bedrooms can receive up to $1,445/month.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: Based on size of unit.
  • Max household benefit: Up to 12 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

If you live in one of the following counties or municipalities, you must apply for assistance at the local level rather than through the state’s program:

  • Elkhart County
  • Hamilton County
  • Lake County
  • Marion County
  • The City of Fort Wayne
  • St. Joseph County

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Iowa

The Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program  is open to Iowans who are at risk of eviction due to pandemic-related loss of income.

  • Income limits: 80% the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max household benefit: Up to 12 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

You do not qualify for the state program if you live in the city of Des Moines or Polk County in general. Instead, you’ll need to apply for assistance at the county level.

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Kansas

Kansas, like Iowa, is one of the states with no cap on the amount of rental assistance you can receive per month. You must be able to prove that the pandemic impacted you economically, and provide a past due rent notice or eviction notice.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max household benefit: Up to 12 months back rent. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

If you live in the city of Wichita, you will have to apply through your local rental assistance program. If Wichita’s program runs out of funding, then you can seek funding through the larger Kansas program.

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houses are lined up on a street in a downtown area in Kentucky.
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Kentucky

Kentucky’s Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund is available in all of the state’s counties except for Fayette County and Jefferson County. Each of these counties has their own rental assistance program where residents can seek assistance.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income. Kentucky also breaks this number down in an optional monthly measurement.
  • Max benefit per month: 100% of your rent.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months back rent. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

To qualify, you must prove economic hardship due to the pandemic. You must also prove that you’re at risk of becoming unhoused through an eviction notice or past due rent notice.

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Louisiana

You may qualify for Louisiana’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program if you can prove economic hardship due to the pandemic, and can prove you’re at risk of housing instability.

The state program is not available to residents of the following seven parishes. Instead, you’ll have to apply for the rental assistance program run by your parish:

  • Caddo Parish
  • Calcasieu Parish
  • East Baton Rouge Parish
  • Jefferson Parish
  • Lafayette Parish
  • Orleans Parish
  • St. Tammany Parish

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Maine

Maine is explicitly generous in which documentation it will accept as proof of housing instability, including documentation of debt you may have taken on to cover housing costs. While you can’t get reimbursed for these costs, they will be sufficient proof that you are eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance program, and may help you qualify for future months of rental assistance.

  • Income eligibility: 80% of local median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 15 months.
  • Who applies? Tenants or landlords.

Maine anticipates the program being open until September 2021 unless more federal funds are issued. It does not currently expect to run out of funding before that time.

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Massachusetts

Massachusetts is still running its rental assistance programs from last year: Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA). However, the new Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is easier to qualify and — in most cases — more generous.

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Michigan

Michigan’s COVID Emergency Rental Assistance program (CERA) is open to those who have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic. You will need to prove risk of housing instability through a past-due rent notice or other documentation.

  • Income eligibility: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: 150% of fair market rent in your area.
  • Max benefit per household: If your income is 50% of the area median income or less, you can get up to 12 months assistance. If it is 50%-80%, you can get up to 10 months of assistance.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

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Minnesota

To qualify for Rent Help MN, you must be able to demonstrate that you have either directly or indirectly experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic. You must also be behind on rent.

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Mississippi

The Rental Assistance for Mississippians Program (RAMP) has two separate tracks. Today we will look at the ERA, or Emergency Rental Assistance, pathway.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 15 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

If you live in Harrison County, you cannot apply for ERA until your county’s program runs out of funding. Harrison County’s rental assistance program is currently being run through Open Doors Homeless Coalition. You can apply by calling them at (228) 604-8011.

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Missouri

Missouri’s rental assistance program goes by the name of the State Assistance for Housing Relief (SAFHR). You can qualify for this program by proving you have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic and that you are at risk of housing instability.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months back rent. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

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Montana

Montana’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program is open to Montana renters who have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and are having trouble paying their rent.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: $2,200 for rent.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months back rent. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

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Nebraska

Nebraska’s Emergency Rental Assistance program is a little different in that if your landlord does not wish to participate, the state will issue a check directly to you so you can pay the landlord, assuming you can prove economic hardship due to the pandemic and that you have had trouble paying rent.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months back rent. Up to 3 months future rent. $20,000 total in assistance max.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

If you live in Douglas or Lancaster Counties, you are not currently eligible for the state rental assistance program. Instead, you’ll have to apply through your respective county’s rental assistance program. Even more specifically, if you live in the city of Lincoln or the city of Omaha, you will need to apply through the city’s rental assistance program.

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Nevada

In addition to proving financial hardship linked to the pandemic, you will need to prove housing instability to qualify for Nevada’s rent assistance program.

This program is administered by county:

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s housing assistance program offers aid to both those who have experienced a loss of income during the pandemic and those who have seen increased expenses thanks to the pandemic. You don’t necessarily need to be behind on rent to qualify.

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New Jersey

New Jersey is releasing rental assistance in rounds, going through a lottery process. If you receive less than 12 months’ funding in one round, you are eligible to apply for more the next round.

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New Mexico

To qualify for New Mexico’s rental assistance program, you must be able to prove financial impact due to the pandemic, and show that you are experiencing housing instability.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 15 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

This program is available to most residents of the state, including those who live in the City of Albuquerque. If you live in Dona Ana County, or in Bernalillo County but outside of the City of Albuquerque’s limits, you should apply through the program offered by your respective county.

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New York

New York’s program just opened up to applications on June 1, 2021. To qualify for New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, you must prove financial hardship caused by the pandemic and that you are experiencing housing instability. New York explicitly says renters are eligible regardless of immigration status.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months of back rent. Up to 3 months of future rent if you pay more than 30% of your income toward rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

If you live in any of the following localities or counties, you will not qualify for the New York state Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Instead, you will need to apply through your local rental assistance program:

  • Monroe County and City of Rochester
  • Town of Hempstead
  • Town of Oyster Bay
  • Town of Islip
  • Onondaga County
  • City of Yonkers

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North Carolina

North Carolina’s rental assistance program is called HOPE. HOPE is far more of a restrictive program than those provided by most other states. Max benefits are lower, as are income eligibility caps.

  • Income limits: 50% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: Up to the fair market rent for a 2-bedroom unit in your county.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 9 months of back rent. Up to 3 months future rent. 12 months total.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

If you live in any of the following counties, you do not qualify for HOPE. Instead, you will have to apply through your county’s rental assistance program. This could work to your benefit if your county’s program is more generous than HOPE.

  • Buncombe
  • Cabarrus
  • Cumberland
  • Durham
  • Forsyth
  • Gaston
  • Guilford
  • Johnston
  • Mecklenburg
  • New Hanover
  • Union
  • Wake

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North Dakota

If you have lost income thanks to the pandemic, you may qualify for the Emergency Rent Bridge program as a North Dakota resident.

  • Income limits: 60% of your area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: You must pay 30% of your monthly income towards rent. The state will pay the remainder up to a set amount determined by your county and the size of the rental unit.
  • Max benefit per household: If your financial situation doesn’t improve, you should receive an email on the 23rd of every month with action steps to apply for further assistance.
  • Who applies? The tenant applies using the Emergency Rent Bridge application portal.

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Ohio

To qualify for emergency rental assistance in Ohio, you will need to show that you have experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic that has made it difficult to pay rent. You may also be required to attend financial counseling sessions.

Ohio’s rental assistance program is extremely decentralized. It is being administered by local Community Action Agencies (CAAs) across the state. To locate and apply with your local CAA, use this tool.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s emergency rental assistance program is the Community Cares Partners. It can provide assistance for the rent on your current lease and for relocation costs should you move. However, it cannot pay for the costs associated with securing new housing.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per household: Back rent to March 13, 2020. Future rent available 3 months at a time.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

If you live in the City of Tulsa or Tulsa County, you will need to apply through your local program.

Oregon

You may be eligible for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) if you have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and are struggling to pay rent. Oregon does not have any immigration or citizenship status requirements for its program.

  • Income eligibility: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months back rent. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

While there are some counties that have their own emergency rental assistance program in Oregon, all state residents can apply through the state program if they want to. You just can’t apply for assistance from both your local program and the state program for the same expenses.

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Pennsylvania

To qualify for Pennsylvania’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, you will need to prove you have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic, and that you are at risk of housing instability.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months back rent. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

By default, Pennsylvanians would assume they need to apply using the state’s COMPASS website. However, if your county has a high enough population, it may have its own program. Many Pennsylvania counties have their own programs, so the best way to figure out where to apply is by using this tool.

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Rhode Island

Rent Relief RI provides emergency rental assistance to Rhode Island residents who have experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic. You must be able to show you are at risk of housing instability to qualify.

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South Carolina

South Carolina’s rent assistance program is SC Stay Plus. you must be able to prove a reduction in income or other economic hardship due to the pandemic.

If you live in one of the following counties, you cannot apply for SC Stay Plus until your local rental assistance program runs out of funding:

  • Anderson
  • Berkeley
  • Charleston
  • Greenville
  • Horry
  • Richland
  • Spartanburg

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South Dakota

South Dakota’s rental assistance program is available to state residents who have been financially impacted by the pandemic and need help paying rent because they are at risk of housing instability.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

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Tennessee

You can qualify for Tennessee’s rent relief if you have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

Residents of the following counties will need to seek rental assistance from their local program rather than the state program:

  • Davidson
  • Knox
  • Rutherford
  • Shelby

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Texas

To qualify for the Texas Rent Relief Program, you need to prove that you have lost income or incurred extra costs due to the pandemic, and that the economic hardship has put you in a position of housing instability.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: $4,600. If your rent is more than this on a monthly basis, you do not qualify for Texas Rent Relief.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 15 months.
  • Who applies: Tenant or landlord.

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Utah

Utah Rent Relief is one of the few programs that not only lets you use funding for rent, but also for security deposits.

  • Income eligibility: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: $2,000.
  • Max benefit per household: You can apply for as many months as you’re experiencing financial hardship from March 13, 2020 to current. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

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Vermont

If you have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and are at risk for housing instability, you may be able to seek help through Vermont’s Eviction Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

If your landlord refuses to participate in the application process, the state will issue the check directly to you as the tenant.

Virginia

To qualify for Virginia’s Rent Relief Program (RRP), you must have experienced an income loss or other financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Income limits: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: 150% of fair market rent for your area.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months back rent. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? Tenant.

If you live in Chesterfield County or Fairfax County, you currently do not qualify for the state’s RRP. Instead, you’ll have to apply for emergency rental assistance through your county.

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Washington

Washington state has a new rental assistance program in 2021: The Treasury Rental Assistance Program (T-RAP).

Washington’s program is administered at the local level by county housing service providers. You can apply directly with your county’s provider, which can be found here.

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West Virginia

West Virginia’s Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program is open to those who have endured financial hardship due to the pandemic and are at risk of housing instability.

You can apply using the online portal or by calling 2-1-1.

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s 2021 rental assistance program is Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA), and it replaces the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (WRAP).

  • Income eligibility: 80% of the area median income.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 12 months of back and current rent. Up to 3 months future rent.
  • Who applies? The tenant initiates the application process by contacting their local Community Action Program.

WERA is distributed through 14 different agencies across the state. To apply, look up your agency by county.

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Wyoming

Wyoming’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) administers rental assistance to those experiencing financial hardship related to the pandemic.

  • Income limits: 80% of area median income.
  • Max benefit per month: No max.
  • Max benefit per household: Up to 15 months.
  • Who applies? Tenant or landlord.

More Resources for Pandemic-Related Rental Assistance

If you don’t see your state above — or you don’t qualify for your state’s program — don’t give up hope.

Some localities are offering rental assistance independent of pandemic legislation. If you’re not finding anything at the state or local level, consider nonprofits in your region. In most regions of the country, dialing 2-1-1 will connect you with your local United Way. Even if the United Way does not have a rental assistance program of its own in your area, the representative is likely to know about other nonprofits in your area who may be able to help.

Pittsburgh-based writer Brynne Conroy is the founder of the Femme Frugality blog and the author of “The Feminist Financial Handbook.” She is a regular contributor to The WealthyUpdates.




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